Senior Trial Attorney Michael J. Boyle of the Barone Defense Firm recently presented on the Michigan Self Defense Laws at the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) Fall Conference at Boyne Mountain. At the seminar Mike discussed, described, and distinguished between Michigan’s Castle Doctrine and Michigan’s Stand Your Ground Laws. The title of his presentation was: Defending Self-Defense: Understanding Stand Your Ground, the Castle Doctrine, and Defending the Victim.
This topic and presentation were unique at CDAM and covered an area of criminal defense law that has rarely been presented in any significance in any forum. In addition to the didactic portion of the lecture Boyle also offered a trial skills portion which allowed those present to take what they’d just learned, assimilate it, and practice using the information on a “real” sample case.
In preparing for his lecture, Mike utilized both the knowledge he’s gained over the years handling these kinds of cases as well as his trial skills expertise. In addition to decades of trial practice where Mike honed his own trial skills, he is also a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College.
There is much confusion relative to the difference between the Michigan Stand your Ground law and the Michigan’s Castle Doctrine, and part of this confusion relates to when one applies over the over. Boyle covered this topic to help dispel various misapprehensions among the defense bar.
The seminar was a great opportunity for Mike Boyle to showcase his expertise in this area of law, but also to help elucidate the Barone Defense Firm’s collective specialized knowledge and experience in this field. In so doing, Mike was able to help educate the defense bar in an often misconstrued and frequently inscrutable area of the law. He also talked about the concept of “reasonableness” because to successfully raise a self-defense claim under either doctrine, the actions of the accused must be “reasonable.”
Boyle also covered some recent case law in Michigan on the law of self-defense, including the well-known Wafer case where the defendant’s self defense claim was unsuccessful. That is in some ways the seminal self-defense case in Michigan, and one criminal defense and self defense attorneys must know.
Michigan’s firearms laws are exceedingly complicated and raising a successful self-defense claim requires a thorough and advanced knowledge and understanding of the law, and an execution of that knowledge in the courtroom. Any time a death or serious injury occurs, and charges are filed, it’s sure to be a tough fight because self-defense cases are often fraught with political nuance that makes handling them all more difficult. Boyle’s presentation addressed these nuances, while also focusing on the statutory language of the two self-defense laws, the exceptions and pitfalls, and the steps in handling self-defense related charges.
Readers interested in more in depth information on this topic may wish to review Michigan Gun Law: Armed and Educated.
Boyle also provided helpful techniques in representing the client, field and scene investigations, active listening, and evidence collection. Additionally, tactics used in court, in negotiations, and with clients, were also expressed. Lastly, he led an interactive exercise with the attendees including an assessment of real-world cases to allow for open dialogue on the use of the discussed topics and the difficulty that self-defense cases present.