In the U.S. Law Shield and Texas Law Shield Forums, a member asked the lawyers: Q: Would you carry this statement card with you and hand it to the police, or could it be interpreted as premeditation? Original card developed from a presentation given by Massad Ayoob. Statement Card to Police
- That man attacked me.
- I was afraid of great bodily harm including death.
- I am innocent.
- I will sign a complaint.
- The evidence is there.
- The witnesses (if any) are there.
- You may have my full cooperation, after I have spoken with my attorney.
- I have nothing further to say at this time.
An article in the Feb/March 2014 Concealed Carry magazine by K.L. Jamison, Esq. titled “The First Statement to Police ‘Goldilocks Dilemma,'” prompted this question.
I called my attorney here in Denver to ask him, and he said if the prosecutor ever found out I had contacted him before an incident, which I was doing at that moment, it could be interpreted as premeditation. So, I suspect me posing this question here might have the same interpretation. Seems as if having U.S. Law Shield protection could have the same consequence; yes, no? I am simply trying to proactively protect myself.
I think the reasoning behind the card idea is that in the “heat of the moment,” one is not thinking clearly and may not be able to remember all that needs to be said, and/or say too much. Is a person expected to remember all they need to at such a time? Most research suggests that is never going to be reality.
I think police involved in any shooting incident are instructed to not make any statement for three days, and of course they are interacting with folks who have their backs right from the start. We are NOT so lucky! Having the U.S. Law Shield program might be interpreted as preemptive premeditation. Seems using a weapon in self-defense is a “crap shoot” as far as what the outcome may be. — John Law Shield responds: Great question. Having pre-printed cards to that effect do seem a little premeditated, in that each factual situation is different. These are certainly good and accurate things to say, but having them pre-printed on a card seems a little over the top. Additionally, the invocation of your rights should be made verbally in the case of an incident.
A motivated DA will attempt to use anything and everything against a defendant. It is the lawyer’s job to mitigate that as irrelevant. We believe it is certainly not any form of premeditation to consult an attorney generally concerning what the legal process is or what it may entail.
While the statement card sure sounds convenient, a simple statement such as the example you provided, is not going to be appropriate for every situation.
The most important thing to remember is that you have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and to speak with counsel prior to any police interviews. If you are not in a state to recall details, we recommend that you call the TLS emergency hotline or your attorney. An attorney will be able to walk you through what to say, and more importantly, what NOT to say when the police are on the scene.