Peter Blair | January 25, 2018 | Murder
Homicide is nothing to be taken lightly. And, in fact, the law penalizes crimes of homicide more harshly than many crimes that take place in California. Crimes of murder fall under two categories: claims that the defendant did not actually commit the murder, and admission that the defendant did commit the crime, but that they did not commit first-degree murder. If you are somebody who was charged with murder but you believe that you have a valid defense, you may be trying to use something known as “justifiable homicide,” which we will discuss today.
What is Justifiable Homicide?
Justifiable homicide is when there is a killing without criminal intent, which means that there is no blame. Many of these cases take place due to an accidental shooting, or a death that results from necessary actions by police. However, it can also happen when you accidentally kill someone in self-defense. Nobody wants to have to make that decision but, alas, it happens every year.
To succeed in using this defense, you must be able to show the courts that the killing results after using reasonable force to resist death or bodily harm from the ‘victim.’ This means that you could not have instigated the situation. For instance, what if you showed up at someone’s house and had a gun, threatening to kill them? They grabbed a gun and threatened to kill you, so you shot them. This would not be an accurate defense. However, if it was the other way around, and somebody had a gun pointed at you or a loved one, and you shot them, this would be justifiable. The threat perceived in this case is a threat that would have placed fear in anybody.
The same applies if you were able to flee to safety. If somebody threatens to kill you but you are not really in immediate harm, and you are able to get away, you do not have the right to kill them. These cases are quite rare, as many of these cases do not apply to the self-defense doctrines.