This is an extract of our Self Defense Deadly Force, Reasonable Person, Initial Aggressor document, which we sell as part of our Criminal Law Outlines collection written by the top tier of New York University School Of Law students.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Law Outlines. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
Concern about application in practice, especially racial biases of jurors, police, prosecutor
Justified use if reasonably believes that its use is necessary to protect himself against imminent use of unlawful force by another
3.04(1) Justified use if actor believes that its use is immediately necessary to protect himself against use of unlawful force by another
Justified use if actor reasonably believes (Goetz) that its use is necessary to protect himself against imminent and unlawful use of deadly force by the aggressor
Involved deadly force
Court rejects D's subjective "honestly believe standard, and uses objective "reasonably believe"
Because of legislative intent - referring to
NY Penal Law
3.04(2) Justified use if actor believes that its use is necessary to protect himself against death,
serious bodily harm,
kidnapping, or sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat
Why objective common law standard
Want to prevent harm to innocent people from behavior that is based on honest but unreasonable beliefs
What does the "reasonable person in the defendant's situation" incorporate?
YES physical factors/anything observable o
Physical size and appearance (because immutable)
NOT subjective personality factors o
Temperament/emotional/psychological traits (because controllable)
UNCLEAR middle factors depend on how much control and utilitarian concerns (want to deter people prone to violence)
Romero: culture not part of reasonableness inquiry o
Physical traits (concerns the brain) with a mental impulse component?
Ex. PTSD, traumatic brain injury,
YES because this fundamentally changes how the brain is wired and how information and situations are processed
3.09(2) QUALIFICATION (def unavailable)
If the belief of defendant is reckless or negligent and the offense only requires a reckless/negligent MR >
defense is not available
MPC AND COMMON LAW
broader/longer timeframe (ex.
2. Believes: honest belief
Definition of deadly force
NO because still can control and manage, can seek help o
Previously negative experiences?
Ex. Mugging or sexual assault or culture
YES because our brain is finely tuned to what happens to us; changes how the brain is wired and how information and situations are processed
YES/NO depending on how analogous the previous experience was
NO because line drawing problems
- how much detail about the previous experiences to bring in (Race of the people involved?)
Consider whether bringing information will aggravate jury biases o
Ex. Racial/Gender biases (ex. Bring in previous muggings, lead jury to consider racial factors)
BUT can give instruction to jury not to decide based on implicit biases
Is this actually effective?
Force likely or reasonably expected to cause death or great bodily harm
Shooting in direction of another
Definition Threat to inflict great bodily harm of threat of Sometimes list of offenses that allow you to use DF
Deadly force summary
Reasonably believe in necessity to use force
[subjective] force which actor uses with purpose of causing OR which he know to create substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm
Shooting in direction of another is
Threats of death, serious bodily harm kidnapping,
sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat
Honestly believe in necessity to use force
(only defense in purposeful killings)
BUT if reckless/negligent in having the belief, then not a defense to a recklessness/negligence charge
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