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    Merritt Landry Allies Developing Narrative of Innocence

    Merritt Landry Allies Developing Narrative of Innocence

    It is perhaps inevitable that comparisons will be drawn between the  recently completed murder/self-defense trial of George Zimmerman in Florida and the just beginning travails of self-defense shooter Merritt Landry in New Orleans.

    Indeed, I’ve already begun to do so myself (see “Zimmerman Redux: The Breaking Louisiana Self-Defense Case of Merritt Landry”).

    Landry Hat

    More interesting than seeing how the two cases compare, however, will be seeing how they contrast.

    How will the two opposing sides in the Landry case draw lessons from  Zimmerman and adopt different tactics and strategies in pursuing their desired ends?

    New Orleans Police Chief “Got the Memo”

    We saw one such “learning” within hours of the New Orleans shooting when Landry was swiftly arrested and charged.

    In the Zimmerman case, you will recall, George was not arrested and charged for some weeks after he shot Trayvon Martin in lawful self-defense. Until that point, local law enforcement and prosecutors had declined to charge Zimmerman with a crime based on the facts in evidence strongly supporting his claim of self-defense.

    There, it was not until the racial agitators came to town and brought political pressure to bear that the evisceration of Zimmerman’s due process rights was begun, starting with the travesty of an affidavit of probable cause. The fallout of this lawlessness was the resignation of the region’s top prosecutor, the firing of the local police chief, and the demotion of the department’s chief investigator to patrolman.

    The police chief of New Orleans clearly got the memo. He wasn’t going to lose his job because he appeared to be “too slow” in bringing “justice” to Merritt Landry. Landry was swiftly overcharged with attempted second degree murder, booked, and released on $10,000 bail.

    Zimmerman Defenders Were Caught Off-Balance, Overwhelmed by Disinformation Campaign

    Fortunately, it is not just the forces of the State and racial agitators who have learned lessons from the Zimmerman case. So have the pro-self-defense forces and friends and allies of Merritt Landry.

    In the Zimmerman case, George’s many friends were caught off-balance by the sudden shift in prosecutorial aggression. Their voices in defense of George were simply overwhelmed by the tsunami of myths, lies, and disinformation provided to the mainstream media by the Martin family lawyers in their ravenous pursuit of “justice” (read “money”), and happily excreted by that media at ever opportunity. Indeed, on several occasions the media itself generated anti-Zimmerman propaganda, such as by creatively editing audio or video evidence.

    Racially Diverse Landry Supporters Swiftly Organize in His Defense

    Landry’s supporters are not about to be caught similarly off-balance.

    From the first moments following the shooting one of Landry’s neighbors (and a good friend) provided the police with security camera footage of 14-year-old trespasser, Marshall Coulter, scaling the iron fence surrounding Landry’s yard–and, as importantly, made sure that the public was aware of the video’s existence by immediately speaking of the video to reporters.

    In another sign of lessons learned by the pro-self-defense crowd, yesterday a group of them met in support of Landry at a meeting organized by the Home Defense Foundation of New Orleans (HDFNOLA). There a racially diverse group of homeowners met to coordinate their support of Merritt Landry and to voice their support to attending reporters.

    As reported by WNGO, the local ABC affiliate, Benjamin John, a black man and local resident told reporters, “If it happened to me, somebody jumped over my fence, I live with an eight foot fence around where I live, I wake up in the morning and somebody’s inside my fence, they would be killed.”

    Benjamin John

    Benjamin John

    Another black attendee, civil rights activist Nadar Enzi, also known as Captain Black, stated “If we can move past the racial narrative and just say New Orleanians are suffering, New Orleanians are dying, and New Orleanians are being victimized by other regrettably other New Orleanians, I think that it would put our community in a much better place.”

    Nadar Enzi, civil rights leader

    Nadar Enzi, civil rights leader

    Also present to coordinate the meeting in support of Landry was Mike Weinberger, a white man and leader with HDFNOLA.

    Mike Weinberger,

    Mike Weinberger,

    Landry Attorney Explicitly Positioning Defense Narrative of Innocence

    Another particularly interesting comment was made by Landry’s attorney, Tanzanika Ruffin.  Those of you who have read “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” will recall how much emphasis I place on the importance of the defense being able to construct a “compelling narrative of innocence,” to counter the efforts of the State prosecutors to build a “compelling narrative of guilt.”  At the end of the day, it is that narrative presented to the jury and made up of the facts in evidence, the law of self defense, and each side’s rhetoric that leads to a verdict.

    Here we can see Attorney Ruffin explicitly recognizing the strategic importance of the narrative.  When asked if she thinks that Landry was justified in using deadly force, she responds, “I think time will tell, and the facts, the narrative will speak for itself.”  By which, I presume, she means she’ll be hard at work at her rhetorical forge hammering together the facts and the law into  a compelling narrative of innocence.

    Landry attorney Tanzanika Ruffin

    Landry attorney Tanzanika Ruffin

    We can only wonder how the public narrative that surrounded George Zimmerman would have differed had there been any similar forces on his behalf to counter the massive disinformation campaign waged against him with the eager collusion of the media.

    In the developing case of Merritt Landry we will have the opportunity to see what happens when the forces of racial agitation and hatred are confronted early on by the forces of truth and lawful self-defense.

    Keep your eyes right here at Legal Insurrection for our fact- and law-based coverage of the Merritt Landry case moving forward.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” now available at as well at, as either a hardcopy or in Kindle version, and at Barnes & Noble as hardcopy or in Nook version.

    You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.


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    Being a blog primarily for the legal profession, it is no surprise that its threads are largely directed to legal tactics and strategies. However, in the Zimmerman case, and in similar cases across the country, the bigger issue is how there is a lessening of professional standards, if not their total absence, among more and more prosecutors. As was painfully shown in the Zimmerman case, charges should never have been proffered in the first place. In the Landry case, where charges might be applicable, Landry has been seriously overcharged.

    A similar problem has occurred in law enforcement circles, beginning, largely, in the 1980s. In that time period, it became acceptable to arrest a person on “probable cause”. This is fine, if the probable cause for the arrest is solidly based upon all the evidence. But, in many cases it was not. It was simply a CYA procedure to avoid being pilloried by the media for not doing something. It became so bad, with regard to the arrest of people who used lawful force in self defense, that it led directly to the changes in the law in Florida, in 2005, which protected those people using force in legitimate self defense from being arrested without having sufficient PC to disprove self defense.

    Now we have these two cases. And they should bring home the problems, for everyone, which exist in the criminal justice system. There was no reason to immediately arrest Landry. He was not likely to skip town during the investigation and a $10,000 bond is hardly likely to insure his remaining there should he decide to leave. There should be no reason for a defendant to launch a media campaign to prove his innocence, that is what a court of law is for. And, the precipitous arrest places a financial burden on the defendant which is both unwarranted and onerous.

    The Sanford PD and the prosecutor for Seminole County, much maligned by the media as being incompetent and even racially biased, should be the poster children for competent law enforcement and criminal prosecution. They did their due diligence and acted in a legal, and more importantly, honorable manner. And, it was proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were correct when they decided that George Zimmerman’s use of force was lawful. If only we had more law enforcement agencies and prosecutors of this metal.

      myiq2xu in reply to Mac45. | August 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

      Politically motivated prosecutions are nothing new.

      Phillep Harding in reply to Mac45. | August 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Nooooo, the problems you think are new, are not new. They are just more likely to be exposed due to the internet.

      Then we have people like “Driveby” who tries to twist the evidence.

      I have not decided if he is just a contrarian jerk, or if he is a disinformation agent.

        DriveBy in reply to Phillep Harding. | August 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

        What evidence of Landry’s innocence do you have that I do not?

        Why was Landry arrested by (highly experienced) detectives the same night of the shooting? Why does Landry’s statement(s) differ from another witness? Why is it that Landry shot Coulter in the back left side of his head, and he shot even though Coulter was not trying to enter Landry’s home?

        On different note, but similar in that there are so many pieces of “evidence” that none of us has: I am curious what type of weapon Landry used. In the dark, at that distance (30 feet), he may have used a rifle. Do you know what type of firearm he used?

          Mac45 in reply to DriveBy. | August 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

          I never said that he was innocent. What I said was that he was overcharged and was arrested long before a complete competent investigation was done.

          These are the reported facts, at the time of the arrest.
          A teenager climbs a locked, 6′ gate in a wall surrounding a private home, in which he did not reside and in which he knew none of the occupants, in the dead of night. He is confronted by the home owner, awakened from sleep by his intrusion, in a dimly lit driveway area. He is shot in the head, with a pistol. The homeowner, states that upon seeing the intruder inside his yard, the intruder turned toward him and reached to his waistband. The homeowner, fearing that the intruder was armed, fired, striking him in the head. The intruder is in a coma and can not speak. There are no witnesses, with the possible exception of the intruder’s companion/friend/accomplice who may have been across the street [highly impeachable witness there]. No weapon was found in the intruders possession. The home owner was a city employee who owned the home and had no prior criminal record. The intruder had a prior criminal record for theft, at 14 yoa. And, no autopsy was available at the time of the arrest.

          So, based upon these facts, what possible reason is there to discount the resident;s story that he did, in fact, fear for his life and that he acted in a reasonable fashion? The account of the unidentified witness [who is likely to turn out to be the criminal’s accomplice]? I know of no factual evidence that disproves the resident’s statements.

          There was no reason for NOPD to summarily discount Landry’s statement. There was no evidence that he was a flight risk. There was no reason why a complete investigation could not have been done and charges filed, either by the District Attorney or the Grand Jury, and an arrest made at that time. Instead, the NOPD charged Landry, within hours, with attempted 2nd degree homicide.

          This was an automatic “arrest the shooter and let a judge sort it out” arrest which has become the norm in most places today. It was this type of arrest that has led to the enactment of “stand your ground” laws and specifically defined laws regarding arrest in cases where self defense is a viable defense.

          Think about it. Should everyone who uses force against another person simply be arrested and forced to post bail and pay for a defense if self defense is a viable factor in the case?

            DriveBy in reply to Mac45. | August 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

            I think that you replied to my post accidentally, because it was a reply to Philipe Harding.

            Anyway, you can get away with some serious stuff in Louisiana, like this guy that killed a college student in his driveway; the kid was going to a Halloween Party and went to the wrong address:


            At the trial, Peairs testified about the moment just prior to the shooting: “It was a person, coming from behind the car, moving real fast. At that point, I pointed the gun and hollered, ‘Freeze!’ The person kept coming toward me, moving very erratically. At that time, I hollered for him to stop. He didn’t; he kept moving forward. I remember him laughing. I was scared to death. This person was not gonna stop, he was gonna do harm to me.” Peairs testified that he shot Yoshi once in the chest when the youth was about five feet away. “I had no choice,” he said. “I want Yoshi’s parents to understand that I’m sorry for everything.”

            Go to the Wiki-link and read what happened and how the police refused to file charges, initially.

            So with that in mind, Landry’s actions and the evidence MUST point to something other than he genuinely feared for his life and the lives of his family in the home, or else NOPD would not have arrested him on the spot! I guarantee than. That is a bad neighborhood with lots of crime, he cops know that and take that in to consideration. But a reasonable family man in a similar circumstance would likely call 911, turn on the outside lights, turn the dog outside to check things out, while he maintained safety for himself and his family – unless a person tried to gain entry to the home. The shot to the back left of the kid’s head stands out to me! And the 30 foot distance between the two people. I wonder how close Coulter was to the gate/street – was he turned trying to escape/run? We shall see.

            sequester in reply to Mac45. | August 9, 2013 at 8:58 am

            Excellent posts Mac. DriveBy seems to be the resident gadfly. He talks of experienced detectives. Yet these “experienced detectives” made an arrest of a man who was not a flight risk based on an incomplete investigation. So incomplete that the DA is awaiting more information from the police before proceeding further.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Mac45. | August 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      Well said, excellent post.

    Carol Herman | August 7, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Zimmerman’s wife still faces charges. Her trial will begin shortly. Isn’t it scheduled for mid-august?

    Seems the government is making a claim that Shellie lied at the bail hearing because she didn’t know how much had already come in from strangers to help out with George’s defense. (The sum may have been higher than $100,000?) But all Shellie said was that Robert (George’s brother) knew.

    On the Merritt case … If I had to guess, YES, he is innocent. But there’s also something else at play. The media lusting for a story that zooms to the top of the headlines the way Zimmerman did.

    The State of Floriduh didn’t make the case “big.” The public’s reaction is what gave this story all the sunlight it received.

    You even know when George Zimmerman was stopped by a cop for speeding in Foley, Texas, that five minute spot also zoomed up to the top in news stories. Drudge ran with it. The Daily Beast ran with it.

    But I haven’t seen the Merritt story gain this sort of traction. Maybe, it will. You have to hope the judge on the case isn’t as stupid as Farley Ridiculous Half Nelson.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Carol Herman. | August 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      BTW John Guy is the one prosecuting, Shellie. You would have thought the judge ( after being requested by the defense ) would require him to step down. He is supposed to be representing the states interests, not pursuing his own agenda.

      As for the cop that stopped Zimmerman, he was investigated. Why? Seems that some lefty heard him snap a picture ( he did–to send to his supervisor ). Nevermind that the picture would have captured the same image the police cam did.

      Now they are going after the judge who let Landry out on bail because he didn’t make him stay the weekend to make sure all the paper work on his bail was correct. This when his wife is about due to give birth.

      Shellie next appears in court on the perjury charge August 21.

      I presume John Guy’s theory of the case will be as emotive and fact-free as usual.


      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Andrew Branca. | August 8, 2013 at 1:28 am

        Does anyone know anything about the judge ( Marlene Alva )?

        Is she likely to be heavily pro prosecution? My understanding of Nelson was that she never grants JMOAs, what about Alva? If Shellie is convicted what kind of sentence is the judge going to hand out? Is jail time, given the at best ambiguous nature of the perjury and the fact that she is I believe a first time offender, even in the picture?

        BTW what is the word on the sanctions hearing? The only thing I heard is that Mark OMara gave a speach where he said he would pursue to the fullest.

    Many people don’ realize the violence that goes on within NO. When Katrina hit, I heard rumor the frustrated police when around whacking bad guy as “looters” because that was the only opportunity they had to clean it up a little. The reason why is NO is corrupt beyond redemption. A study of what is laughably called a justice system will make most of you just shudder and thank God you don’t live there.

    I was told by a former resident that NO is a nation unto itself in a sense, as the laws in LA don’t apply there. They have their own set a rules.

    That said, if the homeowner shot an unarmed thief inside his yard, the question will come down to was the thief trying to get into the house- at which point too bad for the young hoodlum. If not, then the question comes down to can the homeowner articulate fear- given the totality of the environment of NO.

    We saw what happened when a man killed a black kid who was beating him to death. I can’t see this going better unless the race baiters are just worn out from the last one.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to archer52. | August 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      The race industry suffered a humiliating defeat in the Zimmerman case. Yeah, sure, they tried to turn it into a big ‘cibil’ rights brouhaha when GZ was acquitted, but they didn’t get much response. Why not? Because most could see that Trademark was the guilty party, even though they won’t admit it out loud, so they went back to their X-boxes, malt liquor, beating, robbing and raping. Of course there will be diehards who say that GZ was the bad guy blah blah blah but that’s not because they give a flick about Trademark. They are just stone-cold anti-white racists hanging onto a racist theory that gives them an opportunity to bang on about cracker-assed white men.

      If you think back, the last time they got up a good head of steam was the Duke lacrosse case. That didn’t work out for them, either. There had been no crime committed at all against Crystal Mangum (now on trial for murder), and they wee humiliated when it was shown, by a DEMOCRAT AG (Roy Cooper), that the complainant was a drug-addled, nutburger street whore, declared that no crime at all occurred (except Mangum’s filing of a false police report), and that the Duke boys were 100% innocent of anything. That was 6-7 years ago. It took the anti-white race-baiters six years to give it a hard go again in the Zimmerman case. So I think they are indeed humiliated again because it shows. The other difference in this case is that this little thug is on video jumping a fence at 2am to commit a crime and has a criminal history, now publicly known even though he’s a juvenile. His own brother said he was already on the docket yet again for theft/burglary. The personal histories of crime and depravity by the so-called “victims” in both the Duke and GZ cases were sheltered by the media and their activities at the times of the alleged crimes against them were nebulous. Not so in this case. This feral savage was in the commission of a felony when he was shot. Given their defeat in the GZ case, and given that it’s known this “victim” is a thieving thug by his own brother’s voluntary public statement, and given that he’s on video committing a crime against the person who shot him, it seems less likely that we’ll hear from Al and Jesse or that the buses of paid protestors will be arriving anytime soon.

      Besides the travesty of justice against Landry, the only other two problems I see is that the thug survived and the cops and prosecutors, in an outrageous display of cowardice and fear of Al, Jesse and the vicious, race-baiting media parasites, rushed out to ruin this man’s life, threaten his freedom, and deprive him of the ability to make a living and live in peace.

      Landry should get a medal (and some free practice time at a firing range). Instead, in this cowardly society that has somehow reached a point where institutions and white people in general shudder at the thought of the race card, we prosecute white people for defending their home and a vulnerable family. We should all be ashamed. I say let them play the race card, and let it fall on deaf ears. Ignore them and the parasitic media whores who feed off them. That’s the only way to neuter these greedy, manipulative bastards and their mouthpieces.

      mariner in reply to archer52. | August 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      New Orleans:Louisiana::Chicago:Illinois

    The image link below, shows a remarkable resemblance to the dudes picture on the back of A BOOK, recently purchased by a DUDE named Andrew Branca…Umm, by any chance were YOU in Missouri recently? 🙂

      Ah, yes, the middle-aged white guy with a receding hairline. Some people say we all look alike. 🙂

      I’m been in Missouri, but long enough ago that I had a very full head of hair. Was there working as a Safety Officer on one of the early IDPA Nationals. Good times.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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