Changing Course, Discussion on Gun Laws | Blog #3

When I started my internship at the Public Defender’s Office, I didn’t think I would ever want to become a lawyer. I took on this internship because of the fact that it dealt with indigents, helping out the people who can easily be taken advantage of, and because it provides a way for me to see and become involved in work done behind the scenes to improve the lives of those who have done wrong. However, after many conversations with my supervisor and my fellow coworkers, I’ve become to think more about my options if I were to apply to law school and become a lawyer. I initially had a concept that lawyers had a very bad reputation for being well paid for doing dirty work, such as getting the wealthy out of prison, or as a public defender, doing the most minimal work to try to get their clients out of legal trouble.

However, after interning these couple of weeks, I’ve realized I am completely wrong. As is the case with Nichollete and other public defenders in the office, not only do they strive to have the court find mercy for their client and provide them with the most appropriate sentencing, they also work very hard to find these people the right help so as to avoid incarceration in the future. As a public defender, their job doesn’t end when their client gets sentenced. It expands much further, they go to long lengths, such as helping a young woman apply for government assistance, or doubling as a counselor/therapist when a client or their family member wants to open up about their concerns at home. At least in Washtenaw County, I know their lawyers are doing a much better job than the average in creating a better environment for their indigent clients.


While in the office, we had a relatively long conversation about gun laws and brought up the Castle doctrine, a statute that permits the use of deadly force in defense of one’s self, but there’s also a duty to retreat if an attack occurs outside the home. We brought this up when talking about a case that was taken care of by the public defender’s office. The man who’s currently now in jail, had many charges from one incident, one of them being trespassing a home and had possession of a gun. We were curious as to how this would apply in a case where a person enters a home and the resident of the home shoots the trespasser, would the trespasser have the right to self defense in that situation? What if they ran away, would the resident still be in the right if they shot the trespasser as they were running away from the property? In the first case, if the trespasser broke into private property and proved to be a threat to the resident, the resident has every right to shoot the trespasser, but not when they’re running away from the property. The resident also isn’t allowed to shoot again if the trespasser proves to not be a threat anymore, for example, lying on the ground after the first shot.

If people own guns to not only harm the other person, but to possibly kill them, I strongly believe a heavier set of regulations have to be put in place in order to avoid needless killings. However, I also do believe that certain situations exist where you don’t have any other option but to kill in order to defend yourself, but this should always be the last resort.


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