I just took a quick glance at a summary of TRAYLOR v. STATE, decided by the Supreme Court of Georgia on 3/13/2006, and the Court's holdings in that case really disturbs me. It could really lead to the suppression of valuable, even critical, evidence of prior threats against an armed citizen which the armed citizen takes into consideration in a later confrontation with this same person. The Supreme Court upheld the trial judge's ruling that the defendant could not introduce evidence that on a previous occasion, the "victim" had threatened him with a gun. Nor was the defendant allowed to try to bring up evidence that the "victim" was known to carry a handgun. The defendant argued that because the "victim" had threatened to kill him before, and because he knew this person often carried a gun, these circumstances made it more reasonable for him to fear for his life when this "victim" and a few of his buddies approached and confronted the defendant. (The second confrontation ended with the defendant using deadly force against this "victim" and his buddies). Now obviously the defendant could be lying. He might never have been threatened by this person before, and the victim might not have ever threatened anybody with a gun, and maybe the victim didn't even own a gun. If the jury had heard the defendant's evidence on these points and rejected it as self-serving testimony, giving it no weight and assigning no credibility to the defendant as a witness, fine. I think that should be the jury's call to make. But what bothers me is that the court did not even allow the defendant a chance to tell his side of the story to the jury, because apparently "the law" in Georgia is that such prior difficulties between the parties is irrelevant, or the small amount of relevance is outweighed by the large amount of prejudice to the State's case when the victim is accused of having threatened to kill, and assaulted, the person who eventually kills him in a later confrontation. When the State is wanting to introduce "prior difficulties" evidence AGAINST a defendant, to help show that he entered a confrontation with somebody already intending to hurt them and not intending to behave civilly, the courts allow it. No problem there. Why shouldn't the defendant have the same right to offer such evidence in his behalf? Question to everybody on this forum: If you were confronted with somebody who was behaving badly toward you, would you take into consideration this person's reputation in the community as to his temperament? Would you take into consideration his criminal history, or lack of same, if you knew something about his past (or heard it from a credible source?) Would it affect your decision as to whether you needed to draw your weapon to protect yourself if you remembered seeing this guy before in the possession of a deadly weapon? And would it matter to you, in your assessment of the level of the risk you faced or the seriousness of the threat against your safety, whether or not the guy confronting you had publicly announced his desire to see you dead? If these things were reasonable for you to take into consideration when you made the choice to respond to the threat with deadly force, why shouldn't a jury be allowed to hear about it when the State asks them to declare that you DID NOT act reasonably and that you had CRIMINAL INTENT rather than SELF-PRESERVATION on your mind when you acted?