Ryan Frederick Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter (UPDATE and Bump)

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Ryan Frederick is the 28-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia man facing murder charges for killing a police officer during a drug raid (see this wiki for more on Frederick's case). Prior coverage of his trial here.

This afternoon, the jury convicted him of voluntary manslaughter. Interestingly, they did not convict of him of manufacturing marijuana, only of simple possession. Frederick was also facing a charged related to the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, but the Virginian-Pilot report doesn't indicate the jury's decision, there. Voluntary manslaughter is a felony, so I would guess he'll get time tacked on for the handgun.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter in Virginia is 10 years.  Maximum sentence for simple possession (a misdemeanor) is 12 months 30 days.

I had a feeling that the jury would take a "split the difference" approach once the judge agreed to allow them to consider lesser charges. Looks like that's what happened.

MORE: The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 10 years.

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189 responses to “Ryan Frederick Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter (UPDATE and Bump)

  1. Only read the headline. Feel sick already.

  2. Ditto

  3. Pretty much what I figured as well. I didn’t know the jury has the option of simple possession; I thought, unlike the murder charges, it was all on nothing with the possession not for personal use.

    I’m not sure which is in Frederick’s best interests: for the jury to decide to sentence or the judge.

  4. I had hoped for a better conclusion. It’s so terrible that this incident is the direct result of the police department’s negligence, and yet Det. Shivers and Ryan Frederick are the ones hung with the consequences.

    Here’s to hoping for a light sentence, and maybe to some more exposure of the atrocities comitted by local PDs all across the country.

  5. Sickening.

  6. That sucks. It is a tough spot as a defendent and chose lesser charges for the jury. If you don’t put them in, you risk getting the big charge. If you do, you risk not being aquited and having the jury split the baby. I can understand why his lawyer did it. This sucks but it beats a capital murder wrap.

  7. I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, at least it’s not life in prison. On the other, his life is pretty much ruined anyway.

  8. Travesty of justice.

  9. I surprised, and happy about it, that they didn’t get him on the pot charge. Usually if you admit to growing, you did yourself in.

  10. I guess it could have been worse. And I think involuntary manslaughter would have meant some kind of reckless behavior, like when you kill someone while you’re driving under the influence.

    I suppose there are plenty of grounds for an appeal.

  11. My stomach just dropped. I really thought, somewhere deep down, that the inherent justice I wanted to believe existed in the system was really there.

    I feel ill thinking that even in a case this straightforward our establishment can can’t tell right from wrong. There really is no hope is there?

    I weep for these United States.

  12. some of the comments on the va pilot article are sickening

  13. Oh and I’m happy to see the jury didn’t buy into the bullshit the prosecution was selling. Seems like they took Ryan’s version of the events.

    Regardless who’s at your door, you can’t just shoot through it.

    1. The story makes it sound as if the police had already broken the door and were physically entering the house behind the door when Frederick shot through it. Either way, a violent home invasion late at night is likely to be met with some resistance from certain people.

  14. actually, ok, most of them are OK.

  15. I expected this, but I was hoping for involuntary.

    There was total silence in the courtroom when the verdict was read and Shivers’ wife had no reaction, but officers were visibly upset.

    That’s something, at least. Fuck you, pigs.

  16. Regardless who’s at your door, you can’t just shoot through it.

    When they start breaking it down to kill you and your family I believe you can.

  17. The verdict is what i thought it would be, and in all personal reality think it is the right call. RF was not and is now aquitted of murder, that charge was unconsianable(sp) THe manslaughter charge is a good charge. RF did not idetify the target and shot through an opening, with disregard to the bullets path. I think the warrant was not valid, and i think the jury knew that, thus no conviction on the manufacture/distribution charge. but the fact remains he fired without id. if any of us would do that we would expect the same charge i would think

  18. “””I expected this, but I was hoping for involuntary.”””

    Pulling a trigger intending to hit a target, whatever that target is, is a voluntary action. When we say Ryan intended to defend his home when he fired, you admit that the firing was intentional.

    The sentencing will be intersting.

  19. What Otter said.

    I really wanted there to be one of us on that jury.

  20. I always thought it was stupid for the prosecution to try to paint him as a cop killer. If he was, why didn’t he try to shoot more than one, especially once he knew they were cops? I’m rather surprised they didn’t kill him, frankly.

  21. “””When they start breaking it down to kill you and your family I believe you can.”””

    Your wrong whether you want to admit it or not. If a cop did the samething, he would be wrong too. If there was a question about if you can fire blindly through a door in such a case for your CCW permit, and you answered yes, you would be wrong there too.

  22. Under Virginia Law to reduce a charge from murder to voluntary manslaughter the jury must find that “killing was done in heat of passion and provoked by adequate legal provocation, and both passion and adequate provocation must occur.” Martin v. Com., 1946, 37 S.E.2d 43, 184 Va. 1009.

    They jury basically found that the cops did provoke Frederick and to a large degree Frederick was justified in shooting him. The problem is that the jury couldn’t find that Frederick’s life was really in danger and give him a full legal justification for using deadly force. Basically what the jury said was that Fredick was justified in defending himself but not in using deadly force.

    What this case shows is the need for a make my day law. Had such a law existed in Virginia, Frederick would have been automatically justified in using deadly force and been aquited.

  23. This is a prime, and quite sad, example of why “leaving it to the jury” or “let the jury decide” is not a proper excuse or justification for allowing criminal charges to be brought against someone in the first place.

    Juries these days do not feel comfortable acquitting defendants – they are there, so the must be guilty of something. Presumed guilty. Meanwhile, most people think it’s better that an innocent person have a bad time in prison than a guilty person be let loose on the streets where they will hurt the precious children. Justice does not, and cannot, occur.

  24. TrickyVic — Someone has just busted a whole in the bottom panel in your door, and (according to Frederick)is reaching through the hole for the doorknob.

    You don’t think that’s an eminent enough threat to merit lethal self defense?

  25. Now had the officer had been INSIDE the house, not outside, that is a factor in most break ins, the perp must be inside the abode for life and limb to be in peril. That may have been a differnet outcome, if the officer was not clearly idetified. but he did fire willingly with intent on a perp outside his home. they always say make sure to drag them into the doorway if you shoot em outside.

  26. “TrickyVic — Someone has just busted a whole in the bottom panel in your door, and (according to Frederick)is reaching through the hole for the doorknob.

    You don’t think that’s an eminent enough threat to merit lethal self defense?”

    I do. But I think your home is your castle and you have a right to use lethal force on anyone who is unlawfully there. Most states, however, disagree with me. The mere fact that they are entering your house does not give you the right to use lethal force. You force has to be preportionate to the force brought against you. You have to have a reasonable believe that you are in danger of death or great bodily harm. That basically means to use deadly force the other person has to physically attack you or be pointing a gun at you. Reaching through the door after you kick out the panel doesn’t get you there. As I said above, this cases shows the need for make my day laws.

  27. Reinmoose, I agree. If he was a cop killer why not re-engage after he cleared the weapon jam. The prosecution overplayed big time, but the jury didn’t buy it.

    Say Ryan waited until they broke into the house. He might not have fired when he identified them, but the cops looking at Ryan aiming a gun at them, might have fired. It is possible that Ryan’s actions kept him alive, albeit incarcerated for a few years.

  28. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck.

    I kept a glimmer of hope out for an acquittal, but I really didn’t expect it.

    Here’s hoping for an appeal.

  29. Back in my youth, an officer of the law came to speak to one of my classes. Someone asked the officer if you could shoot someone climbing through your window. He replied that you needed to make sure the dead guy falls inside the house and not back out.

  30. SpongePaul-

    No, I disagree. Here is where an absolute rule is needed: a party who shoots and kills another party breaking into his home should never face prosecution. Civilization would be greatly enhanced.

    1. Real man need to accept the fact that when you break violently into someone’s house you, and you alone, bear responsibility for whatever goes wrong.
      Then again, real man do not break violently into non violent people homes.

  31. Ah, shit.

  32. Since Virginia does not have a Castle Doctrine law in place, I fear that the jury may have reached the correct verdict from a legal standpoing, echoing TrickyVic and John.

  33. So, where should we send him when he gets out of prison?

    Hawaii? Aruba? Cabo? I mean he can’t be expected to ever live in VA again, right? That is if he survives the ride to prison.

  34. yes liberty mike, i do not disagree. but the law being what it is. the perp must be inside the house. right or not, that is the law until we change it. would i fire at someone busting in my door? No, as my life is not in danger according to law. the milisecond that the perp crossed the threshold, i would fire out the clip, having already aimed it at the incoming.

  35. He replied that you needed to make sure the dead guy falls inside the house and not back out.

    This is a common refrain that I have heard from cops. I don’t know if it’s machismo or truth.

    There was total silence in the courtroom when the verdict was read and Shivers’ wife had no reaction, but officers were visibly upset.

    Such scum. Absolutely no empathy for someone not a cop.

  36. I’m shocked he didn’t get a murder conviction.

    I thought he’d get life, or death.

  37. That is if he survives the ride to prison.
    ____________________________________________
    I have a feeling he will be ok in prision, from the gen pop anyway, CO’S? the inmates will love him, he did kill a cop and get manslaughter to them, so he will be popular for all the wrong reasons. He should be out shortly though 1-10 with a year served. a ten year sentence you would be out in 3-4. 5 years 1-3 so hopefully his stay will be short

  38. “””You don’t think that’s an eminent enough threat to merit lethal self defense?”

    I do. But I think your home is your castle and you have a right to use lethal force on anyone who is unlawfully there. Most states, however, disagree with me.”””

    Under NO circumstance should anyone fire a weapon without identifying the target. This is firearms 101.

    Personally if my house is being broken into like Ryan’s, I would arm myself and wait until they break in. Then a well placed round or two would do the trick, the person would be inside, and I would avoid trial.

    Whether you like it or not, there are rules to self-defense that must be followed, that should apply to cops too. I complain equally when cops don’t follow the rules.

  39. I personally do not believe that that is eminent enough threat to warrant lethal self defense. There is simply in that situation not enough information available to decide whether or not taking a human life is justifiable. It is fairly unreasonable to assume that people are breaking into your house to kill you. Unless you’re some sort of mob-connected goon with loans to pay off, there’s no reason to automatically assume that whoever is busting through your door is going to kill you. If someone is coming to steal your stuff, as Fredericks could have reasonably believed, there’s no reason to shoot the person first and ask questions later. That’s taking the law into your own hands, which usurps the many rights even a criminal has as to a judge, jury, and executioner. While yes, a home is a sacred place and one should feel secure there, there is no reason that one should feel the need to secure it with absolute deadly force ignorant of the situation.

  40. He’s going to be put in the worst triple-max prison they can find, isn’t he? Rape being considered a natural part of a sentence and all.

  41. “””He replied that you needed to make sure the dead guy falls inside the house and not back out.”””

    I’ve heard roughly the same thing. I had a cop say that if the persons falls outside your door to drag ’em back inside. Not that I recommend that, and I doubt it would work in your favor, but that’s what the cops said.

  42. This is a common refrain that I have heard from cops. I don’t know if it’s machismo or truth.

    The difference between an imminent threat and time to call for help.

    Make sure the body falls inside the house.

  43. Undergirding the laws that require one to be in imminent fear of death or great bodily harm before one can justifiably use lethal force upon another who is forcibly breaking into one’s home is the notion that society values human life more than “mere” property. Of course, the rationale for these laws is misplaced; if society truly values human life, then the use of lethal force against intruders who forcibly enter one’s home should not only be vindicated, but encouraged.

  44. There was total silence in the courtroom when the verdict was read and Shivers’ wife had no reaction, but officers were visibly upset.

    More on this. These fucking pigs would have known within 5 minutes after the shooting that this was just a shy, harmless dude who had no intention of killing anyone, especially a cop. We saw the interview, and the cops were there.

    They would have seen him in custody over time, seen his fear, his lack of aggression. They have to know this was a tragic accident.

    But they want him to go to jail for life anyway. Because he shot a cop.

    They are utter, tribalistic scum.

  45. Ryan Frederick was wrong to fire through a door without first identifying the target.

    The prior break-in should be a mitigating factor for sentencing, but not a defense against unlawfully taking a life.

    That being said, every individual in a position of authority in the police department should be fired for just cause.

  46. Under NO circumstance should anyone fire a weapon without identifying the target.

    Well, when someone has broken in part of your door and is reaching for the doorknob, you have identified the target: it’s the guy breaking in your door and reaching for the door knob.

  47. Ditto to Episiarch’s comment.

  48. I’ve heard roughly the same thing. I had a cop say that if the persons falls outside your door to drag ’em back inside. Not that I recommend that, and I doubt it would work in your favor, but that’s what the cops said.
    _______________________________________
    It would, if the person had been a criminal and not a “crimanal”. you can bet the cops would have said justified. Its a dopuble standard, but one which does exist

  49. I’m shocked he didn’t get a murder conviction.

    I thought he’d get life, or death.

    Yeah, I would’ve bet on the worst too. …if it weren’t for the lesser charges being allowed. I think juries are like women that way–when confronted with mutually exclusive alternatives, their first choice is usually both.

    Question: If he gets another trial, for whatever reason, can they try him for murder again? …or do they have to stick with the manslaughter charge and only the manslaughter charge?

  50. As an aside. I strongly recommend NOT tampering with the location of the body of a shooting victim. It will probably be obvious that you have tampered with the shooting scene and that will arouse a great deal of suspicion.

    The importance of the body location inside or outside the house is a myth. In states that follow the Castle Doctrine, it matters where the person is when you shoot them, not where they end up afterwards. They can be shot in your living room and then run out and jump in a car and bleed to death on their way home and it is still justifiable homicide so long as they illegally entered your home and the shooting took place inside your home.

    This is the general rule, and indiv. state laws may differ.

  51. That “falls inside the door” thing is great in texas and perhaps some other states. Here in NJ, I doubt you could shoot at a guy without being charged if you woke up and he was raping your daughter.

  52. Question: If he gets another trial, for whatever reason, can they try him for murder again? …or do they have to stick with the manslaughter charge and only the manslaughter charge?
    ____________________________________________
    On appeal he can not be charged with a higher crime. he has already been aquited of murder and convicted of manslaughter. If they were to try him again on appeal, then the most they could charge would be manslaughter. If my thinking is correct, as i have no knowledge of VA law. My state is napoleonic code for laws.

  53. I’m surprised that he didn’t get worse.

    I’m guessing that the other inmates will go easy on him in prison, as was said above.

    None of this would have happened if the cops had done their jobs properly, though.

  54. They can be shot in your living room and then run out and jump in a car and bleed to death on their way home and it is still justifiable homicide so long as they illegally entered your home and the shooting took place inside your home.

    What’s the point of shooting them if you let them run away?

  55. What John said. At least they realized that he had been threatened (thus dismissing that they had shouted “Police”)

    But, true, shooting at a door when you don’t know who is there, have no reason to believe they are going to apply lethal force, that’s different. Had they broken the door in, and he saw five guys with firarms pointed at him, he might have had a case.

    Still sucks, but John did call it right I believe.

  56. “What’s the point of shooting them if you let them run away?”

    to teach you a good lesson: aim for the center of mass and stop jerking the trigger…

  57. every individual in a position of authority in the police department should be fired for just causetried for negligent homicide

    fixed.

  58. Firing at an unidentified target inside the house has led to people killing family members. Unidentifed and mis-identified targets cause hunters to kill each other. It also causes cops to shoot innocent people.

    It’s simply irresponsible to promote firearms use that would allow shooting blindly. Its not even a good tactic in war, even though it’s called recon by fire.

  59. He is lucky to have lived through the raid and he’s lucky to not be facing a life sentence. Any jail time sucks, but he’s young enough for his life to not be completely ruined.

    That said, it is doubtful this case will do anything to change the way things are done in law enforcement or the justice system.

  60. The sticky part is if anyone but cops broke down your door like that and you fired and killed someone it would be a lesser charge.

    The whole thing is pinned on the fact the jury thinks cops are not there to harm Ryan so he is wrong to fear for his life.

  61. Personally I was expecting involuntary manslaughter under an imperfect self-defense theory, i.e. Frederick actually but unreasonably thought the use of deadly force was necessary.

    Still, the voluntary manslaughter finding means the jury did think that the police actions provided adequate provocation to cause a man to snap. Adequate provocation doesn’t merely mean you made someone angry. It means you drove them into a killing rage by your actions. The jury is saying the police actions in this case were outrageous. Either that or they did just split the difference. I’m hoping the jury really understood the message sent by their verdict instead of just giving a cop-out.

    Now we go to the sentencing and the appeals. The defense team will have plenty of material for that brief.

  62. Circuit Court Judge Marjorie A.T. Arrington told jurors Monday that if they could not find Frederick guilty of capital murder, they could consider lesser charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter.

    So not only did the jury convict on a lesser charge, but on the lowest charge of four options. I guess that is the best one could hope for. As others, I was certain he would be convicted of capital murder. I’m still very saddened that he was charged at all and angered (though not at all surprised) at the depths of outright lying and corruption by the police and prosecution.

    If he gets another trial, for whatever reason, can they try him for murder again?

    No.

  63. Tricky Vic,

    Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed, if the cop had shot and killed Ryan Frederick, would that be self-defense?

    If so, then it seems like the cops enjoy a standard of self-defense, when they’re breaking into someone’s home, that’s better than homeowners have when someone’s breaking into their home.

    …which is really counterintuitive.

  64. Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed, if the cop had shot and killed Ryan Frederick, would that be self-defense?
    _______________________________________________

    not really but in the ral world, sadly yes

  65. “It’s simply irresponsible to promote firearms use that would allow shooting blindly. Its not even a good tactic in war, even though it’s called recon by fire.”

    Easier said than done. When people actually start shooting at you, you generally can’t see them and only have a vague idea of where the fire is coming from. They usually don’t stand up and shoot like the targets do in Doom.

    That said I agree with you in that I would wait until the person got in my house before I shot him. I would also look to retreat if I could. I think people who break into houses ought to be shot, but I really would prefer to have to avoid doing it.

    True story. When I was aobut six, a person broke into my parents house while we were all there. He came in the back door and picked up a knife from the kitchean drawer figuring he could rob all of us and probably violate my mother and sister. When he walked into the living room, my dad and older brother both attacked him with lamps and our two German Shepherds both went for him. If it had been filmed it would have been hysterical. The guy ran out and the dogs ended up treeing him in small out building like a coon until the cops go there. Thank God, my dad disn’t shoot him. God only knows the kind of legal troubles it would have caused.

  66. Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed, if the cop had shot and killed Ryan Frederick, would that be self-defense?

    No, that would be collateral damage.

  67. “My state is napoleonic code for laws.”

    I like Louisiana.

  68. Jesus, Jesus help me
    I’m alone in this world
    And a fucked up world it is too
    Tell me, tell me the story
    The one about eternity
    And the way it’s all gonna be

    Wake up, wake up dead man
    Wake up, wake up dead man

    Jesus, I’m waiting here boss
    I know you’re looking out for us
    But maybe your hands aren’t free
    Your father, He made the world in seven
    He’s in charge of heaven
    Will you put in a word in for me

    Wake up, wake up dead man
    Wake up, wake up dead man

    Listen to your words they’ll tell you what to do
    Listen over the rhythm that’s confusing you
    Listen to the reed in the saxophone
    Listen over the hum of the radio
    Listen over sounds of blades in rotation
    Listen through the traffic and circulation
    Listen as hope and peace try to rhyme
    Listen over marching bands playing out their time

    Wake up, wake up dead man
    Wake up, wake up dead man

    Jesus, were you just around the corner
    Did You think to try and warn her
    Or are you working on something new
    If there’s an order in all of this disorder
    Is it like a tape recorder
    Can we rewind it just once more

    Wake up, wake up dead man
    Wake up, wake up dead man
    Wake up, wake up dead man

  69. Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed,

    Well, we’ll see what happens with Johannes Mehserle.

    Also, Det Shiver’s widow should sue the department for wrongful death, as it was the direct result of the department’s decision to go in hot and heavy that led to her husband’s death; and, as the prosectutor said in his closing argument, “the police didn’t arrest [Frederick] outside, because they wanted to connect him with the crime.”

  70. Ken Shultz | February 4, 2009, 4:35pm | #

    “My state is napoleonic code for laws.”

    I like Louisiana.
    ___________________________________________
    WOW! I am suprised with todays school systems that anyone knew it was LA. kudos to You

  71. “Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed, ”

    Two words; Amu Diallo. How did that work out?

  72. “””Tricky Vic,

    Out of curiosity, if the situation were reversed, if the cop had shot and killed Ryan Frederick, would that be self-defense?

    If so, then it seems like the cops enjoy a standard of self-defense, when they’re breaking into someone’s home, that’s better than homeowners have when someone’s breaking into their home.””””

    First your premise that the cops were breaking-in is incorrect, they had a warrant. Like it or not, that give them the ability to enter by force which is something totally different that a criminal breaking in. The cops were authorised to enter. And like it or not, if a cop identifies the target and the target is pointing a gun, it IS a self defense issue. Cooler heads wouldn’t pull the trigger and no one would get hurt. But that’s not often how it turns out.

    Trying to pretend cops are criminals when they are not, is as bad as pretending innocent people are criminals when they are not. Determining self-defense does depend on the situation, that’s why it’s dumbfounding when I hear cops, or defenders of cops, say they shouldn’t have to think in a self-defense situtation. Everyone should have to think.

  73. “Personally if my house is being broken into like Ryan’s, I would arm myself and wait until they break in. Then a well placed round or two would do the trick, the person would be inside, and I would avoid trial.”

    This ain’t no video game. What if your gun jammed? What if you miss? If the intruder is armed you are insta-fucked. If someone is clearly breaking into my house, I immediately assume they are armed and intend to do harm to me and/or my family, which is more than enough cause for me to disable them by whatever means necessary, including a round through their arm and possibly my front door. If you have the time to arm yourself and sit calmly in your easy chair, a well-placed axe swing may be more effective and potentially less lethal, though. Nothing says “No soliciting” like a severed limb.

  74. Normally, I would wait until he enters, the cleave him in half with my claymor.

  75. “””Two words; Amu Diallo. How did that work out?”””

    They were indicted the officers on charges of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. A jury unanimously acquited the officers of all charges.

    I guess it depends on how you want to view juries. The city settled for 3 million dollars.

    Personally, I think they were wrong, they should have done jail time, and should be barred from law enforcement. They mis-judged a situation which resulted in a death. But they didn’t fire blindly through an object. Find me the case were a cop does that.

    There is a gap between what works for cops and what works for the rest of us. I’ve been talking about that for decades. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

  76. Another travesty of justice. Nothing has been learned by anyone.

    Just Fuck!

  77. …as the prosectutor said in his closing argument, “the police didn’t arrest [Frederick] outside, because they wanted to connect him with the crime.”

    Riiiiight. There would have been no way to connect him with the inside of the house he lived in if he wasn’t there at the time.

    What a dirtbag.

  78. But they didn’t fire blindly through an object. Find me the case were a cop does that.

    Peyton Strickland

    http://www.newsobserver.com/news/crime_safety/strickland/

    Cop was never charged.

    Wasn’t through a door, but in the Tarika Williams case, the cop blindly fired into a bedroom. He was acquitted.

    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n772/a02.html

  79. “””This ain’t no video game. What if your gun jammed? What if you miss? If the intruder is armed you are insta-fucked. If someone is clearly breaking into my house, I immediately assume they are armed and intend to do harm to me and/or my family, which is more than enough cause for me to disable them by whatever means necessary, including a round through their arm and possibly my front door.””””

    Your right, it isn’t a video game so you can’t start shooting like it is one. There are legal consequences for your actions that don’t exist in the video world. You make a lot of ifs. If your gun jams, you ain’t doing shit but clearing a jam anyway. Miss? what makes you think shooting your way would improve your accuracy? I have an if for you, what if it turns out to be your daughter breaking in becuase she didn’t have a key, was drunk, and made a bad decision to break-in.

    I grew up in a family of hunters, I’ve shot weapons all my life, I’ve served in the military, I’m as pro-second amendment as they come. All that has a running thread, think before you pull the trigger, you don’t get do-overs.

    Ryan willl do his time, it may not be that much, but he will have to live with killing a guy that WAS doing his job. That will be a tough burden all his life. No do-over for Ryan or the detective.

  80. TrickyVic-

    The cops were breaking and entering Ryan’s castle without his consent. The warrant did not spefically authorize the cops to inflict damage to Ryan’s property in executing it.

    We should not be impressed by the totalitarian state of affairs that legally permit cops to break into the home of another pursuant to a warrant obtained by fraud and deceit. We should not forget that the premise upon which the cops acted, WoD, is a premise that is at odds with our founding, natural rights and reason.

  81. Where were the nullifiers? I guess there were no heros in that jury room. Perhaps kismet will not kiss them so kindly in the future.

  82. He is a tragic victim of police thuggery and a misguided war on drugs. Both are dangerous in and of themselves. Together they are lethal.

  83. This enrages me. Radley, do you see any colorable grounds on which to appeal?

  84. Leave it to Radley, đŸ™‚

    For them to be really comparable the same set of laws must apply. So it would have to be a case in VA. I think they will have an issue if a cops does it in their state and gets away with it after this verdict. But, close enough for comment.

    The cop should have been indicted. He was wrong to fire blindly. I don’t know why the grand jury didn’t. That still doesn’t make the cops actions right. I stand against inproper use of a firearm regardless of who’s behind the trigger.

  85. Regardless who’s at your door, you can’t just shoot through it.

    The nuances of the Castle Doctrine and local self-defense law come into play. I live in Texas, so YMMV depending on your level of state-imposed serfdom. Depending on where you live, it may not matter nearly as much as you think.

    There is generally no requirement in self-defense law that you have a clear, unobstructed look at your assailant, only that you have a legitimate fear for your life or safety.

    Somebody kicking down my door here in Texas is eligible to get shot, even if they don’t have it all the way down yet.

    But, true, shooting at a door when you don’t know who is there, have no reason to believe they are going to apply lethal force, that’s different.

    All you need to know is that they are breaking down your door under circumstances that give you good reason to fear for your life or safety. You don’t have to see a weapon in their hand, hear them utter threats, or anything like that.

    First your premise that the cops were breaking-in is incorrect, they had a warrant. Like it or not, that give them the ability to enter by force which is something totally different that a criminal breaking in.

    That may not effect the self-defense claim, which looks to whether the defendant had a reasonable fear, etc. When the cops go all dynamic entry without knocking and announcing, I think the defense can still be valid even if they have a warrant.

    Firing at an unidentified target inside the house has led to people killing family members.

    Absolutely. That’s why I would never do it. However, my wife and friends aren’t going to kick down my door; anyone doing so is presumptively engaged in a felony, and depending on the circumstances, I may shoot them before they get the door all the way down and step into the light.

  86. I feel bad saying this, but I feel relieved. I thought for sure Frederick would get the death penalty for what happened. I would have bet money. He should have been acquitted on all charges, but he was lucky to get what he got.

  87. This enrages me. Radley, do you see any colorable grounds on which to appeal?
    _________________________________________
    I am no Radley, but i think the jury took a lot of the appeals off the table. The jury obviously thought the warrant was unjustified, hence the no manufacture charge (i still say you can not manufacture a plant, by def of manufacture) and that he got manslaughter, which is just in my book as he shot someone outside his house. I think the jury really took most if not all the appeals off the table.

  88. There is a gap between what works for cops and what works for the rest of us. I’ve been talking about that for decades. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

    That, TrickyVic and I can agree on.

  89. My guess is the jury will give him 5-7 not the max of 10 and he will be out by year end for time served good behavior etc etc.

  90. “””The cops were breaking and entering Ryan’s castle without his consent. “””

    Pretending they needed his consent to enter doesn’t help the arugment.

    “””We should not be impressed by the totalitarian state of affairs that legally permit cops to break into the home of another pursuant to a warrant obtained by fraud and deceit.”””

    I totally agree, if the warrant was obtained by fraud or deceit, it should have been tossed. If not, it should be fair game for an appeal. The hail mary for the cops in this case was that Ryan WAS growing pot in his garage. The reason for the raid was factual. The cops were tipped off that someone was, in fact, growing pot in the garage. The central issue was not a lie, nor deception, it was a fact stipulated by the defense and admitted on the stand by Ryan himself.

    You seem to be aruging that cops have no right to raid a house growing pot. They do!! I don’t agree with it and we need to change the laws.

  91. I think juries are like women that way–when confronted with mutually exclusive alternatives, their first choice is usually both.

    Only with shoes, Ken. Only with shoes.

    Sexist pig…

  92. “””The nuances of the Castle Doctrine and local self-defense law come into play. I live in Texas,…”””

    Absolutly, and I see you live in a state where you can shoot a door to door salesman just because he knocked. Yeah, I remember that one.

    I’m from a state where if two kids break into your house and you kill one, they will try, unsuccessfully, to charge the other kid with the murder.

  93. Or did he have a chance to knock? Don’t fully remember, it was a while ago.

  94. Well that sucks. The fact he will see freedom again at all is a blessing for him. The cop however is gone forever and won’t be putting any other citizens to the same test he put Ryan. Ask me which I am feeling the most compassion for right about now?

    The thing is no matter what I still have to open fire on anyone kicking in my door at night. Sorry cops but your not the only ones that have the ability to defend themselves.

  95. Reading the actual article, it looks like Frederick shot through the door as the cops started to knock it down. That is, he didn’t really have a target and was firing blindly-plus, he would have had time to, say, run out a window or back door or call 911. (Virginia law doesn’t have a Texas or Flordia-type defense of property allowance in the use of deadly force.)

    That is, if the cop was really a burglar, he would have been equally guilty of the charge. In many states, you can’t shoot at a burglar unless he is an actual threat to your life. Somebody breaking down your door doesn’t qualify-said somebody could be unarmed, and you have a chance to get away.

  96. They gave him 10 years:

    “A Chesapeake jury called for a maximum sentence of 10 years for Ryan Frederick, convicted earlier today of voluntary manslaughter the 2008 slaying of a Detective Jarrod Shivers during a drug raid. “

  97. 10… i really thought it would be 3-5. Guess the jury was “moved” by family testamony.

  98. Radley Balko | February 4, 2009, 3:50pm | #

    TrickyVic — Someone has just busted a whole in the bottom panel in your door, and (according to Frederick)is reaching through the hole for the doorknob.

    You don’t think that’s an eminent enough threat to merit lethal self defense?

    The law in most states doesn’t think so. That’s a threat to his property, not yet to his person. If the cop was actually a burglar, the burglar might have been unarmed and not expecting anybody to be home, and would have possibly run off if confronted by a gun-wielding homeowner. In most states, you can’t shoot a burglar that is not a direct threat to your person (attacking you or armed, etc.).

    Under the laws of Virginia, this appears to be the proper verdict. Now, had this taken place in Florida or Texas, where the laws are different, the proper verdict might have been an aquittal.

  99. TrickyVic-

    I am not pretending they needed his consent under the current regime. I did not intend to convey that message. I just think it is important to hammer home the fundamentals. Would you not agree that under natrual rights theory, any person, but particularly an agent of the state, would need his consent to enter?

    However, my assertion, as a matter of fact, stands, does it not? (I can’t speak for RF-but do you harbor any doubts that those storm troopers entered without his OK?).

  100. Fuck that, Geotpf!

    I really don’t care what the law is, I care what it should be. And this case clearly has nothing to do with what should be.

    My property IS my life. If somebody is harming my person or my property, I feel it is my right to secure my property as well as my person. I don’t care if they didn’t have a weapon or planned on running away if confronted. If they are stupid enough to infringe on my rights, especially in such a risky method, I’ll damn well violate their rights to the utmost as quicly as I can. I’m only trying to stop them from trampling my rights, and if I deem it necessary to take them down and it happens, then so be it.

  101. Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert asked the jury to give the family proper closure and send a message to deter anyone else from firing blindly through a door.

    “Sheer retribution,” he said is what’s needed.

    ____________________________________________
    WHAT THE FUCK EVER HAPPEND TO JUSTICE! Retribution is not a reason to sentence. revenge is not justice, and justice is not revenge

  102. Very sad to see the Jury give this guy 10 years for this.

    He never intended on killing a cop.

    I’m a big gun control supporter…that is…I’d rather live in a world were people didn’t have guns.

    I wonder what people against gun control feel about this verdict. Wasn’t this guy doing what gun advocates support?

  103. “Absolutly, and I see you live in a state where you can shoot a door to door salesman just because he knocked. Yeah, I remember that one.

    I’m from a state where if two kids break into your house and you kill one, they will try, unsuccessfully, to charge the other kid with the murder.”

    As it should be. You break into someone’s house, you deserve to be shot. No ands ifs or buts. The more dead burglers there are, the safer we are.

  104. Danny | February 4, 2009, 6:20pm | #

    Fuck that, Geotpf!

    I really don’t care what the law is, I care what it should be. And this case clearly has nothing to do with what should be.

    My property IS my life. If somebody is harming my person or my property, I feel it is my right to secure my property as well as my person. I don’t care if they didn’t have a weapon or planned on running away if confronted. If they are stupid enough to infringe on my rights, especially in such a risky method, I’ll damn well violate their rights to the utmost as quicly as I can. I’m only trying to stop them from trampling my rights, and if I deem it necessary to take them down and it happens, then so be it.

    Fair enough. I can see both your argument, as well as the opposing one, which is that deadly force should not be used unless there is an immediate threat that can’t be prevented any other way. The fact that both arguments have some merit is why state laws aren’t consistant on this point.

    Now, if Frederick had waited until the door was broken down, he would have seen it was a cop, and the cop would still be alive. Of course, the cops would have seen a guy with a gun, and Frederick might have been shot dead in the process…

    There have been cases where family members kill other family members in similiar circumstances (that is, family member A forgot his keys and decided to just break down the door, and family member B thought family member A was a burglar and shot and killed him). This wouldn’t directly apply in this case, as I believe Frederick lived alone, but…

  105. Apparently, these officers weren’t certain of whom they were shooting at:

    http://www.officer.com/online/article.jsp?siteSection=1&id=45227

  106. Love this quote:
    He said the jury may have bought into the belief that it could have been the police at their door. “My question to them is how many are growing marijuana,” Crimmins said

    I wish that was the case, but as we have seen all to often, you just have to be next door to the dope house, or have some one drop off a package.

    Castle doctrine in WA, but you need to be threatened. Someone pounds my door it is call to 911 and get ready, not shoot through door.

  107. “Their verdict today has jeopardized the lives of police officers,” said Jack Crimmins, president of the Chesapeake Coalition of Police. “I think the jury failed. They failed the community. You’ve got a man involved in an illegal enterprise, the police come to his house and he takes the matter into his own hands.”

    Teacher: And what have we leaned today class?

    Jack Crimmins: Ooh, ooh, I know!

    Teacher: Yes Yackie.

    Jack Crimins: Not a goddam thing!

  108. Now, if Frederick had waited until the door was broken down, he would have seen it was a cop, and the cop would still be alive.

    But if it’s a bunch of armed criminals at your door, once the door comes down you lose the advantage. The reason you’re not supposed to shoot through doors is because generally you have no idea what is on the other side. An arm breaking through a door panel and reaching for the doorknob is a good indication that there’s a person on the other side of the door trying to break in to your home.

    By your logic, a criminal can break into your home and do whatever, without fear of getting shot, so long as he holds a door in front of his body.

  109. And this is reinforced by the fact that the bullet did indeed hit the intended target — the guy who was breaking in. Not an innocent bystander, not a puppy, not a neighbor’s window, but the correct target. That’s not what “don’t shoot what you can’t see” is supposed to protect against.

  110. I’m a little surprised the jury recommened the max.

    “”””Would you not agree that under natrual rights theory, any person, but particularly an agent of the state, would need his consent to enter?””””

    If the cops are not aware of a crime being committed then I would agree. But if it is known that a crime is being committed, then no. You do not have a natural right to keep law enforcement out if they know a crime is taking place. What if a burglar broke into your house, tied you up in the basement, was stealing your things, and a cop just so happen to knock on your door. Say the thief answers, the cop looking around realizes the thief isn’t the homeowner and is ripping the place off. I can’t imagine the cop being forbidden, even by natural rights, to enter the house because you couldn’t give consent.

    Most of us here have a real problem with the drug war, police abuses, and militarization of law enforcement, I’m one of them. But I’m a rule of law guy who understands that changing the law is key to solving the problem. You can’t pretend it’s ok to be above the law when it fits your ends. That’s one of our complaints with law enforcement.

  111. SpongePaul | February 4, 2009, 4:42pm | #
    Ken Shultz | February 4, 2009, 4:35pm | #

    “My state is napoleonic code for laws.”

    I like Louisiana.
    ___________________________________________
    WOW! I am suprised with todays school systems that anyone knew it was LA. kudos to You

    I suspect Ken might be a graduate of yesteryear’s school systems… just sayin’

  112. More jury-bashing:

    ‘I think juries are like women that way–when confronted with mutually exclusive alternatives, their first choice is usually both.’

    This jury rejected the prosecution theory (backed up by witnesses who should have been disqualified based on infamy) that Frederick planned to kill some cops. They saw through the ‘we announced ourselves and he must have heard it’ line. They also seem to have followed the judge’s instructions that you can’t just fire through a door. Could a judge (male or female) have done better? Especially an elected judge who wanted cop votes in the next election?

    ‘Juries these days do not feel comfortable acquitting defendants – they are there, so the must be guilty of something. Presumed guilty.’

    Generally, whenever jury verdicts are compared with the verdicts the trial judges say they would have rendered in a bench trial, the juries prove to be more ‘lenient’ than judges – that is, more likely to acquit. I imagine that juries are naive enough that they are more likely to believe the rhetoric about the presumption of innocence – as opposed to judges, who spend most of their time dealing with guilty people and may lapse into a presumption that any particular defendant is guilty.

  113. Plus, a judge who hands down ‘too many’ acquittals may have trouble getting re-elected – or getting promoted, in the case of a federal judge.

    Not to mention that the judges tend to know the lawyers and cops who hang around the courthouse and may take a cozy, we’re-all-buddies attitude from which regular Joe defendants are excluded.

    Plus the fact that many judges are former prosecutors.

    Yeah, don’t rely on juries – judges would be much better!

  114. Honestly, this is the most depressing news I’ve heard in a while. It’s almost enough for me to start talking to my fundie friends and family about the stupidity of the drug war, but like most of the people commenting in the pilot, they probably just won’t get it.

  115. Hmm. I agree with Mad Max, juries are generally good things and here they did better than they could. I also agree with John, that a Make My Day law would be a good policy to push for those outraged by this (good policy in general I think).

    I think though, given the circumstances, that it’s hard to beleive a jury could not find that this guy had a reasonable belief that he faced imminent, serious unlawful force.

  116. “Now we got here in the state of Louisiana what’s known as the Napoleonic code”

  117. This is as good a place as any to post this rather interesting video I found…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKTw-UHalZc

    The question here is, are the shopkeepers in the second half of this video justified in their actions, considering what was going on in the first half of this video?

  118. Is it time for another riot?

    Can we direct this one at the SOBs responsible and not innocent bystanders please?

  119. “””But if it’s a bunch of armed criminals at your door, once the door comes down you lose the advantage.””””

    How is having a clearer shot and the law on your side a loss of advantage?

    “”””And this is reinforced by the fact that the bullet did indeed hit the intended target — the guy who was breaking in.””””

    That’s why it was voluntary manslaughter. Ryan intended to shoot the guy breaking in. Legally breaking in, unless the appeal judge tosses the warrant. But then it’s not clear if that would make it illegal. At the end of the day, you still have someone growing pot being raided by cops that knew he was growing pot. There is nothing wrong with that as long as pot is illegal. That’s why we need to support changing the law. Trying to say it’s ok to kill a cop doing his job will not further pro-legalization movement.

    If Ryan was actually growing Japanese maples instead of pot, it would be a different story. I would still say it was bad judgement on Ryan’s part to shoot through the door. But I wouldn’t expect him to be convicted of anything since no crime was taking place. The death of the officer would be totally on the CPD.

  120. Dudes, I’d like to point out what your friendly neighborhood liberals are working hard to do to reform and/or end the WOD.

    Is there any organization not labeled as the epitome of “liberalism” more than the ACLU? Well, look at their actions and words on this issue.

    http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/index.html

    Is there any conservative organization doing like minded work (not libertarian organization, but conservative)?

    Dude, we are your friends. They are the enemy.

  121. Remember the last time a liberal on this site, in anger at disagreeing with the libertarians here, called them “pot-smoking” etc., etc.,?

    Yeah, neither can I.

    Conservatives do it here all the frigging time.

  122. If Ryan was actually growing Japanese maples instead of pot, it would be a different story.

    Okay, so if the police obtained a warrant stating that a person was growing marijuana but it turned out to be maples, how does that change the situation? Either the warrant was legal or it was not and a warrant issued on bad information, whether from an “informant” or the misidentification of a plant is still a warrant issued.

  123. Vic,
    “Trying to say it’s ok to kill a cop doing his job will not further pro-legalization movement.”

    But this cop didn’t do his whole job, only part of it. The part he left out was “POLICE!!” until Ryan understood that.

    Because that didn’t happen (as it legally was supposed to), Ryan didn’t shoot a cop, he shot a robber kicking his door in.

  124. “”””I think though, given the circumstances, that it’s hard to beleive a jury could not find that this guy had a reasonable belief that he faced imminent, serious unlawful force.””””

    I believe the jury did believe that Ryan believed he feared a threat. I also think the jury believed the cops were not acting unlawful since they were there to arrest a guy that was, in fact, growing pot in his garage as the warrant claimed, as the informant claimed, and as Ryan himself claimed. Ryan’s admission to growing makes the warrant appear lawful since the central issue is not in dispute. That and the judge ruling he warrant was lawful.

  125. MNG, if the ACLU actually supported all of the Bill of Rights, then you might have something going there. Sadly, they prefer to focus on immigration (not a right per se) and simultaneously reject the 2nd. The only good thing I can say about this is that they don’t actively fight against the second, they just refuse to support it.

    That having been said, I monetarily support both the ACLU and the DPA.

  126. Kwix and Vic,
    “Okay, so if the police obtained a warrant stating that a person was growing marijuana but it turned out to be maples, how does that change the situation? Either the warrant was legal or it was not and a warrant issued on bad information, whether from an “informant” or the misidentification of a plant is still a warrant issued.”

    Let’s take this a step further: What if the warrent were legit and Ryan WAS growing and sell pot. And what if the cops acted exactly the same way, but at the wrong house?

    Would Mr.Jones be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter? After all, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, so he had no reason to suspect that the guy coming through his door is a cop…

  127. Was RF growing? AFAIR, he wasn’t.

  128. Dello,
    I think you misread my post.

    In answer to your question, in VA, yes he would likely be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter regardless if it was a cop or a burgler at the door. Sadly, VA does not support the Castle doctrine and wrong as that may be, it is the nature of the legal beast.

  129. I really like Hit and Run, but this blog (and Balko in particular) make me sad most of the time.

  130. That’s why it was voluntary manslaughter. Ryan intended to shoot the guy breaking in. Legally breaking in, unless the appeal judge tosses the warrant.

    Then why does shooting through the door matter? If the door came down and THEN Frederick shot, before the police had identified themselves, your argument dictates that it’s still manslaughter…because they were still entering legally (even though Frederick had no way of knowing that).

    If you want to punish him for shooting through the door, the correct charge is reckless endangerment anyway. If the recipient of the bullet was a just target under the circumstances, manslaughter shouldn’t apply.

  131. How is having a clearer shot and the law on your side a loss of advantage?

    Because the criminals have a much clearer shot at you once the door’s out of the way. And I’m not sold on the difference in having the law on your side; in most jurisdictions you’re probably either justified both ways or screwed both ways.

  132. It’s very unfortunate that the ACLU does not support the 2nd (but nice that they don’t actively oppose it). They also have some messed up ideas on affirmative action and entitlements. That said, they defend a lot of liberty issues that are very unpopular with a lot of voters. I can’t think of many conservative organizations that can say the same…

  133. Kwix,

    When I said different story, I meant my opinion of it. He would still probably be charged with a crime.

    If the cops are wrong, then they are wrong. The homeowner shouldn’t be responsible for what happens. The homeowner has no expectation that the cops would come to arrest him since no crime has taken place. He would never consider it could be cops knocking. I figure that’s fair play since SCOTUS as said that a person committing a crime has an expectation that the cops will come knocking.

  134. So far as I know, this sort of thing – a fucked up no knock raid that resulted in a Ryan Frederick or Corey Mayes tragedy – has not happened in Texas yet. I do wonder what would be the result if/when it did/does.

    I have no doubt what the police reaction would be – witness the way they terrorized a child in Galveston. I do wonder what a jury would do with this same set of facts.

  135. To further that, I present my state’s Castle Doctrine:

    AS 11.81.335. Justification: Use of Deadly Force in Defense of Self.

    (a) Except as provided in (b) of this section, a person who is justified in using nondeadly force in self-defense under AS 11.81.330 may use deadly force in self-defense upon another person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes the use of deadly force is necessary for self-defense against

    (1) death;

    (2) serious physical injury;

    (3) kidnapping, except for what is described as custodial interference in the first degree in AS 11.41.320;

    (4) sexual assault in the first degree;

    (5) sexual assault in the second degree;

    (6) sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree; or

    (6) robbery in any degree.

    (b) A person may not use deadly force under this section if the person knows that, with complete personal safety and with complete safety as to others being defended, the person can avoid the necessity of using deadly force by leaving the area of the encounter,, except there is no duty to leave the area if the person is

    (1) on premises

    (A) that the person owns or leases;

    (B) where the person resides, temporarily or permanently; or

    (C) as a guest or express or implied agent of the owner, lessor, or resident;

    (2) a peace officer acting within the scope and authority of the officer’s employment or a person assisting a peace officer under AS 11.81.380;

    (3) in a building where the person works in the ordinary course of the person’s employment; or

    (4) protecting a child or a member of the person’s household.

    If Ryan Frederick had been resident in this state, he would have been legally justified because a) he suspected that he would be subject to “Robbery in any Degree” and b) he had no duty to vacate the premises. The only question would have been, which side of the threshold constitutes “the premises”?

  136. MNG,
    DPA = Drug Policy Alliance. I have also contributed to Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership (JPFO) since, unlike the NRA, they support the RKBA without regard to extraneous or illicit activities.

  137. “””Would Mr.Jones be found guilty of voluntary manslaughter? After all, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, so he had no reason to suspect that the guy coming through his door is a cop…”””

    Depends on the laws of the state where it takes place. But probably, if he lived.

    “””Because the criminals have a much clearer shot at you once the door’s out of the way”””

    Only if your stupid enough to stand out in the open when they break in. Ever heard of cover and concealment? In most jurisdiction, once they are inside, the law is on your side.

  138. Kwix, execept the cops were not there to rob him. Robbery is not in play. Check with your state and see if it’s ok to shoot a cop coming to arrest you for a crime you are in fact committing.

  139. Thanks Kwix, a worthy outfit for sure.

  140. Trying to say it’s ok to kill a cop doing his job will not further pro-legalization movement.

    Tricky, that’s a gross oversimplification.

    If an armed man wearing dark clothes kicks in my door without any declaration of law enforcement credentials, I may shoot him. That is reasonable self defense. Period. Things were only complicated because Ryan Fredrick was in posession of marijuana.

    There’s a point where ‘doing his job’ crosses into ‘doing his job poorly’ which again, is only a short distance from ‘doing his job illegally or in a corrupt manner’.

    A cop doing his job properly never would have entered the Fredrick home in the manner as it was done. A cop doing his job in a legal and uncorrupt manner never would have ‘hired’ a criminal to break and enter into the Fredrick home to obtain evidence that the police couldn’t or wouldn’t acquire through a warrant.

    As over simplified as it sounds: The cops started it, so they’re at fault.

  141. stubby | February 4, 2009, 7:40pm | #
    So far as I know, this sort of thing – a fucked up no knock raid that resulted in a Ryan Frederick or Corey Mayes tragedy – has not happened in Texas yet. I do wonder what would be the result if/when it did/does.

    I don’t have time right now to search for all the details but you may want to try and track this one down. Apparently, according to a since removed news broadcast, the lady who shot thought they were robbers rather than police. Given that recently a number of robberies have occurred with the thieves posing as police, it is not an unlikely scenario.

  142. Great point Trickyvic, great point. Reading Kwix’s statute it does seem like you can use this force if you have a reasonable belief that “the use of deadly force is necessary for self-defense against” the list in the top part, and then says the person can’t do this if they know that with complete safety to self and others they could retreat UNLESS the person is in their home and such. I too read this to say that if a person does not have the reasonable beleif that force is necessary to prevent one of the crimes above then he doesn’t get this exception from the retreat doctrine.

    However, did this guy “reasonably know” that he was not in the kind of danger of one of these offenses if he did not use the force he did?

  143. “””””If an armed man wearing dark clothes kicks in my door without any declaration of law enforcement credentials, I may shoot him. That is reasonable self defense. Period. Things were only complicated because Ryan Fredrick was in posession of marijuana.””””

    Not posession, Ryan was growing pot as the warrant stated. That’s what complicates things. Before you go shooting anyone in self-defense, I’d check with the laws of the state you live in first, else you may be serving time like Ryan will probably do.

  144. One last thought. Pro-legalization actually isn’t the answer to the Ryan Fredrick case. Make no mistake, legalization is an answer to a different question. But not the Ryan Fredrick question.

    Fact: There will always be matters of extra-legal activity which will give rise to the need for cops to raid a private home.

    So while yes, legalizing marijuana will make sure that cops won’t raid a home because marijuana might be contained therein, legalizing marijuana will not change the fact that cops will still be raiding homes in a brazen, corrupt and questionable manner. They’ll just be raiding houses for trans-fats, pornography, or privately owned gold.

    The fact of the matter is that cops shouldn’t be obtaining evidence and raiding homes in the way they did in the Fredrick case. Only in the rarest of cases should police be kicking in doors in the wee hours of the night.

    We need to be looking at the entire spectrum of how and why police deal with no-knock warrants and searches of private residences.

  145. Kwix, execept the cops were not there to rob him. Robbery is not in play. Check with your state and see if it’s ok to shoot a cop coming to arrest you for a crime you are in fact committing.

    Hrrm, apparently posting the entirety of the statute wasn’t enough so I will have to highlight it for you:

    and to the extent the person reasonably believes

    It isn’t right to shoot a cop doing his job if you know it’s a cop. However, if you “reasonably believe” that your house is being broken into by robbers, as Mr. Frederick did, then the situation changes, no? If you review the case, there is some question as to whether or not police announced themselves before entering the main house. Even if they had, would they have reasonable expectation that a person, asleep, would hear them?

    Not saying this is in any way applicable to VA law mind you but in my state, a person has no duty to retreat from his premises if he feels his life, personal safety or property are threatened.

  146. One last thought. Pro-legalization actually isn’t the answer to the Ryan Fredrick case. Make no mistake, legalization is an answer to a different question. But not the Ryan Fredrick question.

    Well said! I have to agree with you on everything you have stated WRT this blog post. Ultimately this tragedy was brought to bear by poor police work and poor tactics. One man dead and another’s life ruined. Just plain sad.

  147. Tricky Vic,

    Kwix, execept the cops were not there to rob him. Robbery is not in play. Check with your state and see if it’s ok to shoot a cop coming to arrest you for a crime you are in fact committing.

    may use deadly force in self-defense upon another person when and to the extent the person reasonably believes the use of deadly force is necessary for self-defense
    against

    money quote right there…fredricks would merely have needed to convince the jury that robbery was reasonably believed from his vantage point. the whole idea about the door is BS IMO, regardless of whether it is written into a law or not. Strategically it may not be optimal to shoot through a door as you don’t know the position of the person outside and if you miss you alert them to the potential threat, but if you believe that the person behind the door will cause you harm, you have no reason not to start defending yourself once they start trying to breach the barrier.

  148. Not posession, Ryan was growing pot as the warrant stated. That’s what complicates things.

    But Tricky, Ryan was convicted of possession. So the jury wasn’t convinced that his “grow operation” amounted to much.

    I’d check with the laws of the state you live in first, else you may be serving time like Ryan will probably do.

    Within context, of course. But that’s my point. We have a corrupt system. If Larry the Crack Addict dons his black clothes, kicks in my door in the middle of the night, and I shoot him through the door, the only place I’d ever serve a day in jail might be the District of Columbia. Few other states would even charge me of anything. But if in those same states, I shoot at the same dark figure kicking in my door, and he just HAPPENS to be a cop (unannounced, natch), I’m going to jail for 10 years. You see my point?

    What we have done is set up a system where the state tells us “You’re free to shoot dangerous people coming through your door… but if one of them is a cop in a wrong-door, or even corrupt raid, you’ll go to jail for a minimum of ten years.”

    That’s wrong, it’s corrupt, and the onus is on the state to correct the situation, not by disarming civilians and weakening the self-defense laws, but by muzzling police departments.

  149. Oh hell Kwix you live in Alaska. You can get away with all kinds of crap up there. đŸ˜‰

  150. Excuse my ignorance.

    My understanding was that the bullet was well placed – in the arm.

    Where it traveled I’d like to know.

    The arm was the target. That is gun control.

    Bullets do take weird paths after entering the body. Apparently this one went on a fatal path.

    But since possession is 9/10ths, after the bullet entered the cop’s arm it was his property and his responsibility.

    Sounds like a clear cut case of suicide.

  151. “””But Tricky, Ryan was convicted of possession. So the jury wasn’t convinced that his “grow operation” amounted to much.”””

    Ryan admitted he was growing pot in his garage just like the warrant and informant claimed. Ryan backed the informant’s story that some plants were stolen and he distroyed the rest. It at least amounts to Ryan confirming the reason for the raid. I think that can’t be overlooked.

    The charge was manufacturing and distribution. They believed Ryan when he said he was growing for personal use, not selling.

    That’s one of the things I’m glad to see in the outcome. They believed the defense and not the bullshit the prosecutor was selling.

  152. Where it traveled I’d like to know.

    Up his arm into the chest I read someplace. The angle of entry was consistent with him reaching through the door, not standing shot in the chest. Sorry I can’t give you a reference on that.

  153. Anyone have any case law on people shooting a cop serving a warrant for a crime that was being committed when the occupant thought they were burglars?

  154. FUCK fuck’n fuck

  155. he should have a few different grounds for appeal

  156. The Dallas SWAT story…I dunno. I can see how she thought someone might be breaking in – but from what I read, the cops didn’t get the wrong house, they and their baby were running a stash house, and drug dealers (or people who stash stuff for them) know that cops raid those houses. I don’t see a comparison to Corey Mayes or Katherine Johnson, nor even to Ryan Frederick. Given how violent the drug trade is – whether the danger comes from police raids or other drug dealers – with children in the house are idiots.

  157. Someone should post the addresses of these jurors. Break in, plant some pot, call the cops, and they get theirs.

  158. Why is accidentally shooting a cop different from accidentally hitting a cop with your car?

    If Mr Fredricks was in a ‘typical’ traffic accident and a tragically a police officer died, would Fredricks get 10 years?

    Why aren’t the people who organized the police raid held accountable the same way a businessman would be for wrongful death the businessmans lack of expertise caused?

    Other than vengence what are Shivers familly and the police getting out of this? It seems they are being cruel to the Fredricks’ for no reason.

  159. Ryan admitted he was growing pot in his garage just like the warrant and informant claimed.

    Fruit of the poisonous tree.

    (If you had any idea how many years I’ve waited to say those words…)

    Why is accidentally shooting a cop different from accidentally hitting a cop with your car?

    If Mr Fredricks was in a ‘typical’ traffic accident and a tragically a police officer died, would Fredricks get 10 years?

    I think the obvious retort here was that in your hypothetical case, Ryan Fredrick wasn’t aiming his car at a man on the road because Fredrick felt threatened. It’s not the same thing.

    I still want to know why I go to jail for shooting the man in dark clothing kicking in my door who has a badge hidden under his windbreaker, but I get to claim self defense when I shoot the man in dark clothing kicking in my door who has a crack pipe under his windbreaker?

    Anyone?

  160. wix, execept the cops were not there to rob him. Robbery is not in play. Check with your state and see if it’s ok to shoot a cop coming to arrest you for a crime you are in fact committing.

    Tricky, your record is skipping on this point. Allow me to adjust the needle. I understand what you’re saying, except that’s not the situation we have. It’s the situation the cops claim, but not the one Fredrick claims, and not the one I believe.

    We don’t have a cop, dressed in a uniform and badge moving towards a coherent and awake Fredrick in broad daylight (while Fredrick is in the process of committing a crime, presumably wringing his hands menacingly and twirling his moustache), while the officer yells, “Police! Stop in the name of the lore!”

    What we have is a kid with no criminal record who smokes some weed, asleep on his couch at 2am, when he’s awakened by the crashing sounds of splintering wood and an arm protruding through his door– and his thoughts turn to the fact that his apartment was recently burgled and “turned over” by fiends in the night.

    The only regretful part is Fredrick didn’t shoot all of them so he could then make the conscious choice to hide the bodies and go back to sleep, or at least allow his story to be the only one we ever hear.

  161. “Frederick was also facing a charged related to the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony, but the Virginian-Pilot report doesn’t indicate the jury’s decision, there.”

    I watched the video. It sounded like a not guilty on that charge. This was clearly a compromise verdict. There were some good people on that jury who wanted to find him not guilty. However, some wanted to convict him of capital murder. Be happy that he wasn’t convicted of murder and still has a future outside.

  162. “Their verdict today has jeopardized the lives of police officers,” said Jack Crimmins, president of the Chesapeake Coalition of Police. “I think the jury failed. They failed the community. You’ve got a man involved in an illegal enterprise, the police come to his house and he takes the matter into his own hands.”

    He said the jury may have bought into the belief that it could have been the police at their door. “My question to them is how many are growing marijuana,” Crimmins said.

    Absolutely no shame.

    1. Police decided to do things the hard way and take chances and as an result one live is lost and the other destroyed.
      Whatever happened to “protect and serve” not sure but this blood is on their hands and blaming jury for not exacting more of the revenge on commoner for defending himself at 2 am will hardly fix it was police choice to take that risk.
      All over some stupid plant, as war on some drugs is ever more war on all the people.

  163. That couldn’t have been a threat, right?

  164. If Mr Fredricks was in a ‘typical’ traffic accident and a tragically a police officer died, would Fredricks get 10 years?

    I think the obvious retort here was that in your hypothetical case, Ryan Fredrick wasn’t aiming his car at a man on the road because Fredrick felt threatened. It’s not the same thing.

    The correct answer is at least 2nd degree murder

  165. Tricky, I agree with you that he got the proper charge according to VA law. The only argument I have with what you are saying is that once someone is forcibly breaking down your door in the middle of the night, just after you had been burglarized before, I think it is justified self defense.

    He knew all he needed to know, that someone was busting in the door in the middle of the night. The fact that they cops were serving a “just” warrant doesn’t matter because he did not know they were cops. For this argument, they shouldn’t be considered cops doing their job in this argument, because they were simply an entity breaking down this man’s door.

    I have a locked door for a reason. It’s because I don’t want people coming in. If someone disregards this fact and attempts to forcibly break in anyway, then I will assume they intend to cause me harm, unarmed burglar or not. Not to mention, most unarmed burglars tend to be a bit quieter than cops busting in a door. The fact that he was awoken would lend itself to the idea that such force was being used that he felt his home was being raided (as it was) rather than burglarized.

    Tricky, I agree that blindly firing through doors isn’t a very good thing to do, for a myriad of reasons. However, I do think defending your house with deadly force if you are reasonably threatened, as I believe Frederick was once they began to destroy the barrier of his door, should be allowed.

  166. Anyone else notice that the Pilot article has dropped Jack Crimmins’ comment about members of the jury growing marijuana?

  167. Ten years for murder. Sounds about right, usually they get seven years so the jury obviously didn’t think this guy was a choirboy.

  168. What about criminals pretending to be police? Weren’t there some similar cases like that recently, in VA?

    If you serve warrants in daylight, all this subterfuge and bullshit is easily avoided.

    RF had a regular schedule, two cops could have easily arrested/served him in the morning when he stepped outside on his way to his 9-5. What happened to good ol’ fashioned stakeouts instead of swat break-ins.

  169. “The only good thing I can say about this is that they don’t actively fight against the second, they just refuse to support it.”

    Actually Romero stated that DC vs. Heller was an erroneous ruling because he claimed it was against decades of Supreme Court precedent.
    His continued insistence that the 2nd Amendment is only a collective, and not an individual, right consitutes actively fighting against it, or at least the part that allows me, as a private citizen, to own guns.

  170. “I can’t think of many conservative organizations that can say the same…’

    Then you aren’t thinking very hard.

  171. A libertarian giving to the ACLU is like a Nazi giving to the B’nai B’rith.

  172. JW (3/4/09 3:56 pm) and Warren (3/4/09 8:55 pm:

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert asked the jury to give the family proper closure and send a message to deter anyone else from firing blindly through a door.

    “Sheer retribution,” he said is what’s needed.

    Ebert used to be kinda amusing, back when he was prosecuting both John Wayne Bobbitt for beating his wife and Lorena Bobbitt for cutting her husband’s dick off with a kitchen knife. Now he’s pretty much pure evil. (Why on earth did he have to blow the trials of the Bobbitts (both of whom seemed guilty as sin), and win this one?)

  173. Thank GOD he got something. The guy is a pothead and a cop killer. 10 years is a mere slap on the wrist, he’ll be out and do it all again. He should have gotten life in prison, including the rape that is an integral part of the sentence.

    In case you forgot pot is currently illegal, all potheads need to be rounded up for some good ole fashioned SEVERE PUNISHMENT, like death, sentences of many decades, torture, etc. Only then can we finally win the war on drugs. We need to fight a real war, declare marshall law and bring the military home to occupy and raid everyone.

  174. TrickyVic | February 4, 2009, 8:53pm | #

    “Anyone have any case law on people shooting a cop serving a warrant for a crime that was being committed when the occupant thought they were burglars?”

    We do now.

  175. So I guess they weren’t Japanese maples?

    While Mr. Frederick may have legitimately believed that the burglars were back, he should have also thought that maybe the people at the front door were cops who came because HE HAD A GROW OPERATION.

    The whole thing is sad, but the jury probably figured that Frederick was too quick on the trigger because he was growing pot and involved with a criminal element.

  176. Ryan Frederick performed a service for society. He should get a medal. Fuck that scumbag cop and fuck his family too.

  177. Ryan Frederick should get the same sentence as the killer of Sal Culosi in Fairfax, VA. Oh wait, that killer was never charged because he was a police officer.

  178. Fuck you, TricyVic. You talk a bunch of shit but what you would really do is just sit and wait and hope that they didn’t kill your spineless ass once they got inside.

  179. If the drugs laws as they exist were just, one could make a case that this was a just outcome for RF. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with it, but a case could be made.

    But the drug laws are unjust, therefore all the efforts to enforce those laws and the consquences thereof are unjust. MJ didn’t kill Det. Shivers and put RF behind bars, unjust drug laws did that. Sad, sad, sad….

  180. I think this falls under the heading of “imperfect self-defense”.
    From Wiki:
    “In some jurisdictions, malice can also be negated by imperfect self-defense. Self-defense is considered imperfect when the killer acted from his belief in the necessity for self-defense, but that belief was not reasonable under the circumstances. If the belief in self-defense were reasonable, then the killing would be considered justified and not unlawful. Where the belief is unreasonable, the homicide is considered to be voluntary manslaughter.”

  181. Maximum sentence for simple possession (a misdemeanor) is 30 days.

    Within my lifetime,the maximum sentence for simple possession in Virginia was 30 *years*. So at least some things have gotten better.

  182. Funny thing is, if it had been a burglar. RF would be getting a medal right now and the NRA would be paying his legal bills.

  183. So very sad. We’re really going to send this guy to jail? For 10 years simply due to reckless and shoddy behavior from the police? I wouldn’t mind the reckless manslaughter charge so much if we had the option of just simply giving this guy community service. But this guy does not belong in jail. How much is that going to cost us taxpayers?

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