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Old 09-17-2010, 12:37   #1
Carrys
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Been On My Mind For Some Time....The Disabled And Self Defense

This is something I've been thinking about, especially now as I get older an in less than perfect health.


I understand each State has their own laws about how things get processed, prosecuted, and even decided on whether or not to file charges at all. I'm not really looking for a State specific explanation, just a general understanding.

But how, in your experience, do most places look at dealing with a disabled victim? I mean, someone who may be disabled in their the amount of strength, coordination, balance, and so forth that they have. Someone who, when faced with any type of physical confrontation that may occur.......understand and believe such action to be truly life threatening, for them. Even if the criminal's idea and intent may be to just rough them up. Someone who knows that, due to their health issues, any violence toward or visited upon them, may indeed be a likely life ending event...... to them.

I can see where such a person's response may be more of a deadly force issue, again.....for them. I can see where such a person would feel it necessary to take faster and deadlier action, as opposed to a healthy person who may have a greater range of options available to them.


If the proper foundation of medical records, doctor's testimony, and a disabilities real effects can be established in court..................would/does it usually make any difference in how or whether the case is adjudicated? Perhaps not the correct term, more does/has it effected the outcome of such cases if brought to trial?

Rules of evidence aside, is a jury usually able to understand how severely one really effected by a disability is forced to react in a deadly force situation, and his reasoning for doing so.......as opposed to how a healthy or normal person should/would react to the same situation? Does a prosecutor or jury really grasp the different standards imposed between healthy and disabled folks?

What has been your experience sir?
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:24   #2
Mas Ayoob
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Carrys, the element you've brought up is called "Disparity of Force." The law has long understood that there can be unarmed assaults in which the likelihood of the victim being killed or crippled with feet or bare hands is so great that the disparity warrants recourse to a deadly weapon by the victim against the ostensibly "unarmed" attacker.

Examples include force of numbers, huge size/strength disparity favoring the attacker, and numerous other situations...including the able-bodied attacking the physically disabled, which is the object of your question.

Each defendant would want to bring in medical testimony (including his own treating physicians as material witnesses, and outside medical experts as expert witnesses) to testify as to why the defendant would likely have been killed or crippled in a hand to hand violent assault if he had not resorted to defensive gunfire.

These might include particular vulnerability (the classic law school example of "the man with the eggshell skull"), limited mobility and range of movement, limited physical strength, limited physical endurance, etc.

It would be worth your while to spend a day in a legal library. Explain what you want to research, and the legal librarian will almost certainly prove very helpful. A couple of things you'll want to look at there will be the Corpus Juris Secundum and Warren on Homicide.

best of luck,
Mas
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