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Old 05-03-2005, 08:21   #1
BlackBelt
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You killed a guy in your home

One of my students asked me this question last week, and I told him I didn't know, but would check into it.
Suppose you are awakened and startled in the night by the sound of someone breaking in. You don't have time to find your Glock or any other weapon (for whatever reason... I know, I know...just stay with me for the questions sake). You wind up going hand-to-hand with the guy, and in the process, you kill him. He didn't have a weapon on him. He is smaller than you physically by 85 lbs., and 15 years younger than you.
Let's face it, you could have taken him with one arm behind your back.
Anyway, you wind up killing the guy, because it just escalated to that point, with the adrenaline pumping and his fighting back.
Now you call the police. You put on your jeans before they get there.
The police come in and see you standing there, with all your karate trophies around the room. Your plaques of completion of the "Joe Blow Spec-Ops Killing School" are prominently displayed under the accent lighting you installed to show off your awards. You are standing there bare-chested with all that adrenaline making you looked pumped up like Schwarzenegger, and there is a guy dead on the floor that looks like Barney Fife/PeeWee Herman.
What kind of trouble are you looking at here? You and your attorney know if this goes in front of jury, you'll be crucified. You've got 'killing' skills. This guy that broke in simply went to the wrong house because he had been drinking a little. He probably thought it was his house, and he was trying to sneak in. He was only 17 years old...and had his whole life before him, and then you KILLED him. Couldn't you have, with all your advanced martial arts training, used a less-than-lethal technique?
Any opinions on what type, if any, trouble we are looking at here.
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Old 05-03-2005, 09:36   #2
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You forgot to mention the boy was blind in one eye and only had one arm because he'd lost them both (not to mention his newly wedded teenaged bride) while volunteering with the Red Cross in the War against Saddam. And of late he was a student in seminary school, soon to take his vow of poverty and enter the Order of the Active Brothers. And he'd gotten tipsy on sacramental wine, the only booze he could find when he received word that his sister, a nun in with the Order of the Contemplative Sisters in Calcutta, died while saving all the 173 orphans she was keeping when her orphanage burned down.
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Old 05-03-2005, 10:35   #3
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I had thought about that--what if his family said he was a 'likeable' guy, but he was legally retarded mentally. How's that going to look to the grand jury or the DA?
We spend lot's of time in the dojo learning to defend against, and come out on top of any type of attack.
So what happens after that attack when your training paid off? Now you are being carted off to jail because the investigating officer decides that disporportionate use of force was involved. Of course, he wasn't there, in the dark, wrestling around with the perp of unknown capabilities.
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Old 05-03-2005, 11:58   #4
sensei
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Jury: sensei, "Why did you kill this nice young man?"

sensei: "He ATTACKED me IN MY HOME."

Jury: "Oh! O.K. Case dismissed."

This is Texas.



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Old 05-03-2005, 13:09   #5
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Re: You killed a guy in your home

Quote:
Originally posted by BlackBelt
Let's face it, you could have taken him with one arm behind your back.
A) Then why didn't you?

B) If the fight really escalted to the point where you had to kill him to end the fight, then I'd say you couldn't take him with one arm behind your back.

C)So, some guy,who you don't know forceably enters your home, fights against you "the home owner" and gets killed.....Tough squat!
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Old 05-03-2005, 13:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by sensei
Jury: sensei, "Why did you kill this nice young man?"

sensei: "He ATTACKED me IN MY HOME."

Jury: "Oh! O.K. Case dismissed."

This is Texas.



sensei

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Old 05-03-2005, 16:42   #7
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Another thing...Get a lawyer! Tell your lawyer EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!

Tell the cops NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every cop and every lawyer I've talked to, And I know quite a few of each, have told me this. If you want to get off, follow this advise.
The only thing you say to the police is ..." I want to speak with my lawyer!"
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Old 05-08-2005, 03:01   #8
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On the street, there's a pretty good chance that you would be screwed.

Here in Oregon at least, in your home you'd be find on the criminal side. According to a former DA I know: "A strict interpretation of Oregon law would allow you to shoot someone execution style as long as they were committing a burglary in your dwelling."
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Old 05-08-2005, 04:36   #9
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Re: You killed a guy in your home

Quote:
What kind of trouble are you looking at here?
Manslaughter.
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Old 05-10-2005, 22:19   #10
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There's a joke in Louisiana that if you kill a man all you have to do is drag him into your house. Unless you live in an ultra liberal area of the country or there are political considerations that would warrant your prosecution, you should be fine.
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Old 05-10-2005, 22:37   #11
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Ok guys:
Every state in the union allows you to defend yourself in your home with force necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others in your home. Most states enhance that to allow you to use necessary force to prevent the commission of a felony in your home, or against anyone in your home.
The key is how relative the force was that you used against the other person. In unarmed combat, a 4th Dan expert should be able to regulate his force sufficiently to avoid an excessive force situation. On the other hand in the dark, against an unknown opponent, you have to use enough force to stop the attack or incursion into your home, and that force might be deadly.
The telling statement in the original statement was that the homeowner/expert may have lost it, you do not get to lose it when using force, when that happens and someone gets dead is is usually called manslaughter because the force used goes beyond what is necessary for defense.
The key is using sufficient force to protect the victims, if that proves deadly so be it. If the force is beyond that necessary for protetion of the victims, the it becomes something else.
For anyone, including LEO, maybe especially them, when you make someone dead, you must be able to articulate the threat of death or serious bodily harm to yourself or another. If you can do that you are usually home free. If you cannot do that, you gots a problem.
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:46   #12
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Quote:
For anyone, including LEO, maybe especially them, when you make someone dead, you must be able to articulate the threat of death or serious bodily harm to yourself or another. If you can do that you are usually home free.
You do realise not everyone on the internet is from America, right?
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Old 05-11-2005, 08:07   #13
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Just shoot him. Then you don't have to get all sweaty...
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Old 05-19-2005, 09:31   #14
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Good question

It presents a very real problem for martial artists. Obvioulsly, unlike a bullet with highly predictable affects on a target, a kick or punch that may otherwise be lethal, under perfect circumstances, may be entirely ineffcective if the target moves even slightly or the angle of approach is altered in any way. By the same token, a kick or punch intended to be non-lethal could end up being lethal for the very same reasons (I've heard of little leaguers taking a pitch to the chest that hit just right and killed them). This has been a very real concern for me at my school for years, since we spar full contact every class and the possibity of someone being inadvertantly killed is ever present.

As a martial artist and attorney, I suspect that the ability to articulate the fear of serious bodily harm would be vital to avoiding criminal prosecution in the scenario you desrcibe. Circumstances such as: 1) at night; 2) in your home; 3) with family members present, would likely support your decision to use what was ultimately lethal force. Moreover, if the cause of death was truly unintended (you did not stomp his head after he was down) in conjunction with the above circumstances, then I suspect that most prosecutors would not bring charges against you. Probably nothing would protect you from having to defend a civil suit, but an innnocent verdict would certainly help your defense.
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