Analysis: Self-Defense Claim May be Legally Weak in Michigan Porch Shooting

Theodore Wafer, charged with murder in shooting of Renisha McBride

Earlier this month, a man allegedly shot a woman through the front screen door of his porch when the woman knocked or banged on it after reportedly crashing her car nearby in suburban Detroit, Michigan. The case has since made news headlines.

I’ve been asked repeatedly to comment on the purported self-defense shooting by Theodore Wafer of Renisha McBride in Michigan, and now that the factual situation appears to have stabilized a bit it seems suitable fare for the Thanksgiving weekend.

Most of you will know that I was a vigorous supporter of George Zimmerman’s legal claim of self-defense in his shooting of Trayvon Martin. I also consider myself very much a member of the self-defense community, being an NRA instructor in personal protection (and other stuff) for ~20 years, a long-term competitor in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA# 13; to provide context, membership now exceeds 20,000), and someone who arms himself as a routine matter of personal protection.

That said, the facts as currently available to me, considered in the context of Michigan self-defense law, suggests that Theodore Wafer is going to have considerable difficulty in successfully advancing a claim that the shooting of Renisha McBride was in lawful self-defense.

One caveat: The “facts” on which I rely are derived from the press, so as always should be taken with a grain of salt. I have, where possible, relied upon press sourced in the UK, rather than the widely discredited US press.

For the full analysis, click on over to Legal Insurrection:

Analysis: Self-Defense Claim May be Legally Weak in Michigan Porch Shooting

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, Law of Self Defense Facebook
[If you like what I write, please “follow” me on Twitter, and “like” me on Facebook. My IT person says it matters. 🙂 ]


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country. Seminars for 2014 are currently being scheduled, if you’d like to see one held in your area fill out the comment box on the LOSD Seminar review page, where you can also see reviews of recently completed seminars in New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere.

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

About the Author

Andrew Branca
Andrew F. Branca, Esq. is currently in his third decade of practicing law, and is an internationally-recognized expert on the law of self-defense of the United States. Andrew is a Guest Lecturer at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy, a former Guest Instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, an NRA Life-Benefactor Member, and an NRA Certified Instructor. He also teaches lawyers how to argue self-defense cases as a certified instructor with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) system in numerous states around the country. Andrew is also a host on the Outdoor Channel’s TV show “The Best Defense” and contributor to the National Review Online. Andrew has been quoted as a SME (subject-matter expert) on use-of-force law by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and many other mainstream media, including nationally syndicated broadcast media. Recently, Andrew won the UC Berkeley Law School debate on “Stand-Your-Ground,” and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting Law Symposium on self-defense law. He is also a founding member of USCCA’s Legal Advisory Board. In addition to being a lawyer, Andrew is also a competitive handgun shooter, an IDPA Charter/Life member (IDPA #13), and a Master-class competitor in multiple IDPA divisions.

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