The right to retreat to one’s home for comfort and security is fundamental in our society. So is the right to self-defense.
When someone encroaches upon the sanctity of another’s home by entering or breaking in with the intent to do harm, homeowners have the right to defend themselves and their dwelling. For an assortment of reasons, however, the government sometimes chooses to prosecute homeowners who decide to defend themselves, their families, and their homes. This is the scenario A.B., Adam’s client, found himself in.
A.B. and an acquaintance had a contentious relationship due to controlled substances and a shared interest in a particular woman. They both lived in a small community about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities. Their issues boiled over when A.B.’s acquaintance showed up to A.B.’s home under the influence and looking for a fight. When A.B. answered the door, his acquaintance barged into the home and began assaulting him. A.B. subdued the man, and went to his room for a pistol. He returned and ordered the acquaintance to leave. The acquaintance lunged at A.B. and A.B. beat the acquaintance with the gun. At some point, the gun went off and the acquaintance was shot in the forearm. The man jumped out a window and called the police. A.B. did not call the police.
When the police eventually spoke with acquaintance, he predictably told officers a story that did not include any wrongdoing on his part. He told the officers that he was invited over to the home by A.B. and A.B. beat him, told him he was going to die, and then shot him. This story was provided to the prosecutor, and despite all of the inconsistencies between what was said by the acquaintance and the physical evidence, A.B. was charged with 1st Degree Attempted Murder, First Degree Assault, Second Degree Assault, and Fifth Degree Controlled Substance Crime. Prosecutors did not believe A.B.’s self-defense theory.
A.B. hired Adam to defend him against the very serious felony charges. If convicted, he faced a presumptive prison commitment of 180 months under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. That’s 15 years in prison.
Adam recognized that A.B.’s possession of a controlled substance and failure to call 911 did not bode well for his appearance or his claim of self-defense. But Adam also recognized that those two circumstances did not make A.B. guilty of attempted murder.
After meticulously documenting all of the inconsistencies between the evidence and what A.B.’s acquaintance told the police, Adam hired a private investigator to document and develop facts favorable to A.B.’s defense. Adam used those facts to explain to the prosecutor, time and time again, that A.B.’s actions were justifiable as self-defense and in defense of his dwelling. The court case was long and hard fought, and Adam took every opportunity to zealously advocate on A.B.’s behalf.
After 18 months of litigation in court, the prosecutor agreed to a resolution that involved a dismissal of the charges of First Degree Attempted Murder, First Degree Assault, and Second Degree Assault. A.B. only plead guilty to a low level felony drug offense and failure to render aid to a shooting victim. A.B. received probationary sentences for those convictions; an extremely different outcome than the 180 months of prison he originally faced. When asked if he ever became frustrated during the 100’s of hours the case required he replied, “I don’t think about the time, convenience, or ease of a case. A.B.’s life and liberty were at stake. The case was about him, not me… I put my personal interests aside and did what was necessary to get the outcome he deserved.”
Implications For Homeowners
This case is a positive sign for homeowners across the state of Minnesota. We should all be able to feel safe and secure in our homes, and exercise our rights to self-defense when warranted. We should also feel like the law will treat us fairly if we are ever put into a position where we are forced to defend ourselves within our home – even if there are unsavory facts involved like possession of a controlled substance or failing to call emergency responders. We should not have to abandon the right to protect our home and ourselves just because we do not lead a saintly life. Thanks to Adam and a prosecutor who was willing to keep an open mind, the resolution in this case is a step in the right direction and recognizes people have the right to reasonably defend themselves within their home.
A.B.’s Thoughts on Adam’s Representation
“Adam was my champion, you know what I mean? He was always there for me as fast as he could be.”
“There were a lot of issues that came up during my case. Adam was always prepared to meet the challenge.”
“I have had other lawyers in the past I wasn’t impressed with. Adam was different, he was always prepared.”
“Adam cared about me as an individual. He was a great lawyer, but I also consider him a good friend.”
“I’d never choose another law firm over Lundgren & Johnson.”
IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF LEGAL SERVICES, CALL US TODAY.
At Lundgren & Johnson, we do not shy away from a challenge, we look forward to them. When your case seems insurmountable, we will be there for you every step of the way and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Give us a call at 651-888-2937 to discuss your case.