Self Defense ( U.S.A.)

Self-defense (United States)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Criminal defenses
Part of the common law series
Insanity · Immunity · Mental disorder
Diminished responsibility
Intoxication · Infancy
Automatism · Alibi
Consent · Mistake
Duress · Necessity
Provocation
Self defense
False confession · Entrapment
See also
Criminal law and procedure
Other common law areas
Criminal · Contract · Tort
Property wills · Trusts and estates
Evidence
Portals
Law · Criminal justice

In the United States, the defense of self-defense allows a person to use reasonable force in his or her own defense or the defense of others (see thetheoretical background for why this is allowed).

While the definitions vary from state to state, the general rule makes an important distinction between the use of non-deadly and deadly force. A person may use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury, however a person may not use deadly force unless that person is in reasonable fear of serious injury or death. Some states also include a duty to retreat (exceptions include Louisiana and Florida: see castle doctrine), when deadly force may only be used if the person is unable to safely retreat. A person is generally not obligated to retreat if in one’s own home in what has been called the castle exception (from the expression “A man’s home is his castle”).

Runyan v. State (1877) 57 Ind. 80, 20 Am.Rep. 52, is one of the earliest cases to strongly support and establish in U.S. law an individual’s right to initiateself-defense actions up to and including the justifiable use of lethal force against an aggressor.

In Runyan, the court stated “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justiciable.”

A related case is US Supreme Court Case John Bad Elk v. U.S. (1900) 177 U.S. 529, 44 L.Ed. 874, 20 S.Ct. 729, where a man was granted a new trial after being convicted of killing a police officer who was attempting to illegally arrest the man, because, at the initial trial, the jury was not instructed that it could convict on a lesser offense, such as manslaughter. Runyan v. State is further supported by additional cases such as Miller v. State (1881) 74 Ind. 1., Jones v. State (188

Duty to retreat…

Duty to retreat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Criminal defenses
Part of the common law series
Insanity · Immunity · Mental disorder
Diminished responsibility
Intoxication · Infancy
Automatism · Alibi
Consent · Mistake
Duress · Necessity
Provocation
Self defense
False confession · Entrapment
See also
Criminal law and procedure
Other common law areas
Criminal · Contract · Tort
Property wills · Trusts and estates
Evidence
Portals
Law · Criminal justice

In the criminal law, the duty to retreat is a specific component which sometimes appears in the defense of self-defense, and which must be addressed if the defendant is to prove that his or her conduct was justified. In those jurisdictions where the requirement exists, the burden of proof is on the defense to show that the defendant was acting reasonably. This is often taken to mean that the defendant had first avoided conflict and secondly, had taken reasonable steps to retreat and so demonstrated an intention not to fight before eventually using force.

AMERICAN LAW…

American law

Some American jurisdictions require that a person retreat from an attack, and allow the use of deadly force in self defense only when retreat is not possible or when retreat poses a danger to the person under attack. The duty to retreat is not universal, however. For example, police officers are not required to retreat when acting in the line of duty. Similarly, some courts have found no duty to retreat exists when a victim is assaulted in a place where the victim has a right to be, such as within one’s own home.[1]. The Model Penal Code [2] suggests statutory language that also recognizes an exception to the usual duty to retreat when the victim of the attack is in his or her own dwelling or place of work.

Many states employ “stand your ground” laws that do not require an individual to retreat and allow one to match force for force, deadly force for deadly force. The Washington State Supreme Court, for example, has ruled “that there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where he or she has a right to be.”[3][4]

ENGLISH LAW…

English law

In English law the focus of the test is whether the defendant is acting reasonably in the particular situation. There is no specific requirement that a person must retreat in anticipation of an attack. Although some withdrawal would be useful evidence to prove that the defendant did not want to fight, not every defendant is able to escape. In R v Bird (1985) 1 WLR 816 the defendant was physically attacked, and reacted instinctively and immediately without having the opportunity to retreat. Had there been a delay in the response, the reaction might have appeared more revenge than self-defence. It might be different if the defendant sees an enemy approaching and decides to stand his ground. The answer may depend on where the threat is recognised. In a public place, where there are many other people present, a judgment must be made on whether an attack is imminent. As a matter of policy, no-one should be forced out of the streets because of fear, but prudence might dictate a different answer at night when the streets are empty.

CARRYING WEAPONS…

Carrying weapons

As to carrying weapons in anticipation of an attack, Evans v Hughes (1972) 3 A ER 412 held that for a defendant to justify his possession of a metal bar on a public highway, he had to show that there was an imminent particular threat affecting the particular circumstances in which the weapon was carried. Similarly, in Taylor v Mucklow (1973) CLR 750 a building owner was held to be using an unreasonable degree of force in carrying a loaded airgun against a builder who was demolishing a new extension because his bills were unpaid. More dramatically, in AG’s Reference (No 2 of 1983)(1984) 1 AER 988 Lane CJ. held that a defendant who manufactured ten petrol bombs to defend his shop during the Toxteth riots could set up the defence of showing that he possessed an explosive substance “for a lawful purpose” if he could establish that he was acting in self-defence to protect himself or his family or property against an imminent and apprehended attack by means which he believed to be no more than reasonably necessary to meet the attack.

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