Dumb and Deadly: How the Authorities Make an Armed Standoff Worse

Standoffs involving armed suspects and the authorities are tense situations for all sides involved. Police have a sworn duty to serve and protect the community, and part of that responsibility involves minimizing the risk to the surrounding persons and property when an armed suspect barricades themselves in a home or other building. In turn, the accused is caught in an ever-tightening noose of anxiety and worsening charges. This is often complicated further by the fact that many in such situations suffer some type of mental illness and can engage in unpredictable behaviors. The situation can escalate quickly. Innocent lives may suffer needlessly. Would you believe our lawyers if they told you it’s the police who can make these situations far worse than they actually are?

Man Faces 37 Charges After SWAT Team Standoff

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Christopher John Dougherty stands charged with 37 separate criminal offenses — a smattering of felonies and misdemeanors — for allegedly opening fire on moving cars with an assault rifle in Midvale, Utah. Dougherty reportedly barricaded himself inside his home, initially refusing to come out until the SWAT Team coaxed him away from the property. Within the house, police reportedly found 25 guns, some 100 boxes of ammunition and evidence of marijuana cultivation,

In my experience, the 37 criminal charges won’t hold up under defense scrutiny and will most likely be whittled down to a more realistic number once calmer minds examine the evidence for what it is. A SWAT Team charging into a home to secure it may notice a host of supposed “violations” that in the end prove to be nothing more than overzealous reporting at the time of the arrest. They get creative, and experienced defense lawyers know how to weed out the exaggerations.

SWAT Team Kills 107-year-old Arkansas Man

While the first tale might seem like evidence of tactical response officers doing their jobs well, this next story turns that supposition on its ear. According to CBS News, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas SWAT Team shot a 107-year-old man to death after first gassing him in an attempt to subdue him peacefully. Reports indicate the man, Monroe Isadore, repeatedly fired a handgun at officers attempting to enter his bedroom and indicated he would surrender.

Did anyone think the centenarian had a realistic chance of hitting the broad side of a barn door let alone an agile SWAT Team member? The need for deadly force in this case, while justified under legal guidelines, seems more reactionary than warranted. Why not allow the gas to subdue the man and then place him into custody without a fight? There are multiple options that weren’t explored, or perhaps ignored, and as the result one of that area’s oldest living citizens is no longer with them.

The Ham Sandwich Indictment

As the old saying goes, “a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted.” This is true because the indictment process happens without the defense being present. If the cops arrest a suspect for 40-ish criminal offenses, the state may very well end up with a matching number of indictments. Does it mean anything? No. The defense team hasn’t even gone to work yet.

While Utah rarely uses the grand jury process in the state system, the federal system does employ a grand jury to obtain indictments. When that happens, the charges need to be scrutinized by a capable attorney who can think through the charges and possible defenses critically. You should never plead guilty to charges just because you believe you are guilty. First, you need the experience of an attorney to ensure that the charges indeed match the conduct that you are charged with having committed, and second to explore whether there are possible defenses.

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need the services of an experienced Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer protecting your rights. It’s too late to wonder if you’ve made the right choice once the jury takes their seats. Act now to get the help you deserve. Call our law offices today for an immediate consultation – (801)-895-3143 – 24-hour availability, jailhouse visits included.