Criminal Defendants on Trial – Raising Major Defenses

Defenses to the charges are always an appropriate area to explore and raise early on in the litigation process. Some of them will require special documents to be filed and witnesses to be listed in a timely fashion or they will be deemed waived by the Court. The defenses listed below are general denials and are always open to be argued by the Defense at trial.

“I didn’t do it!”

“The State can’t prove a case against me beyond reasonable doubt!”

“No crime was even committed!”

Specific defenses that will need to be proven affirmatively at trial in order to be complete defenses raise other considerations for the Defense. Examples of these are discussed so that you can better understand the terminology and their significance. An affirmative defense is one that must be disclosed to the prosecution before trial and it requires the Defense to offer proof through testimony or real (physical) evidence at trial.

· Alibi

To many people the word “alibi” implies a trick thrown in just to “beat the rap.” It is often thought of as being any excuse, a connotation that trial attorneys need to dispel. An astute trial attorney will address this during jury selection so that the true meaning of the word alibi is clear in the minds of potential jurors. He/she should emphasize the meaning as defined in Webster’s Dictionary, “in law, the plea or fact that an accused person was elsewhere than at the alleged scene of the offense with which he is charged.” The law recognizes that if a home invasion occurs in Miami but the defendant was in Chicago, that he has a true Alibi defense and clearly is not guilty.

The rules require the defendant to file a Notice of Alibi no later than 10 days prior to trial. That notice must reveal the names of all witnesses that the Defense may call to prove the alibi. If there are any documents that would prove the defendant was in Chicago and not in Miami at the date and time of the alleged crime, copies must be given to the prosecutor. These documents might include hotel receipts, airplane receipts, meeting agendas, etc. Producing these will give the prosecution an opportunity to drop the charges before a costly and time consuming trial.

Like all affirmative defenses, Alibi is a complete defense. The jury will be instructed that, if they find that the defendant was not present when the crime was committed (had an alibi), then it is the jury’s duty to find the defendant not guilty.

· Self-Defense {Justifiable use of Force}

A man walks out of the movie theatre with his date. They almost get to their car when three guys appear. One swings a tire iron at the gentleman who quickly ducks, causing the attacker to lose his balance. As he does, the gentleman grabs the tire iron and hits the attacker on the head knocking him unconscious. The other two would-be attackers run off. The gentleman waits for the police and describes the event. Did he act in a justifiable way to protect himself and his girlfriend? What happens if the unconscious attacker is pronounced “dead on arrival” of the paramedics?

The law recognizes that a person is justified in using force against another when he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to “defend himself or another person against the attacker’s imminent use of unlawful force.” In many states, including Florida, a person is justified in using deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat. He can stand his ground against an attacker. He is justified in using deadly force to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, or to prevent a forcible felony such as robbery or rape.

In addition, force is justified in defense of your home and (to an extent) in defense of other persons. There is (in Florida) no duty to retreat provided you are in a place where you have a right to be. In these cases, the law makes self-defense a complete defense to a crime of wrongful violent attack. Of course, the Defense Attorney must affirmatively prove certain underlying facts at trial to sustain his argument that this case involved self defense.

· Insanity

An issue might arise during a case regarding the defendant’s sanity during the time the crime was committed. This will require affirmative proof much of which will be from mental health professional expert witnesses. There is a two-part test in determining if the defendant was insane. First, can it be proven that the defendant had a mental infirmity, disease or defect? You might expect long testimony by several experts as to conditions such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or other quantifiable disorders and how they might be affected by lengthy alcohol drinking or cocaine, lack of sleep, food and water deprivation, etc. Once these conditions are defined and described, however, there is more that is required in terms of proof.

Second, directly related to this disorder, can it be proven that the defendant did not know what he was doing or that he didn’t realize the consequences? Even if he did know what he was doing and realized the consequences, did he know it was wrong?

The law presumes people to be sane. This means the burden is on the Defense to prove the defendant was “not sane” or “insane.” It is an incredible burden to prove insanity. What the lawyer is telling the jury is that, “Everything the State says happened actually did happen-it is all true. However, you should not find him guilty of it because he was insane when he did it.” The murder or the rape of the child occurred, but you should find him the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.

If the jury’s verdict is not guilty by reason of insanity, the Court will have jurisdiction over the defendant for the entire duration of the permitted sentence had he been found guilty. Instead of sentencing him to state prison, the Judge will place him in a psychiatric lock-down facility. The conditions of such a facility are far worse. The Defense cannot describe this to the jury directly during trial. For this reason jurors think that an insanity verdict means the defendant will simply walk out of the courtroom and onto the streets. As you can tell, the defense of insanity is very difficult to prove successfully. It is generally reserved for only the most difficult cases such as first degree murder or death penalty litigation.

In this article we have discussed the three major affirmative defenses that might be raised by the Defense in an appropriate case. Remember, in order to be able to argue at closing argument that one or more of these defenses apply, the Defense Attorney must be able to point to specific facts supporting these defenses from the record of the case.

Self Defense – 8 Phases of an Effective Self-Defense Strategy and Training Program

By far, the greatest thing missing from most martial arts and safety programs focusing on self-defense is a structured and systemized outline that helps to keep the student on track with what he or she needs. Not to be confused with the step-by-step self-defense moves taught in the preset techniques or kata of different styles, or a curriculum that spells out what skills and techniques the student will be learning at what level, what I’m talking about is a formula or outline of the areas of action that make up a complete system for real-world self protection.

There are 8 phases, or elements, to a complete self defense strategy. Each element is important in making sure that you have as many options as possible for handling as many different threats and dangers as possible. But, each can be seen as a piece of an overall strategy that allows you the freedom, skill, and ability to control and predict the flow of a dangerous situation and, not only be able to handle it effectively if things get physical, but you’ll also be able to:

1) Have many more options for attempting to de-escalate the situation through the use of non-physical self defense

2) Use effective cover, concealment, and escape techniques to avoid being targeted by an attacker, and…

3) Survive the post trauma and possible legal issues that may come up in the aftermath of a self defense situation

As I teach my serious students looking for self defense mastery, regardless of whether they are focused on traditional ninjutsu – the art of Ninja – or on modern, street fighting self-defense, the 8 Phases of an Effective Self-Defense Strategy and Training Program are:

1) General Awareness – awareness of and education about:

a. Danger exist in the world and CAN touch you
b. The types of dangers that you are likely to encounter
c. The environments where you are most at-risk

2) Situational Awareness – paying attention to and observing the elements and changes in:

a. Your surroundings (what weapons, obstacles, and dangers exist or are available to you?)
b. The actions of others (who is acting suspiciously, out of character, or is being overtly threatening?)
c. Your state and well-being (are you alert, healthy, and well or nervous, ill, distracted, or otherwise emotional unbalanced?)

3) Escaping to safety – awareness of and pre-planning to be able to:

a. Physically escape from a dangerous environment
b. Hide or conceal yourself from a potential attacker
c. Use barriers and other shields that will protect you from incoming gunfire, thrown objects or other weapon attacks

4) Psychological Distraction Tactics – confusing or otherwise distracting the attacker’s attention from you as a target. You can do this through the use of:

a. Acting (like faking a heart-attack, etc.)
b. Feigning Ignorance (like pretending that you didn’t hear or understand his threats or orders)
c. Using Humor (tell a joke or otherwise act as if the assailant is only playing around or that you’re too easy of a target for him and not worth his effort)

5) Dissuasion Tactics – confronting the attacker with direct, committed, verbal and body language cues that both give him a last chance to change his mind, AND communicates very clearly that you will not be an easy target and will not allow him to continue with his attack without resistance.

6) Physical self defense – using the properly applied and appropriate skills to avoid, evade, and counter your assailant’s attacks as outlined with the:

a. “5 D’s” of Effective Self Defense Strategy
b. 3 Keys to Effective Self Defense Action
c. 3 Core Strategies for Effective Defensive Action

7) Regaining Composure and Control – effectively handling and neutralizing the effects of post-trauma stress so that you can acknowledge that your attacker gave you no choice but to take the actions that you did in Stage 5. Contrary to popular belief, as it is generally applied in the psychiatric and counseling worlds, this stage is actually practiced and prepared for long before self defense action is ever needed.

8) Defend Against Any Legal Issues – this is the stage that gives a logical, rational, strategic reason to have stages 2, 3, 4, & 5, and to use them if possible before being forced to resort to physical action at stage 6. While self defense is legal, you will have to show that you did everything in your power to avoid physical aggression if you are to really convince many members of the legal system, or even administrators at your place of work, that you are not a martial artist or student of self-defense because you “like” fighting.

I have found over the years that most schools and programs focus primarily on physical techniques. While they are necessary, the true warrior or professional expert understands that strategic thinking and having a goal other than the conventional idea of “winning” as seen in the competitive fighting styles, allows for a sense of control over situations that physical techniques alone cannot provide.

That’s why I teach these 8 Phases of self-defense listed here. Each provides different options, but each level also adds techniques, tactics, and “intensity” to the defensive response not present in the previous levels. Having a complete understanding and control of this structured, 8-stage outline gives you a real sense of “mastery” and the ability to control and stop any assailant who would attack you.

Do you want to learn more about the way I do it? I have just completed my brand new online ecourse to self-defense success, “Foundations of Self-Defense Mastery”

Self Defense Weapon Pros and Cons

Choosing A Self Defense Weapon
If you don’t have military or police background, and aren’t a big fan of that movie where people purposely hurt themselves, you probably have never seen a stun gun, taser, or pepper spray.

While I believe it’s always best for a citizen to learn practical and effective empty-hand self-defense methods first, in some cases you may not have access to an instructor. And in other cases, it may not be practical for you to take a self defense class, due to physical limitations.

If this describes you, then you probably want some sort of self defense weapon that you can use right now to protect yourself. I understand, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you shouldn’t buy something to use for that purpose – because it’s your RIGHT to defend yourself!

But, if you don’t really know what each device does, you may have a hard time deciding which product best fits your needs. So, here’s a brief run down of each product category and what their capabilities are…

Self Defense Weapons And Their Pros And Cons
Defense Sprays – (a.k.a., “Mace”, pepper spray, tear gas)

This is my number one recommendation for a simple self-defense tool that almost anyone can use effectively. If you’ve used an aerosol can, you can use a defense spray.

Defense sprays are chemical sprays that incapacitate an assailant by their irritant or inflammatory effect. The defense sprays that most sites offer mainly rely on an extract of hot pepper plants for their effectiveness. This extract is called Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). OC is an inflammatory agent that has an instantaneous effect when sprayed into the eyes and face of an assailant.

The heat from pepper extracts is measured in Scoville Heat Units. The typical jalapeno pepper rates at about 2,500 Scoville Heat Units, while the some of the sprays on this website rate at up to 2 million Scoville Heat Units. So, to get an idea of the effect of getting sprayed, just think about the last time you rubbed your eyes after handling a jalapeno pepper, and multiply that feeling by about eight hundred times!

Probably the best thing about Pepper Sprays is the fact that you can hit someone with a good spray from several feet away, and although it usually takes 20 to 30 minutes for the effect to wear off, there are no long-term ill effects from being sprayed.

If you do decide to purchase a defense spray, make sure you get a good, quality brand like Mace, and that you replace it every six months to ensure your spray will work when you need it.

Stun Guns –
A stun gun is a device that relies on a pulsed electrical current to incapacitate an assailant. They are highly effective at stopping an assailant in their tracks, and the loud crackling noise that they make when you hit the “on” switch can be very intimidating to a would be attacker.

As effective as they are, stun guns do require you to make actual physical contact with the assailant. The stun gun must be brought into contact with the assailant’s body to exert its effect.

Also, a stun gun (like any weapon) can be turned against you. In addition, thick clothing can sometimes lessen the effect of the stun gun on an assailant.

For these reasons, I recommend you choose a good defense spray over a stun gun as a first line of defense. But, at close range where there is no room to spray the assailant without risking spraying yourself, a stun gun could possibly allow you the chance to escape.

Tasers –
Tasers are basically stun guns that work at a distance. Tasers fire a barbed dart (ouch!) that penetrates the assailant’s skin. The dart is attached to the handheld unit by two wires that deliver the electrical impulse that disables the assailant.

Most have a fifteen-foot range and come in two designs. The first design looks a lot like the “phasers” that you have seen on Star Trek. This design costs less and is probably easier to aim if you have never fired a pistol. If you have ever used a remote control to change the channels on your TV, you can probably aim this type of taser.

The second taser design resembles a pistol, and operates in much the same manner, but is equivalent to the standard taser in all other respects.

There are two main drawbacks with tasers:

1. You have to hit your target.

2. You may only have one shot and one chance to do so.

Also, tasers tend to be expensive. The fact is, pepper sprays are easier to use, so when in doubt, just buy a can of pepper spray.

Other Self Defense Weapons –
Kubotans – A kubotan (also known as a “pocket stick”) is a handheld device that attaches to your keychain. The effectiveness of the kubotan in delivering short, powerful strikes to an assailant’s vital target areas is unquestionable… if you know what you’re doing with it. Get training in empty-handed self defense first if you plan to buy a kubotan for self defense.

Personal Alarms – Personal alarms are devices that emit an extremely loud and high-pitched “whistle” when activated. Some include hidden switches that can ensure only the owner can deactivate the unit.

They are mainly useful for drawing attention to you if you are attacked, because the loud noise they make can bring unwanted attention to an attacker. No criminal wants to get caught, so the last thing they want is attention. At 120 to 150 decibels, personal alarms definitely draw a lot of attention.

Having said that, my take on them is that they are close to useless for self defense. My advice is to just buy a good alarm system for your home, and carry pepper spray with you in an easily deployed place on your body (preferably, on a key ring that you carry with the Mace can in your hand, ready to go).

Knives and Firearms – Are they effective? Of course. But, if you decide to carry a knife or firearm for personal protection I strongly encourage you to research and become familiar with the laws of your state first.

If your research leads you to believe it is a legal option in your area, the next logical step would be to seek expert instruction in their usage before you start to carry one for self-defense.

In future, we’ll be offering advanced courses in knife defense and hand-gunning for home defense at select Self Defense Black Belt Program locations, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter on our site to stay informed on when those courses become available.

Missile Defense in Europe

The U.S. ballistic missile defense (BMD) system is a single, integrated system to protect the United States, its deployed forces, and U.S. allies and friends against growing threats posed by ballistic missiles from rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. It is the policy of the United States to work with its allies to deploy defenses against existing and emerging threats from missiles of all ranges.

This is important because a ballistic missile carrying just one weapon of mass destruction payload could cause catastrophic damage to a country. The missile defense system deployed over the past four years protects the United States against long-range attack. It also integrates mobile sea-based and transportable land-based capabilities to intercept shorter-range missiles. In missile defense, geography matters.

The early warning radars in Alaska, California, and the United Kingdom and the long-range missiles based at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, are not positioned properly to defend Europe against intermediate-range and long-range ballistic missile attacks from Iran. The short-range defenses (including Patriot systems) deployed by a handful of European allies and current U.S. sea-based missile defenses cannot provide adequate defensive coverage and engage with high confidence the much faster missiles coming out of the Middle East. Iran is in an aggressive race to build on its shorter-range missiles to extend its military reach. It is also acquiring missile technologies and even whole missile systems through trade with proliferators such as North Korea. Iran has publicly announced that it is developing a space launch vehicle, which means developing the technologies and knowledge (e.g., rocket staging) for longer-range ballistic missiles.

These developments, combined with the statements by Iran’s leaders (e.g., Ahmadinejad’s stated goal “to wipe Israel off the face of the map” and his admonition that other nations must “bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender”) are reasons for concern about Iran’s military direction. One must ask why a country such as Iran is acquiring ballistic missiles that can reach more than 1,500 kilometers, a strike range that would overfly Israel and the American bases in the region.

One possible answer is that Iran sees value in having the ability to coerce and impose Iranian policy on European leaders by holding them hostage. The power to blackmail and threaten European and U.S. leaders means that Iran might not need to fire a single missile to affect the foreign and defense policies of its enemies.

An operational missile defense system that protects European nations could counter any such move by Tehran. Preparing defenses against an emerging missile threat takes many years, which is why the Bush Administration decided to proceed with deploying 10 long-range interceptors in Poland and building a midcourse discrimination radar in the Czech Republic.

The missiles and the radar would provide redundant protection of the United States and an initial defense of Central and Northern Europe from long-range ballistic missile attack. The radar in Central Europe would supplement sensor coverage from the early warning radar in the United Kingdom, which is already integrated into the U.S. system, and other radars that might be deployed in and around the region on land and at sea. These Central European sites provide geographically ideal locations for protecting both the United States and our European allies. Allies in Southern Europe are not vulnerable to long-range missile attack from Iran, but in a crisis, they would need the shorter-range defenses offered by Patriot PAC-3s, Aegis BMD ships, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries, and other NATO missile defense systems. The United States has concluded negotiations with the Czech Republic and Poland. In April 2008, all 26 NATO nations formally endorsed the missile defense plan, agreeing with the United States that the threat from Iran is serious and that the Bush Administration’s planned defense approach is the right one. The benefits of this deployment are clear.

Long-range defenses in Europe will increase the options available to U.S. leaders to defend against sophisticated threats by providing more decision time and engagement opportunities. This deployment would strengthen transatlantic security by reassuring and defending allies and friends, complementing emerging NATO plans to defeat short-range and medium-range threats, and preventing coercion and preserving U.S. and NATO freedom of action. An effective missile defense system could also dissuade rogue states from pursuing ballistic missiles in the first place and deter ballistic missile launches. Critics of the European deployments worry about the predictable negative reaction from Russia’s leaders and the possibility of damage caused by debris. However, the 10 interceptors in Poland and the midcourse radar in the Czech Republic oriented toward the Middle East are incapable of intercepting the hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and the thousands of warheads in the Russian arsenal.

Russian concern that the United States could turn these defensive interceptors into offensive weapons is likewise groundless. Future U.S. activities at missile defense sites in Europe will be transparent to the Russians and to host nations. Perhaps more important, this concern does not make military sense from the U.S. point of view because the U.S. already has the capability to bring offensive strike submarines or bombers into a regional conflict. The United States has also assured its allies that the launched objects’ momentum will cause debris resulting from intercepts in space to continue along the missiles’ original trajectories and that most of this debris will burn up when it reenters the atmosphere.

Another way to view the debris question is to compare it to Europe’s experiences during World War II, when leaders found that shooting down enemy aircraft, regardless of where they crashed and the level of damage caused by the crashes, made far more sense than allowing them to survive and deliver their bombs.

One fact, however, is beyond dispute: Once a missile has been launched and its payload has acquired the target, our leaders and the leaders of Europe will have only the option of missile defense to secure the safety of the citizens of their countries. Find out more about the growing nuclear proliferation threat facing the world today. Visit 33 Minutes – Missile Defense in a New Missile Age, a new documentary film about missile defense in America. The site includes video commentary, animations of missile defense strategies, and extended missile defense resources and articles.

Youth Football Defense – How to Design an Effective Defense For Youth Football

The makings of a great youth football defense. How does it happen?

When designing a defense in youth football you have to first figure out what plays you are going to defend. I’ve done coaches clinics all over the country and I’ve yet to come across a group yet that didn’t think that the sweep was the play they HAD to stop first in order to be successful in youth football. Most also agreed that the Dive, Reverse,Off-tackle Power and Drop Back Pass were the #2,#3,#4 and #5 threats.Many youth coaches felt the sweep was so important to stop that they often listed the Sweep as #1, #2, and #3 in order of importance. I may have to agree with that to an extent.

The second step in determining your defensive scheme is to make sure you have a mission statement for your team. Your defensive scheme has to align with your mission. Our mission statement is: To develop a love and appreciation of the game in our players so they can benefit from the life lessons the game teaches. We want to play competitive football, where the average individual and the team can have success while playing everyone in all games regardless of circumstances.

Obviously if you are like us and are going to play everyone ( not all the same amount) or have minimum play rules, you have to ask yourself; “Where can my weakest players play where they can have personal success and add team value on each and every snap?”.You have to ask yourself, what schemes and techniques out there not only help us stop the plays we have to defend but also accommodate my goal of playing even weaker players on defense?

The 4-4

When we were designing the defense we use now we started with the base 4-4 that we got from Jay Smith who before coaching with us had coached at Canyon Springs California High School. They won two USA Today National Championships during Jay’s tenure there. While this defense worked very well for our “select” teams, it didn’t work well at all for our non-select teams. We found this defense required 2 pretty good down linemen, 2 rush ends that had to be fairly athletic, 4 reasonably athletic and aggressive linebackers and 3 descent defensive backs . While our “select” teams didn’t always have the perfect mix of players for this defense they were able to make it work well. Our “select” teams were the best players chosen from a group of 100-150 players, those not chosen were put on “B” teams and played other “B” teams of similar size and abilities. As you might imagine those “A” teams were made up of a much different grouping of kids than our “B” squads.

Need for a Change

While this league had no minimum play rules, I mandated an 8 play minimum play rule for all of my teams in the league and a 16 play minimum play rule for my own personal team, to show my other coaches, that 8 plays were easy to get in. With about 25 players per team we had to really hustle to get everyone their plays. We found we did not have the athleticism on these non-select teams to run the 4-4 effectively and get everyone in the game like we wanted to. Our weaker players were just whiffing while playing in all that space and we didn’t have 2 stud defensive linemen to anchor the middle, all the studs were on the “A” team. We were getting beat on sweeps because our 2 best linebackers had to play the middle and with the next 2 best players playing outside linebacker, they couldn’t cut off the sweep from their positions.

Designing Something that Works

We had to design a defense that would allow these less talented kids the chance to play and compete by stopping the plays most of our opponents were trying to establish, the sweep, dive, reverse/counter, off-tackle and drop back pass (lesser extent). We also had to factor in the passing completion percentages for youth football teams in our area. For age 8-10 it was about 20%, for 11-12 it was about 25% and for 13-14 it was about 30%. So we came up with a defense that concentrated on stopping the run with a heavy emphasis on stopping the sweep, stopping the home run play (reverse), clogging the inside and allowing even our weakest kids to get on the field. While our new homegrown defense didn’t look like anything we had seen before, it used some of the concepts of our old 4-4 for stunts and blitzes but incorporated a whole new group of techniques we found average kids could execute.

Colleges Using This Defense

Over time I discovered that this defense (minus a number of youth techniques and adjustments we have in place) was used back in the 60’s when College teams had to worry about defending the run more than they do today with all the spread passing that is so popular, imagine that. The problem is that many youth teams run the popular college defenses like the 4-3, 4-4, 3-5-3 etc which are designed to stop the college offenses of today, not the run based offenses of the 60’s or the youth offenses with their 20% pass completion rates. Our defense most closely resembles a youth version of the Wide Tackle 6 that Jerry Claiborne’s teams used at Virginia Tech and Maryland in the 60’s and ’70’s . When the college game moved to more passing, this defense was abandoned as they did not feel they had the coverages in it to effectively stop the better passing teams. It was very successful back in those days and widely used after Claiborne made it popular at Maryland and Virginia Tech.

Just 18-19 TD’s Given up in Last 8 Seasons Total

This defense has served us well, helping us to a 78-5 record over the last 8 seasons. Our first team defense has had just 18-19 total touchdowns scored against us in that time period. The first team has had just 1 sweep play and 1 reverse play of over 10 yards run against it in that same time period. For those that have the 2006 or 2007 season DVDs, they can attest to that. More importantly this defense has allowed us to play and even start some of our weakest players on defense. Many coaches I know play their best 11 on defense and then put their weaker kids on offense. This not only hamstrings the offense, but deprives the kids of getting the experience of playing both sides of the ball.Think about the plays you need to stop and how you are going to get everyone in the game before you choose a defensive scheme for your youth football team. While many will tell you to “coach what you know”, if you know a defense that is designed to defend High School or College offenses, that defense may not be the best choices to defend what you will see from youth offenses. And remember the College and High School teams aren’t required to play all their kids, it is an entirely different equation than those of us coaching youth football have to deal with.

Dave Cisar-

Dave is a Nike “Coach of the Year” Designate and speaks nationwide at Coaches Clinics. His book “Winning Youth Football a Step by Step Plan” was endorsed by Tom Osborne and Dave Rimington. His personal teams using this system to date have won 94% of their games in 5 Different Leagues.

3 Annoying Myths in Self Defense

There are a lot of self defense myths and falsehoods out there. Unfortunately, every martial artist has heard are fallen victim to one or more of them. I am no different in this case.

Yet there are three big ones that seem to trick people time and time again. So in hopes of exposing these myths, I am showing you these today.

Annoying Myth #1: There is an Ultimate Self Defense Style/ Course

The forums ring with people claiming this self defense course is the ultimate self defense course or this style is the ultimate self defense style. These people are often cleverly coined forum warriors.

These people are often affiliate marketers of a specific course or just wannabe martial artist, many of which have never been in a serious fight in their lives. No wonder so many of their comments leave people confuse.

In truth, when you want to determine a self defense style, a lot of things come into play. What is you size? How strong are you? What is your style of learning? All these things come into play when you are determining the best method for you.

You also have to look at the school. How well do the students.

Remember, when you are looking for a good self defense school, you do not need to find the very best. That is a life long journey. You just need to find a good school that will show you how to effectively get the job done of defending yourself. Thats all.

Once you get that down, then, only if you choose to, you can begin searching for schools that can advance your techniques because you will know what to look for.

So in a nutshell, instead of searching for the ultimate style, just focus on finding a style that you think works well for you, and a school where the teacher is a good communicator who answers your questions and the students are good fighters.

Annoying Myth #2: You Can Become A Deadly Commando In Just a Few Days With this Take-Home Self Defense Course!

You have probably seen ads for these on the internet or in self defense magazines. Some top secret law enforcement or army guy tells you that they have the ultimate top secret self defense technique that will turn you into an army super soldier in days. Yet when you get them, what you learn does not live up to the hype.

Again, we are not attacking take home self defense courses. There are some very goods ones out there that, when used along with live martial arts training can really help you to improve your overall technique.

However, when a scam artist states that their course can deliver impossible results with very little training, you have to wonder. Our opinion is, when you see these offers, dont get over excited. They may have some very valid tips, but nothing that will make you a one man or woman army.

So, again, martial arts training from a school mixed with take home self defense courses can be very good if you get the right one. But take home self defense courses without proper training from a school can often be incomplete and leave you unprepared for a real life-death situation.

Annoying Myth #3: Your Own Two Hands Are Your Best Self Defense Weapon

This myth is absolutely ridiculous, and makes me angry more than anything. This myth states that there is no better self defense weapon than your own two hands and feet. And to me, there is no sillier of a myth than this.

For those of who self defense dreamers with Champaign wishes and caviar dreams, who think that this empty hand combat is the only way to go, allow me to elaborate…

You are walking down the street when an attacker tells you to get in the car. You tell them, I dont think so, and put up your dukes. The attacker then pulls out a gun. Who will be the victor?

I can almost guarantee you it will not be you.

Now, if you have been specially trained in the art of unarmed combat through the military, law enforcement, and martial arts you’re chances are much better than that. However, those people know and understand the importance of using more than just your hands and feet.

Now don’t be mistaken, training in any empty hand combat is an excellent idea. It conditions you, and shows you how to effectively defend yourself. However, empty hand combat should only be used as an absolute last defense.

The truth is the most effective self defense weapon you could use is not your hands or feet, or anything else for that matter. The most effective self defense weapon is your brain. In other words, good old fashioned common since.

Think about it for a second. If you had a choice of a way to stop a criminal dead in their tracks, I am sure you could think of about 3 or 4 that might be more effective then just using your bare hands.

For example, you might think of using a taser gun, to stop them dead in their tracks. Or you may want to use a pepper spray to shoot at them for 6 feet away. You could hit them with a stun gun and run like heck or you could pick up a stone or brick and throw it at them.

You see what we mean?

Too many people think that the world is a kung fu movie, when really its not. The real world thugs will not only hurt you, they will kill you and they don’t care about your empty hand abilities or not. So you need to do as much as you can to legal stack the odds of survival in your favor.

But what happens if someone takes away my self defense weapon?

Well, there is a possibility that this could happen, but again, by educating yourself on self defense products you can greatly reduce the chance of you being harmed if this happens. For example, did you know that most stun guns have a disable pin that, once removed renders the device inoperable? That means they could never use your stun gun against you.

You may also want to think of the fact that having the advantages of having a self defense weapon on you far, far outweighs the disadvantages of not having anything to defend yourself with.

Think of a self defense weapon as the ultimate diversion. It is a doorway out of a difficult situation, so if you find yourself in a situation where someone is taking you self defense weapon away, don’t tussle with them. Throw it at their face. Use it to your leverage and always, always, run as if your life depended on it, because in truth it does.

Women’s Self-Defense Tips and Tactics: What to Hit Him With!

In the realm of women’s self-defense training, there are generally two very different theories. One says that a woman can learn the same techniques, tactics, skills and strategies as a man – that self-defense is no different for men and women. The other “camp” says that the only thing that a woman needs to know is how to deliver a well-placed kick to the groin and she’s home free.

And I say that they’re both full of it! Self-defense for women is unique in that there are many strategies, tactics, skills and self-defense techniques that can be applied equally well by both men and women, there are certain things that women should avoid, and others that only they will need to worry about.

Also, as I have pointed out in many other articles and self-defense courses and programs, kicking a man in the groin, if not done correctly, could leave the female defender lying in a crumpled heap on the floor, wondering why her instructor’s so-called “guaranteed, never-to-fail” women’s self-defense trick failed so miserably.

To clarify and to set you on the right track for success, this article will focus on weapons, both armed and unarmed, that you should add to your women’s self-defense arsenal.

Effective Body Weapons for Striking in Women’s Self Defense:

Hands: There are many ways to shape the hand for striking. Some are better or worse, depending on the target area on your assailant’s body. As a rule of thumb, strike hard parts of the body like the skull with the base area of your palm. It provides you with the same kind of damaging force as a clenched fist, while simultaneously resulting in less chance of breaking your hand or receiving cuts from striking the chisel-like ridges on head and face. Use your clenched fist and fore-knuckles for soft spots in the torso like the sternum. A fist would devastate the throat, but harder to get at compared to sneaking in a strong karate-like chop with the edge of your hand.

Elbows and Knees: Both are much harder than the hands and can inflict serious injury to the head area, torso area and any weak points in the skeleton from the groin up. And since self-defense for women is usually at closer distances than attacks on men, the elbows and knees are in better positions for delivering the kind of knock-down blows you’ll need to get this bigger, heavier attacker off of you!

Feet: Great for striking the groin area and below. Using the foot in a stamping like fashion, crushing the toes or smaller bones in his foot with the bottom of your heel is the goal. Striking higher than the groin, like you see in arts like karate, tae kwon do, and in many movie scenes is a serious no-no. Kicking the upper body or head is only recommended if your attacker is already kneeling, bent over, or on the ground where he can’t take advantage of your raised leg if you miss.

Hand-Held Self-Defense Weapons and Everyday Items for Women’s Self Defense:

Kubotan: A Kubotan is a short piece of metal, often sold in the form of a self-defense keychain. Combining this very effective weapon, with a training class where you will learn simple yet effective techniques and striking methods is highly recommended, as long as it is legal in your State or Province. If not you could use a similar item that looks less threatening and legal to carry.

Keys: A good strong key from your key ring, or the entire set, held in the hand while walking to your car or doorway can be very effective. While many women’s self-defense courses will teach you to place the base of the key in your palm and let the key portion rest between your index and middle finger, this is actually not as strong as simply holding the key the same way that you would to open a lock. Of course you can also hold a fob or other part of your key chain and use the keys in a flailing manner.

Ink Pen: A strong solid ink pen (preferably metal frame) is a great tool for stabbing soft tissue areas. The face would be a good area as well even though it is hard because of facial sensitivity. A pen is one of the best weapons and makes a great substitute for the Kubotan self-defense key chain.

Other Objects: Anything that is solid, with a little weight, and that fits in your hand, or something you can grasp tightly will do in an emergency. Good examples include: rocks, bricks, glass bottle, pool ball, book, knife, hairbrush, or how about your purse! I’ve heard many instructors have their female students go through their purses during a women’s self-defense course, looking for all the weapons inside.

The reality is this… if you don’t already have it in your hand when the attack starts – forget it! But, that being said, I have a wife and sisters. I’ve seen what many women put in their purses.

Hell! if I was carrying something like that…

I’d just use the purse!

Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas, and is by no means all the answers. There are many ways to protect yourself. The important thing to remember is to always be in the proper mindset and to have the survivor’s attitude when it comes to effective women’s self-defense designed to save your life and give you the greatest advantage!

Effective women’s self defense requires more than just a few “karate moves.” It involves the ability to think strategically, and understand how to defend yourself with as little wear-and-tear on you as possible – against an attacker who will be bigger, stronger, and determined to succeed!

Cross Examination of the Defense Medical Doctor: Nine Keys for Success

1. Cross examination: one fact one question.

The only way to keep control of the doctor on cross examination is to ask questions with one fact that calls for a yes or no answer. You are giving a speech in the form of questions. The facts in your questions should stand on their own and not depend on any information the witness has in their head. When deposing the defense doctor, there are plenty of facts to pull from. Here are some sources to pull facts to put in to your leading questions. The defense doctors report, plaintiff’s medical records, the doctor’s deposition in your case, depositions the doctor has given in other cases, journal articles written by the defense doctor.

2. Summarize the important admissions with leading questions.

Many times a defense doctor will admit a few things in deposition that help your client’s case. We should all confirm those facts with leading questions on cross examination. For example in most cases defense doctors will admit that a traumatic event can result in an injury that is appropriate to treat with physician supervised physical therapy or chiropractic care within six weeks of the injury. Confirm the amount of the bills he or she agrees the collision was a substantial factor in causing.

At deposition get the defense doctor to admit that your client experienced pain following the injury and that patients of theirs have complained of pain for varying periods after an event like the one your client went through. Most defense doctors will admit that a certain segment of the population is predisposed to injury and that prior injury can make people more susceptible to greater harm from a later injury. Here are some questions to try at the defense doctor’s deposition. These are not cross examination questions for trial.

Q. Would you agree that some people are more fragile than others?

Q. Would you agree that fragile people are often predisposed to greater injury or pain from an injury-producing event?

Q. Do people experience pain differently?

Q. Some people have a greater threshold for pain than others?

Q. Is there a precise way to measure pain?

Doctors understand that a person’s body can be “healed” but they can still have pain. A defense doctor may be using the work “healed” to mean that, architecturally, the body has reached maximum medical improvement. Some defense doctors will admit that symptoms, such as pain, last long after the body has “healed.” Focus on symptoms rather than injuries or healing.

3. If the defense doctor’s file is incomplete…

Often defense doctor’s files will be incomplete. They may not have all of the prior medical records and most commonly defense doctors will not look at the radiology images themselves. Typically their review will rely on the written report of the radiologist who interpreted the images. This is a good opportunity to point out where the defense doctor got his information. Walk through with the defense doctor how he got the records of plaintiff. Ask, “All the records you got were provided by the defense attorney, correct doctor? Confirm the defense attorney did not provide the images of plaintiff’s spine from her X-ray, MRI or CT scans. Most doctors will admit that it is their general practice to review MRI images themselves before making a decision on whether or not to perform surgery.

Remember this issue applies with equal vigor to the plaintiff’s treating doctors and testifying healthcare providers. Beware, treating doctors who are not made aware of important medical records, or information about prior trauma are just as susceptible to this type of cross examination.

4. Some symptoms improved: You believed my client when she said her headaches went away?

Keep an eye out for symptoms or pain the plaintiff has that get better. For example it is common for injured people to have multiple locations of pain early on, some of which resolve, only to be left with one or two chronic conditions that are significantly affecting their lives. If this is the case, you can employ the following cross examination.

Q. Did Ms. Jones’s say her headaches went away?

A. Yes.

Q. Did Ms. Jones’s say her low back pain went away?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you believe Ms. Jones when she said her headaches went away?

A. I did.

Q. Did you believe Ms. Jones when she said her low back pain went away?

A. I did.

Q. She was honest with you about that.

A. Yes she was.

Q. Did she have any complaints in any other part of her body when you examined her?

A. Well, yes she said her neck was still hurting?

Q. Did you believe her when she said her neck was still hurting?

A. Well No or Yes I did. [Either answer is good here.]

Q. [If they Say no.] You do not state anywhere in your report that you did not believe her, true?

Q. Did you label Ms. Jones as a malinger in your report?

A. No.

5. Show that the defense doctor is more familiar with law firms in town than the names of the people he has testified against in court.

You may be able to make the point on cross-examination that the defense doctor is very familiar with the names of the defense law firms that refer him defense medical exams, but less familiar with all of the individuals he has testified against. At the doctors deposition see how familiar the doctor is with the names of the more prominent firms that send him cases. Ask which firms refer him the most defense medical examinations. If he says he does not remember, provide the names of some firms you know have referred business his way. He will remember some.

Q. Do you know the law firm of Smith, Jones and Johnson?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know the law firm of Levi & Louis?

A. Yes.

Q. These are law firms who have referred you business?

A. Yes.

Q. Doctor do you know Javier Martinez?

A. No.

Q. Do you know Tom Jones?

A. No.

Q. Do you know James Lee?

A. No.

Q. Do you know Sally Smith?

A. No.

[Make sure you get real names from real people, and have the old reports ready to back it up.]

Q. You know the law firms I asked you about, true?

Q. You don’t know the names of any of the people you have testified against in Superior Court?

Q. You don’t remember any of them do you?

Q. You don’t have any responsibility for these people do you?

Q. You don’t care for them as their doctor do you?

Q. You don’t treat them?

Q. You don’t have to worry about them at all

Q. You just have to produce a report that says they are not hurt?

Q. You just have to produce a report for the law firm that hired you?

6. Doctor do you have any private patient’s that you’re responsible for?

Many defense doctors still have a few private patients that they see. Here is a line of questions that exposes that absurdity that everyone gets better at the same rate, all within six weeks time, all with a short course of physical therapy and some home exercises.

Q. Dr. Do you have any private patient’s that you’re responsible for?

A. Yes.

Q. Do some of them get hurt in accidents?

A. Yes.

Q. Do some of them get hurt swinging a golf club?

A. Yes.

Q. Playing tennis?

A. Yes.

Q. Jogging down the street?

A. Yes.

Q. Stepping of a curbing

A. Yes.

Q. Bending over the counter to shave?

A. Yes.

Q. Changing a baby’s diaper?

A. Yes.

Q. Any impacts in any of those incidents?

A. No.

Q. Any property damage?

A. No

Q. Do you ask for pictures of golf clubs, or baseball bats, or tennis racquets?

A. No.

Q. Do you have any pictures inside your private patient’s charts?

A. No.

Q. Have you ever taken care of anyone who was ever hurt in an auto accident?

A. Yes I have.

Q. Have any of them had neck injuries?

A. Yes some of them.

Q. Have any of them had back injuries?

A. Some of them have.

Q. Do you actually treat them for this?

A. Yes I do.

Q. Some of them get well right away.

A. Yes.

Q. Have you ever heard of the word chronic?

A. Yes.

Q. What does that mean?

A. Well it means something that long lasting and long standing.

Q. Over the years have any of your patients had chronic back problems?

A. I am sure there have been a few of them.

Q. Do any of them have chronic neck problems?

A. Occasionally that will happen.

Q. Well if they say they are still hurting do you still take care of them?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you send some of them out for MRI’s, PT, or pain management?

A. Yes.

Q. My client told you the truth. Her headaches got better, her neck got better, and her back is not better?

Q. And she was in an auto accident just like some of your private patients.

A. Yes.

Q. Don’t you think doctor that she could have been hurt to in this accident?

A. [There is not a lot he can say.]

7. Doctor do you have pictures of vehicle damage in any of your private patients charts?

Here is a line of questions to point out the absurdity of basing a medical diagnosis on property damage estimates or photographs of car bumpers. Typically you can get these admissions during the deposition of a doctor. Many medical doctors will admit at deposition that there is little correlation between the extent of injury to the amount of damage to a vehicle.

Q. Dr. Did you get a copy of the repair estimate in this case?

A. No.

Q. Did you put a copy of the repair estimate in the plaintiff’s file?

A. No.

Q. Have you ever asked any of your own patients for a repair estimate from a body shop?

A. No.

Q. Don’t you just ask your patients if they were hurt?

A. Yes.

Q. Don’t you listen to their subjective symptoms?

A. Yes.

Q. Aren’t their subjective complaints the best tool you have to diagnose their problems?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you have any pictures of a fender or a bumper in any of your private patient’s file?

A. No.

Q. Have you ever made a diagnosis of any spinal condition bases on a photograph of a bumper?

A. No.

This is a good rebuttal to the common defense in the low impact case of just use your “common sense”. The trial that starts with a big picture of a bumper and the refrain, “use your common sense.” We need to turn that around and say, “Yes, use your common sense. Members of the jury, when you want to know why your back hurts do you look at your golf club, or your tennis racquet or your bumper? No, you feel the pain and you tell your doctor.”

Jurors don’t try to figure out if their back hurts based on a physics formula, they cannot understand. Pose the thought, “Has anyone in this courtroom ever gone up to the black board to figure out their injuries?”

8. Create leading questions with facts lifted from the medical records.

We should take some pointers from defense lawyers from their cross examinations of plaintiffs. The best cross examinations of an injured plaintiff uses leading questions with facts taken from the subjective complaints lifted from the medical records. A similar strategy can be used when cross examining the defense medical doctor. Here is a line of leading questions using facts lifted from medical records.

Q. You reviewed the medical records of Ms. Smith’s treating doctor, Dr. Jones?

A. Yes.

Q. You are aware on May 1st Ms. Smith reported to Dr. Jones that her right thumb was numb?

A. Yes.

Q. Again on May 15th she reported that her right thumb was numb?

A. Yes.

Q. And that right thumb numbness was documented by Dr. Jones in her chart on that same day May 15th.

A. Yes.

Q. Again on May 22nd Ms. Smith reported to Dr. Jones that her right thumb was numb?

A. Yes.

Q. And again that symptom of right thumb numbness was documented by Dr. Jones on May 22nd.

A. Yes.

Q. These facts are documented in Ms. Smith’s medical records.

A. Yes.

Q. You do not dispute the truth of these facts do you?

A. No.

9. Limit the defense doctor who wants to testify about malingering.

Defense doctors will often testify on matters on which they are simply not qualified to offer testimony. A common one is testimony about malingering or secondary gain. If the physician starts stating that the client is a malingerer, or advancing secondary gain, get them to admit that these are diagnoses under the DSM IV or DSM IV-R. Have a copy of the DSM criteria for malingerer and ask the doctor to tell you what they are. Typically they cannot. Get them to admit that they are not licensed to do psychology, that they are not practicing as psychologists or psychiatrists and they refer their patients to professionals in psychology / psychiatry if they think that they need such treatment. This demonstrates that they are not licensed in that field and, therefore, lack the qualifications to provide testimony on those subjects. Have them admit that they did not preform a psychological examination, psycho-social history and/or did not conduct the battery of psychological tests such as the MMPI or MMCI. This shows that they lack a foundation upon which to provide testimony as to a psychological diagnosis. Remember your deposition is as much about limiting the scope of testimony as it is about knowing what that testimony might be. File a motion in limine to preclude that testimony.

Conclusion:

When preparing for your cross examination of the defense doctor keep in mind that each case is unique. Trying to use cookie cutter cross examination techniques many not serve you well. Practice your cross examination on your colleagues and friends. Have them read the DME report and deposition and see how well your leading questions work. Does each question truly stand on its own and call for a yes or no answer? Does each of your leading questions call for facts and not characterizations or opinions? After your preparation is complete, remember the jurors expect the plaintiff to take some hits from the defense doctor during the direct examination. Your job is to not make it worse on cross. Make some points using the powerful tool of the leading question and sit down. Remember the words of Voltaire: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

Our website is http://www.stoll-law.com. Follow us on Twitter @AlbertStoll. We are a firm of experienced personal injury attorneys taking on challenging cases when others back down since 1994. What separates us from the rest? We are the only California Injury law firm with a former California Highway Patrolman and accident reconstruction expert who now works as a full time lawyer.

Firm founder Albert G. Stoll, Jr. has been named to Northern California Super Lawyers each year since 2006, is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and was awarded the 2009 “Civil Justice Award” by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. In addition to Mr. Stoll’s experience, attorney Walter A. Haynes, IV is a former California Highway Patrolman, accident reconstructionist, and licensed private investigator, who has investigated over 3,000 motor vehicle accidents; attorney Stephen MacLean draws on two decades of experience in the medical industry to give the firm an understanding of important medical issues at play in personal injury, product liability and medical malpractice cases.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Today’s Time

Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not-so-flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend guilty people. However, if you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your guilt or innocence. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has an opportunity to defend themselves.

Defense Lawyers Protect the Rights of the Accused

First and foremost, a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to protect the rights of the accused. Upholding your rights under the Bill of Rights as set forth in the United States Constitution, criminal defense lawyers are bound by law to assist their clients by making sure you are treated fairly by the United States criminal justice system. Specifically, your criminal defense lawyer’s job is to see that you are allowed:

·The right to a trial by a jury of your peers;

·The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”;

· The right to a speedy and public trial;

· The right to remain silent;

·The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures; and

·The right to legal counsel.

All these rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and are applicable to all states through the Fourteenth Amendment as well as United States Supreme Court case opinions. As such, a criminal defense lawyer is obligated to provide clients with protection against the overreach of the government in meting out punishment to any individual accused of a criminal offense. An experienced, qualified lawyer accomplishes this by challenging any government or law enforcement conduct that violates the rights of any United States citizen accused of a crime. Should a criminal defense lawyer fail to make reasonable efforts to protect your rights or provide effective assistance, he/she risks losing his/her license to practice law or other penalties (some of which could include jail time).

Criminal Lawyers Defend the Innocent

The second most important role of a criminal defense attorney is to defend the innocent. We see daily about overturned criminal cases where new evidence verifies the incarceration of an innocent person who has served time as a result of an incorrect guilty verdict. And, while for the most part, most clients of criminal defense attorneys are somewhat criminally culpable in the crime they have been charged with, on rare occasions, some of a lawyer’s clients are truly innocent. Though a rare occurrence, innocent people are accused and convicted of criminal offenses.

To combat the prosecution of the wrongly accused, criminal defense lawyers must be diligent in holding prosecutors and police accountable for every stage of their investigation in every case they handle. Thus, defense lawyers must take seriously their role as advocates for the innocent and the not-so-innocent to assure that the guilty don’t escape while the innocent are punished.

Therefore, to accomplish the task of upholding a client’s constitution rights and acting as a watchdog to oversee the conduct of police and prosecutors, a criminal defense lawyer must zealously pursue independent investigations into the crime for which a client has been accused to assure that at trial, that client is either completely exonerated or that there is enough evidence to prove that reasonable doubt exists to warrant his/her client’s release from custody.

And, while for the majority of instances, a person who has reached the point of a jury trial is guilty, defense attorneys are mandated to provide every client an opportunity to a fair trial. Guilty or not, everyone has the constitutional right to have a fair trial. With a strong belief in the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system, reputable criminal defense attorneys recognize the right of every citizen to have representation and sometimes must put aside their emotions to represent those who have committed very serious crimes.

Criminal Defense Lawyers Defend the Guilty

In general guilty clients that criminal defense attorney’ represent fall into two categories:

·Those who deny criminal culpability; and

·Those who take responsibility for their criminal behavior

Most lawyers agree that the most difficult criminal client to represent is one that takes some responsibility for the crime as it is much easier to establish innocence or reasonable doubt when you don’t think your client is guilty. Facing ethical and moral dilemmas daily, a criminal defense lawyer must deal with situations where they have knowingly facilitated the release of a guilty person, risking their reputation and a clear conscience. On the other hand, defense lawyers get a great deal of satisfaction when their representation of an accused individual has a positive impact on society. For instance, when a criminal defense lawyer helps a client avoid more serious legal consequences by intervening in lives to affect positive change (i.e., plea bargains of rehabilitation instead of jail time, community service and probation instead of jail time etc.). As a trusted advocate, criminal defense lawyers have a great deal of influence on their clients’ lives as opposed to a judge, prosecutor or probation officer.

Lawyers are a Necessary Part of the United States Judicial System

Sometimes portrayed as villains who help criminals run free, criminal defense lawyers are necessary for the United States legal system to run smoothly. Without the availability of qualified legal representation for those accused of crimes, the potential for overreach by government would be great. A balanced system where all parties are represented and where one side isn’t given free rein to rule over the other is what our judicial system is all about. And, while every system has its flaws, the United States judicial system is still the best available in the world.

Phoenix International Raceway

In 1964 the Phoenix International Raceway was literally carved out of the foothills of the Estrella Mountains. The PIR is uniquely shaped in a tri-oval with a curve in the backstretch between turns two and three. In 2005 a tunnel was constructed under turn four to give access to the infield. A fan favorite at the track is the Hillside viewing area on Monument Hill outside turn four. The beautiful setting of the PIR and the western hospitality makes it a favorite track for many drivers as well as fans. In a recent Sports Illustrated poll of drivers, Phoenix International tied second for the best tracks in the U.S.

Each year the Raceway is host to a wide range of events that include NASCAR, USAC Midget, Silver Crown Cars, Modifieds, Indy Car, Indy Pro, CART and Rolex Sports Car, Craftsman Truck, Nextel and Busch. Ticket prices vary according to the event with a single day race ticket starting at $20.00 for many events. Special multi-day packages are available as well as pre-race and pit passes. The Raceway offers both daily and over night parking for RV’s and both require the purchase of race event admission tickets. RV parking starts at $50.00. There is a wide selection of hotels and resorts in the area surrounding PIR that offer specials during race events.

PIR offers fans several ways to get up close to racing action with the Raceway Club and the Trackside Club. The Raceway club offers fans live music, interactive games, prizes, free food and drinks, special parking pass and visits from some of the drivers. The cost is $79 for Busch events and $129 for Cup events. The Trackside Club puts you only 50 feet from the track and all of the action. You watch the cars race by at 130 mph from the comfort of the enclosed , air conditioned area. Amenities include; breakfast, lunch, beverages, pre-race pit pass and VIP parking. A 3-day race package is $649.00. The PIR isn’t the only race excitement in town.

The Bondurant School of High Performance Driving gives everyone the opportunity to feel like a professional with onsite training, instruction and behind the wheel experience. They offer courses in defensive driving, teen driving courses and race training for beginners to pros at their 60 acre racing facility. Choose from Grand Prix Road or Specialty training, Advanced or High Performance, Kart and much more. Rates vary depending on the course and available options.