Posted On: April 30, 2009

Federal Tax Evasion Hits an Attorney and Doctor

According to AP reports, a lawyer-turned-tax preparer was jailed after a jury convicted him of helping a radiologist and others hide $24 million in income. A defense lawyer for 59-year-old Bernard J. Bagdis of Norristown says his client was obsessed with the tax code and did not believe he had to file or pay taxes, in part because of business losses. The jury found otherwise, convicting Bagdis, 57-year-old radiologist Bertram Russell of Gladwyne and 63-year-old engineer Richard Frase of Schoharie, N.Y., of dozens of counts. Nine defendants pleased guilty before trial. Prosecutors say Russell filed no taxes despite earning nearly $3 million in income from 1998 to 2006.

They say the 12 defendants together avoided nearly $5 million in taxes.

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Posted On: April 29, 2009

Florida Marshals Recover Firearms

Thomas McCoy, 42, was caught walking outside of a Holiday Inn Express in Tampa by members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force, who then tried to arrest him. McCoy, According to the Marshals Office in Tampa, it was determined that McCoy had turned to shoot at the law enforcement officers and did, when a Deputy Marshal shot back, hitting him in the shoulder and buttocks.

While executing a search warrant investigators and Deputy U.S. Marshals recovered a fully-loaded automatic rifle, numerous rounds of ammunition and other loaded hand guns from the hotel room of the murder suspect they apprehended yesterday after having to shoot him, according to the Marshals Office in Florida's Middle District.

McCoy is listed in critical condition at a local hospital as of this writing.

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Posted On: April 28, 2009

Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 4

Continuing the series on Mr. Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions in Florida:

18 U.S.C. §1014 Loan and credit applications generally; renewals and discounts; crop insurance

Under this federal statute, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt (1) a person knowingly made any material misrepresentations (2) directly to any specific federally insured institutions in the business of extending credit (3) for the purpose of influencing the institution’s actions.29 In United States v. Dominguez, 226 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2000) the defendant faced multiple counts involving participation in a cocaine distribution organization and a mortgage fraud scheme.30 The basis of Dominguez’ assumed fraudulent mortgage scheme was an overestimation of his legitimate income by about $40,000.00 on federal tax returns and mortgage loan applications submitted to federally insured banks.31

Dominguez’ argued on appeal “…the district court erred by denying his motion to sever the drug-related charges and mortgage fraud-related charges…”32 The court found his argument to be without merit because it believed the concealment of his income from the “…the drug activity was the motive for the mortgage fraud.”33 Moreover, the court included the government’s closing argument in a footnote to find the two sets of charges were properly joined.34 The government claimed the defendant was falsifying his income just enough to be believable but not enough to raise any suspicion for a person “...four years out of law school.”35


Any use of the previous article requires written permission from Ralph Behr and from this website and its subsidiaries under State and Federal Law. DO NOT copy and use the text provided above and/or publish as your own. The document may only be used for private study or distributing among peers in paper, not on internet transmission, with no intent to make profit or sell without credit being due to the original author.

Posted On: April 27, 2009

Florida to Federal Crimes: Madoff and Jail for Dummies

Kieran Crowley, New York Post, Jail for Dummies

Bernard Madoff's niece and another relative -- worried they'll wind up behind bars -- have contacted a consultant who teaches white-collar criminals how to survive in federal prison and secure early release, sources said. A jail cell would be a stark change for Shana Madoff, who grew up on a six-acre Woodbury, LI, estate called Hastings Hall owned by her parents, Peter and Marion Madoff. Peter is Bernie's brother.

Shana, 38, who was a compliance officer with the infamous Madoff firm, contacted Larry Levine, a former federal prisoner and founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants, the sources said.

Levine refused to identify his clients, but admitted that "a female relative of Bernie Madoff contacted me" about taking his Fedtime 101 crash course. Shana contacted the company two weeks ago "because she was concerned about her safety" should she ever go to jail, one source said.

Continue reading " Florida to Federal Crimes: Madoff and Jail for Dummies " »

Posted On: April 24, 2009

Pittsburgh Calls for Tougher Gun Laws

In kneejerk fashion, Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania is expected to call on federal and state lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers. Rendell was scheduled to hold a news conference this afternoon with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other municipal officials from around the state.

Rendell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he will ask the Legislature to allow municipalities to enact their own gun laws. In addition, spokesmen for Ravenstahl and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter say they expect Rendell to ask Congress to re-enact a ban on assault weapons.

Authorities say Richard Poplawski was armed with a rifle and other weapons when he allegedly shot three Pittsburgh officers earlier this month.

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Posted On: April 23, 2009

Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 3

Continuing in Attorney Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions series:

18 U.S.C. § 1010 Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration transactions


18 U.S.C. § 1006 Federal credit institution entries, reports and transactions

In United States v. Mclean, 131 Fed.Appx. 34 (4th Cir. 2005), Mclean was convicted under 18 U.S.C. §1010 for making material misrepresentations to “…any person, partnership, association, or corporation…” in order to obtain “…any loan or advance of credit…” with the intention of such loan or advance of credit to be “…offered to or accepted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development…” for mortgage loans insured by the department.17 The defendant was also convicted under 18 U.S.C. §1006 for material misrepresentations made to HUD and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) because he was “…an officer, agent or employee of or connected in any capacity with…” a federal credit institution.18

McLean’s mortgage company was a qualified FHA lender and “…had the authority to approve mortgage loans for federal FHA insurance. 19 “An FHA-insured mortgage loan, in turn, is ‘readily saleable’ on the secondary mortgage market.”20 McLean’s company also obtained the proper authorization to be a Fannie Mae lender giving the company the power to “…originate a mortgage loan with the borrower and then Fannie Mae would immediately buy the mortgage on the secondary market without doing its own underwriting evaluation.”21

McLean’s company formed a subsidiary company for the purpose of building modular homes which was financed by the parent mortgage company. Efforts were made to collect the proper funding for the construction of the modular homes through construction mortgage loan notes allegedly signed by investors and officers of the parent mortgage company.22 “None of the individuals signing these documents ever acquired or possessed any ownership interest in the properties listed on the notes.”23

“Eventually, Fannie Mae detected irregularities in FBMC's underwriting practices and conducted an audit of the loans it had purchased.”24 Upon visual inspection of the properties by Fannie Mae “…revealed that the many of the lots were either vacant or contained a partially completed house.”25 Furthermore, a portion of the lots secured with mortgage loans previously purchased by Fannie Mae were up for sale.26 McLean believed “…Fannie Mae would purchase construction loans, which disburse funds in piecemeal fashion as each new phase of construction begins.”27 “Fannie Mae, however, does not purchase construction loans, which FBMC was not authorized to sell.”28


Any use of the previous article requires permission from the author and from this website and its subsidiaries under State and Federal Law. DO NOT copy and use the text provided above and/or publish as your own. The document may only be used for private study or distributing among peers in paper, not on internet transmission, with no intent to make profit or sell without credit being due to the original author.

Posted On: April 22, 2009

Florida Keys Teenagers Make Sex Video; Arrested

Ten teenagers in the Florida Keys have been charged in making child pornography videos. The tape allegedly had a 16 year old runaway girl engaging in sexual intercourse with a 19 year old man, with witnesses around in the Key Largo apartment. The camera operator and surrounding people would direct movements at times and yell things at them. A 14 year old runaway girl there notified officials of the incident because she believed rape was involved at certain points when the female subject of the video had said "no" during portions of the filming.

All 10 -- the six juveniles and Kenneth Carter, 19; Michael Thelus, 18; Derek Williams, 19, who deputies say was the one having sex on camera; and Ceasar Gjerde, 18 -- face charges of sexual performance by a child, a second-degree felony. Gjerde also was charged with directing and producing the performance. Williams was also charged with promoting a sexual performance by a child. Bail was set at $175,000 per count for the adults involved.

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Posted On: April 21, 2009

Drug Ring from Florida to Kentucky

Roughly six million Americans abuse prescription drugs, which is more than hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, and inhalants combined. A sort of "script" madness has occurred where patients will show up in pharmacies. In mid-March, a Kentucky pharmacy was suddenly flooded with residents trying to fill Florida prescriptions for powerful painkillers like Oxycodone, Roxycodone and Percocet. "We were real surprised when we first started seeing them come in due to the fact they were all stamped with the drug name on them and you could see where the people had put all their information on there ahead of time."

"The officer brought back the people that were involved to the office and within the hour another call from CVS pharmacy that another script was being passed from a doctor in Florida, so another officer went up there and brought those people back to the office ... so we had our office full of Kentucky residents trying to pass Florida scripts."

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Posted On: April 17, 2009

Gang-led Mortgage Fraud Ring Dissolved

Two dozen people were indicted on racketeering and other charges for allegedly conducting a wide-ranging mortgage fraud based in San Diego and led by a street gang member, according an indictment unsealed on Tuesday. The lead defendant, Darnell Bell, a documented member of the Lincoln Park street gang in Los Angeles, received at least $9 million in proceeds from the enterprise, prosecutors said. Bell's status as an active member of the Lincoln Park street gang helped him recruit straw buyers for 220 properties with a total sales price of $100 million, and later maintain discipline among them, according the indictment. "It was relevant not so much to running the (real estate) scheme but to managing (the people)," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Acton Jones said.

Another defendant, Stanley Gentry, let the conspirators use his real estate license in exchange for a $10,000 monthly payment and a percentage of the commission and broker's fees from each purchase, prosecutors said. Defendant Billie Bishop was an escrow officer who helped with the enterprise's fraudulent purchases of more than 100 properties, prosecutors said. The defendants allegedly used straw buyers and inflated appraisals to purchase homes that had sat on the market for extended periods and had been reduced in price. They submitted offers that exceeded the homes' asking prices, and had the overage paid to a shell construction company that they claimed would make upgrades or handicap modifications to the properties, prosecutors said. The defendants instead disbursed the "kickback amount" to members and associates of the enterprise as payments for their participation, the indictment said.

Lenders later foreclosed on the properties, taking "severe financial losses," after the straw buyers failed to make payments, the indictment said.

Continue reading " Gang-led Mortgage Fraud Ring Dissolved " »

Posted On: April 16, 2009

Florida Cocaine Trafficker Breaks Probation

Alexis Arocha of Miami-Dade county has recently been sentenced to 55 months in prison in response to violation of probation in his 3 year probation deal. What a trade, from a 3 year probation in the outside world to a 4 year prison term in the penitentiary. Arocha had been originally sentenced to 2 years of community control as well as 3 years of probation following a cocaine trafficking conviction and marijuana possession. Not more than 3 months into his probation, Arocha broke his terms of probation while he fled the county and was busted on drug charges in Miami-Dade county soon after.

Cocaine possession, cocaine delivery, cocaine trafficking, in fact all criminal cases filed in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and throughout the state of Florida in which the state seeks criminal sanction for possession of controlled substances begins with a study of Florida statute 893. Statute begins by defining the important words and phrases used in this chapter. In a prosecution for possession of cocaine or possession of any other controlled substance begins with an indictment, which is called prosecutor information, under this statute.

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Posted On: April 15, 2009

Federal Court Sentencing in "Advance-Fee" Fraud Scheme

Three defendants were sentenced to prison today after pleading guilty in January 2008 to federal charges of running an “advance-fee” scheme that targeted U.S. victims with promises of millions of dollars, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell of the Eastern District of New York announced. The defendants were sentenced at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nnamdi Chizuba Anisiobi, 31, citizen of Nigeria, was sentenced to 87 months in prison. Anthony Friday Ehis, 34, citizen of France, was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Kesandu Egwuonwu, 35, citizen of Nigeria, was sentenced to 57 months in prison.

All three defendants each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. The defendants allegedly sent thousands of email spam across the internet to potential victims using a variety of identity concealers from phone numbers to addresses to email addresses. One of the defendants would even telephone individuals, using a raspy voice, in order to con them into money by making them believe he had throat cancer and needed money immediately.

Continue reading " Federal Court Sentencing in "Advance-Fee" Fraud Scheme " »

Posted On: April 14, 2009

Florida Police Can Lie To You

As most of the valued blog readers here know, Attorney Behr has written a book regarding common legal questions entited "Can The Police Lie To Me?" Check out this video I have hand-selected off of Youtube, from a prominent lawyer in Virginia, and the posted video is a police officer who endorses the advice of not talking to police in any situation where you are being investigated or an admission of guilt is being pursued. Enjoy and please check back on this blog or visit Attorney Behr's main website for more information on this matter that EVERYONE should know about, whether or not you actually are guilty.

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Posted On: April 13, 2009

Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 2

Continuing the series on Mr. Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions in Florida:


i. Federal
Defendants who find themselves within the prosecutorial jurisdiction of the federal government are not indicted under a particular mortgage fraud statute, but are prosecuted under a number of different statutes. Assistant United States Attorneys (ASA) apply one or more of the statutes to activity considered fraudulent. Usually, the wire fraud and mail fraud statutes are effectuated the most. An ASA may also use a conspiracy theory to prosecute mortgage fraud under either statute. However, specific statutes such as the wire and mail statutes themselves appear to take a backseat to the overall scheme and persons or entities defrauded by defendants.
ASA’s are specifically guided by a policy statement of when to initiate legal action which is conspicuously placed at the beginning of the Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud section of the United States Attorney Manuel. In particular the manual states:

Prosecutions of fraud ordinarily should not be undertaken if the scheme employed consists of some isolated transactions between individuals, involving minor loss to the victims, in which case the parties should be left to settle their differences by civil or criminal litigation in the state courts. Serious consideration, however, should be given to the prosecution of any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct.
Although there is this claimed safety net of policy consideration in place and no specific mortgage fraud statutes in affect, it does not stop the federal government from vigorously prosecuting defendants under the mail, wire or other fraud statutes as exemplified below in various federal cases of what a particular ASA considers to be substantial patterns of behavior.

Continue reading " Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 2 " »

Posted On: April 10, 2009

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Sex-Related Offense

William Joe Mitchell, 48, pled guilty to charges that he knowingly transported a minor in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. In a plea hearing held before Federal Magistrate Judge Terry F. Moorer, Mitchell admitted that he had met the minor, a 15-year old female, in an online chat room, and that on October 1, 2007, he drove her from Bartow, Florida, to Andalusia, Alabama, with the intent to have sex with her. Mitchell also admitted knowing that the girl was underage. Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(a) makes it a crime for any person to knowingly transport an individual who has not attained the age of 18 in interstate commerce with intent that the individual engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

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Posted On: April 9, 2009

Florida Drugs and Federal Prosecution for a ex-NFL Player

A former NFL player, Leonardo Carson, is in hot water in a drug operation that ran over 4 years, authorities say. Carson is accused of conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and marijuana. Federal authorities in Texas today arrested a former NFL player on charges that he dealt the drugs over a four-year period. These federal drug charges are serious and Carson is now scheduled to appear in front of a Texas federal magistrate judge in the face of a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to prison, that is if he is convicted of the most serious of the charges.

According to the indictment, Carson conspired to sell drugs from Jan. 1, 2004, until August 2008. The indictment lists the following quantities: more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 20 of grams of crack and more than 20 kilograms of marijuana. The charges also accuse Carson of aiding and abetting Kareem Abdul Cook in the possession with intent to distribute 468 grams of marijuana and 47 grams of crack cocaine on Aug. 19.

Mobile County sheriff's deputies arrested Carson, his younger brother and Cook on state charges after what authorities described as a monthlong investigation. Deputies arrested several others on Aug. 19, seizing four vehicles, $1,500 in cash, a pistol and bulk quantities of cocaine and marijuana.

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Posted On: April 8, 2009

South Florida Mortgage Fraud Prosecutions: Part 1

Making the first entry today, this series of continual excerpts from a legal paper written by Ralph Behr himself will delve into the court system and its prosecution of mortgage fraud in Florida. Mr. Behr took copious amounts of time and effort to research the topic and provided the following to share online to readers who have the time to read it. Enjoy.


a. Why is Florida the ‘epicenter’ of Prosecutions and Investigations?

Statistically, Florida is number one for reported incidences of mortgage fraud and moreover also accounts for twenty-one percent of the overall nation wide occurrences.1 “Florida also has noticeably higher percentages than the other states in: asset and debt misrepresentation on the loan application; Verification of Employment (VOE) fraud; appraisal misrepresentation; and escrow and closing document misrepresentation.”2 The south Florida areas of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, also known as The Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), rank first in reports of mortgage fraud.3 Consequently, because Florida, in particular the more populated areas of south Florida are responsible for the bulk of reported incidences, Florida has become the epicenter of mortgage fraud investigations and prosecutions.

b. Statistics on Mortgage Failures


Although there is no agreed definition mortgage fraud, it can be defined as a material misrepresentation or omission which is intended to induce a person or entity to extend credit to another person or entity. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines mortgage fraud “…as an intentional misstatement, misrepresentation, or omission by an applicant or other interested parties, relied on by a lender or underwriter to provide funding for, to purchase, or to insure a mortgage loan.”4 According to the FBI there are two different types of mortgage fraud: (1) Fraud for Profit, and (2) Fraud for Housing.5 “Fraud for Profit is sometimes referred to as Industry Insider Fraud and the motive is to revolve equity, falsely inflate the value of the property, or issue loans based on fictitious properties.”6 On the other hand, Fraud for Housing is personified by unlawful activity conducted exclusively by a borrower.7 In regards to Fraud for Profit, the FBI has even constructed a laundry list of indicators of mortgage fraud as well as various categorical patterns that may qualify as Fraud for Profit.8

Even though the FBI may only identify two (2) types of mortgage fraud, it and other regulatory agencies are charged with monitoring and focusing on the multiple indicators and categorical patterns of fraudulent mortgage transactions of Fraud for Profit.9 The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)10 puts forth the majority of their regulatory power on industry insiders who conduct Fraud for Profit operations.11 Specifically, a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network report indicates accountants, mortgage brokers, and lenders are the most likely suspects of mortgage fraud.12 These persons are considered to be “…familiar with the mortgage loan process and therefore know how to exploit vulnerabilities in the system.”13 Common designs of these targeted occupations are considered to have the potential to dramatically increase in numbers as a direct result of the downward trend in the housing market.14

Continue reading " South Florida Mortgage Fraud Prosecutions: Part 1 " »

Posted On: April 7, 2009

Sexting in Florida A Reality in a Court of Law

The recently documented rage of "sexting," a form of sending picture text messages with nude photos, is turning up nasty results. Many minors are engaging in these activities at a fervent pace, making legislators uneasy and drawing lines in the sand for where legal measures must step in. Technically and according to the law, this is child pornography, even if the victim takes the picture consensually of themselves and sends to their boyfriend/girlfriend that is a minor as well. Both are in trouble. A recent case law out of Florida can only make this fact more evident in that no matter who is involved or what was sent to whom, both parties are breaking the law.

The Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act in Florida Statute states the following:

An offender less than 18 years of age who commits a lewd or lascivious exhibition using a computer commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

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Posted On: April 6, 2009

Federal Court Upholds Law on Sex Offender Registration

Recently a federal appeals court has maintained authority on enforcing a current law regarding sex offenders registering with authorities when moving from state to state. U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando, Fla., erred when he ruled the registration provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 was "facially unconstitutional," a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in two opinions. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the Walsh law, were the specific issues in the upheld ruling. John Badalamenti, an assistant federal public defender in Tampa, says Congress overstepped its boundaries because the states enforce registration requirements.

Sex offenders, take notice that whenever you move , in or out of your probation, you MUST always notify the feds AND the state that you are doing so. Don't risk it or just plain ignore the rules by not telling officials.

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Posted On: April 3, 2009

Florida Woman Drives on Wrong Side of Road in DUI

Gail A. Touchton, 54, was connected to two separate incidents that occurred along I-10 on one day recently. The first incident involved a crash near a local supermarket warehouse at around 11 pm on the alleged day. Soon after at around 11:30pm, Touchton was observed by a Department of Environmental Protection officer to be driving on the shoulder of the highway. Touchton ended up rear ending the DEP vehicle, resulting in no injuries except her immediate arrest. She is looking at charges of DUI, DUI property damage, and failure to drive in a single lane.

Drinking alcohol before operating any motor vehicle from a car to an ATV to a jetski to even a bicycle, can lead to your arrest for driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence. Don't tempt fate to see if you can "just get home this one time." Just say no, wait til you sober up, or get a ride home so you can pick up your car the next day. AAA provides Tow & Go services where they will tow your car back home for free and give you a ride.

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Posted On: April 2, 2009

US Supreme Court To Review Miami Case

A Miami court case involving Cuban spies has been under attack by nobel laureates, scholars, and various international organizations on the grounds of it being an unfair trial. The trial was thought to be doomed from the beginning due to its location in Miami, the heart of the anti-Castro movement and the Cuban community who is for the most very against Castro. In retaliation, the Cuban American Bar Association replied, "They obvious did zero actual research to do with anything about the Cuban-American community," he said. "It's unbelievably inflammatory, ignorant and completely baseless." Despite the CABA's remarks, jurors have felt intimidated by the community and feel at risk of personal harm if they bring back any verdict that will not go with the community's desires, even after proper trial showing evidence one way or the other.

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Posted On: April 1, 2009

Palm Beach Police Officer Kills Criminal During Crime

Nicholas Burdett, 25, was shot during the commission of a robbery by Deputy Justin Clayton on South Beach, Miami. Burdett, who is from Massachusetts, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Reports say Burdett had a knife and attempted to forcefully rob the off-duty deputy. The police officer defended himself, just as any other individual should in a armed encounter.

This seems to be a clear case of self-defense for the victim, and being a police officer only bolsters his defense in court because it will be made evident he had proficient knowledge and skill in weapons usage or at the very least in how to engage an armed threat.

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