Jury Says “NO” to Byron Smith’s Self Defense

self defenseHere in a small town in Minnesota, Byron Smith was found guilty of murder for killing two young people who broke into his home on Thanksgiving day last year.  He claimed self defense because he has a right to defend himself in his home and use deadly force—even killing someone to protect himself.  It’s sometimes called the Castle

Killing Someone in Your House—OK as Self Defense?

In Minnesota today, a man named Byron Smith is on trial for first degree murder of two young people that he shot and killed in his home.  Will he be found Not Guilty because of Self Defense?http://www.startribune.com/local/256712781.htmlIMG_1698

I don’t think so.

Here are the basic facts:  Byron Smith is an elderly man who lives alone in …

In a Room With a Serial Killer

Colin photoOkay, right from the start, I’d much rather have been in a room with Eric Clapton or Anthony Bourdain,  Kristin Scott Thomas or even Julia Child!  (Think of the great food, although maybe I should update to Rachel Ray.)  Instead, in my job as a Public Defender, I get to sit in rooms with criminals and serial killers.

Serial Arsonists on “Castle”

For those of you who have been hooked on the TV seriesCastle, you may have caught an episode this month involving a serial arsonist who becomes a murderer also.  The main character, Richard Castle, is a successful writer who probably got bored and decided to investigate real crimes.  I’m glad the writers of the show chose …

Nine Year Old Sneaks on Plane–By Himself

In Minneapolis about a week ago, a young boy without a ticket was able to board a plane to Las VegasALONE!colin.nelson.smallfile

His parents thought he’d spent the night at a friend’s house and didn’t discover he was gone until the next morning when the boy showed-up in Las Vegas.  When the father was interviewed, he put …

Incompetent to Stand Trial??

What?  Yet another way for a criminal to “get off” because of some mental problem??colin.nelson.smallfile

In past posts, I’ve written about the recent effort on the part of defense lawyers in various cases around the country to have their clients be found not guilty by reason of insanity.  I’ve discussed the standard that is used in almost all …