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California: Armed Robber’s lawsuit Against Jewelry Store Robbery Victim Thrown Out of Court

Sunday, April 19, 2015

California: Armed Robber’s lawsuit Against Jewelry Store Robbery Victim Thrown Out of Court

In August 2010, four armed robbers entered Arturo Rios’s jewelry store and pawn shop in the Southern California working-class city of Wilmington.  Mr. Rios was in the back of the store when the four hooded and armed robbers with street gang affiliations broke in, pulled hammers and clubs, and rushed Mr. Rios and his assistant.

Mr. Rios, fearing for his and his assistant’s life, drew a pistol and fired at the robbers. Several of the assailants were shot, and they all ran out of the store. One of the robbers collapsed and died in the street in front of the store.

The deceased robber was identified as Brandon Lincoln. Two of Mr. Lincoln’s accomplices – Jeremiah Baskin and Traveon Hill – were caught and subsequently convicted of attempted second degree robbery and second degree commercial burglary.  One was sentenced to 30-years-to-life-in-prison, the other to 16-years-to-life.  The fourth robber was never identified, and still remains at large.

The police found that Mr. Rios’ actions and use of force in defending himself and his assistant were legally justified. But despite the convictions and prison sentences, Mr. Rios was hit with a frivolous wrongful death lawsuit brought by a lawyer on behalf of the deceased Mr. Lincoln’s estate. The lawsuit sought money for the robber getting killed while he committed the robbery! 

California law permits citizens to defend themselves with deadly force from potentially lethal attacks. A firearm can be used when that citizen reasonably fears that they are about to suffer imminent great bodily injury or death. But California also allows anyone to file a lawsuit at any time and for almost any reason.  So Mr. Rios was faced with the long and expensive prospect of defending himself against this nuisance lawsuit. 

Lawyers at Michel & Associates, P.C., who work with the NRA & CRPA Legal Action Project stepped in to offer some help to Mr. Rios. They were able to drive the estate’s attorney off the case, and then obtained a full dismissal of case against Mr. Rios. But it took several years to work the case through the court system.

To contribute and help people like Mr. Rios, click here for the Legal Action Project.


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Please help us fight for your right to choose to own a gun for sport, or to defend yourself and your family. NRAand CRPA and work together in California to fight for you in Sacramento, in cities and counties across the state, in regulatory agencies, and in the courts. Even with the generous rates that our team of civil rights attorneys, legislative advocates, experts and consultants grant us, these ongoing efforts are still expensive. You can support our pro-Second Amendment efforts in California by donating to the CRPA Foundation(CRPAF). CRPAF is a 501(c)(3), so contributions to CRPAF are tax-deductible. Or donate to the NRA Legal Action Project. All donations will be spent to specifically benefit California gun owners

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For a summary current and recent actions NRA and CRPA have taken on behalf of California gun owners, including the groundbreaking Peruta case, click here. To read about some of the past actions NRA and CRPA have taken to fight for your Second Amendment rights in California, click here.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.