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Old 03-23-2006, 05:37 PM   #1
drdome99
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Default It's not a crime when a person fires a gun without malice, and unintentionally kills?

Interesting story out of the always interesting state of VA

http://wusa9.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=47901

Quote:
A Fairfax County police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in January won't face criminal charges.

The Washington Post reports on its Web site that Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan has decided not to pursue charges.

Fairfax County police say the SWAT officer, whose name wasn't released, accidentally shot 37-year-old Salvatore Culosi while police were conducting a gambling investigation.

Police say the officer had his gun drawn and it accidentally went off as officers were swarming in to arrest Culosi as he stood next to another officer's car.

Horan says it's not a crime when a person fires a gun without malice, and unintentionally kills someone.

Culosi's family is planning to respond to Horan's announcement later today.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:40 PM   #2
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Awesome...legal precedent toward unintentional muder, without malice.
'Yeah I shot that mothersucka! But I did it not to be mean nor with anger or hate.'

Craziness

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Old 03-23-2006, 05:40 PM   #3
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I thought that was pretty much the definition of manslaughter.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somebody else
I thought that was pretty much the definition of manslaughter.
Me too, murder 2.
But apparently in VA it's all good.

- Janq
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:43 PM   #5
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they just had the story on the news here, apparently the guy (who was a doctor) had been involved in an undercover investigation for a few months regarding a huge gambling ring (he had like 38k in cash at his house)

So he came out of the house to meet with the undercover guy when SWAT came and approached with guns drawn. He was also unarmed
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:49 PM   #6
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Awesome! Apparently we can just use the "my bad" defense now.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somebody else
I thought that was pretty much the definition of manslaughter.
A charge of involuntary manslaughter (assuming this was not intentional) requires a showing that the defendant acted in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner.

In this case, the officer was not acting unlawfully nor recklessly. However, one could make the argument that his failure to control his weapon was grossly negligent. However, if he had no fault at all in the matter in the way he operated the gun, and if he maintained the gun properly and this was merely a freak occurence beyond his ability to control, he may not even be grossly negligent.

The exact defintion of involuntary manslaughter varies from state to state.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aprazma
A charge of involuntary manslaughter (assuming this was not intentional) requires a showing that the defendant acted in an unlawful, reckless, or grossly negligent manner.

In this case, the officer was not acting unlawfully nor recklessly. However, one could make the argument that his failure to control his weapon was grossly negligent.

The exact defintion of involuntary manslaughter varies from state to state.
By stating that the officer did not act carelessly, one is basically saying that guns do kill people.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asinine
By stating that the officer did not act carelessly, one is basically saying that guns do kill people.
No, I think it was the bullet that killed him.
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamsterstyle
No, I think it was the bullet that killed him.
Nah, it was the fall.
Damn gravity pulled him to his death.

I wonder how well this arguement might work in reverse.

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Old 03-23-2006, 05:58 PM   #11
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so who will the family sue?

Police?

Gun Maker?

Bullet Maker?

News people are still waiting for a family response..
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Old 03-23-2006, 05:58 PM   #12
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Normally pointing a gun is considered "reckless" in those cases...
Not when its a cop though...

No way he's getting in trouble...
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asinine
By stating that the officer did not act carelessly, one is basically saying that guns do kill people.
Homey, we're 100% on the same page on this one.

This cop should at the very least get manslaughter. If you search for one of the earlier threads when this happened, you'll see I replied in much the same manner.

Craziness, like Janq said.

Edit: erm, maybe not manslaughter, but some kind of negligence with death resulting. This ain't right.

Last edited by Fuzz541; 03-26-2006 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:43 PM   #14
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was he cleaning the gun at the time?



... good defense.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamsterstyle
No, I think it was the bullet that killed him.
Semantic ass-hole
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:34 PM   #16
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Good guys 1
Bad guys 0

A big scoreboard that read this would be my only defense.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdome99
so who will the family sue?

Police?

Gun Maker?

Bullet Maker?

News people are still waiting for a family response..
sue the chinese for inventing gunpowder...
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:35 PM   #18
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Civil liability will be huge though.
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:51 PM   #19
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Negligent. But not gross negligence. Civil suit, but accident is a defense to all criminal charges. Generally, only a higher level of recklessness is sufficient to provide a criminal mental state for unintentional acts.

EG, he's nervous and accidently pulls the trigger -- mere negligence.

Gun goes off while he's doing Wild Bill Hickock spins -- gross neg.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:13 PM   #20
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may I point out adult gambling is a victimless crime and should be legal? Then no one would be dead.

Carl
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgknestrick
Good guys 1
Bad guys 0

A big scoreboard that read this would be my only defense.
That would be great if, you know, the guy was actually a bad guy. Who the hell knows, though? It was a sting, and the guy was standing next to the car.

I'm not sure about the criminality (I'm guessing the prosecutors aren't so quick to charge cops in VA), but I would think that the victim's family could sue in civil court.

PS Apparently the victim was a real evil man--he was a doctor.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:25 PM   #22
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to not even charge the officer with manslaughter is weird... I mean aren't we supposed to let a court decide if he was reckless or negligent? If it was a normal civilian he would most certainly have been charged. There is something to be said about the professionalism of a police officer- they are held accountable for their actions because they are professionals. If we go on like this... why should cops train to be better- why should they work on improve their handling of weapons to a level above and beyond a normal civilian, why does it matter, if they can just say "my bad" when they screw up.

And if the cop didn't screw up, why in the world is that being decided by other cops and not by a judge/jury, when a man has been shot to death?
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:34 PM   #23
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Police and prosecutors make the initial determination of sufficiency of the evidence in their charging decisions. It is an ethical violation for a prosecutor to bring charges that he does not believe are supported by the evidence -- you cant abdicate your responsibility by throwing it out there and saying "I'll just let the jury decide". Typically these cases are reviewed by state police or an internal affairs unit, and the evidence presented to the prosecutor's office for a decision as to whether charges are warranted. There is an effort to be independent and objective, but some people will always believe the fix was in. In a corrupt department, it may have been.

The failure to charge criminally does not mean the officer may not lose his job, and the city's policy will most likely be coughing up the cash. But we don't send people to prison when they have a regular car accident either, even though someone gets killed or seriously hurt.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janq
Awesome...legal precedent toward unintentional muder, without malice.
'Yeah I shot that mothersucka! But I did it not to be mean nor with anger or hate.'

Craziness

- Janq
Not quite.

You have to be a police officer first.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC-WReX
Police and prosecutors make the initial determination of sufficiency of the evidence in their charging decisions. It is an ethical violation for a prosecutor to bring charges that he does not believe are supported by the evidence -- you cant abdicate your responsibility by throwing it out there and saying "I'll just let the jury decide". Typically these cases are reviewed by state police or an internal affairs unit, and the evidence presented to the prosecutor's office for a decision as to whether charges are warranted. There is an effort to be independent and objective, but some people will always believe the fix was in. In a corrupt department, it may have been.

The failure to charge criminally does not mean the officer may not lose his job, and the city's policy will most likely be coughing up the cash. But we don't send people to prison when they have a regular car accident either, even though someone gets killed or seriously hurt.
From the article
"Horan says it's not a crime when a person fires a gun without malice, and unintentionally kills someone."

I have a problem with that. The DA is basically saying that the cop didn't mean to do it, and so he shouldn't be charged. That's bogus IMO. I think you are looking at this too idealisticly, and that there is some bias here. Do you honestly think that if some guy walking down the street pulled a gun on someone, and shot him, that the DA would also not press charges if they interviewed the person and he merely said that he didn't mean to shoot him?

The "evidence" at hand here is completely subjective, and i think that has to be taken into consideration.
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