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Provide a substantive
analysis of the position Below. Please identify at least 1 strength and 1
weakness in this analysis and argument using at least 2 sources including the
bible. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years.
Acceptable sources include the textbook, law review articles, peer-reviewed
journal articles, and the Bible.
The matter before the court is whether Mr. Katz was entitled to use deadly force in what he believed was the prevention of a robbery or bodily harm to himself. There are times when deadly force becomes necessary. Under Ala. Code 1975 § 13A-3-23 a person may use deadly force in the defense of themselves or another person if the person reasonably believes that another person is:
Using or is about to use unlawful deadly physical force;
Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling;
Commit or about to commit:
Kidnapping in any degree;
Assault in the first or second degree;
Burglary in any degree;
Robbery in any degree;
Forcible rape; OR
The Model Penal Code provides defenses to the charge of murder or attempted murder. Under Model Penal Code § 3.04 (2) (b), a defendant charged with murder (or attempted murder) need only show that he “believe[d] that [the use of deadly force] was necessary to protect himself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or [forcible] sexual intercourse” to prevail on a self-defense claim (emphasis added). If the defendant’s belief was wrong, and was recklessly, or negligently formed, however, he may be convicted of the type of homicide charge requiring only a reckless or negligent, as the case may be, criminal intent. In light of the aforementioned, the following defenses are offered for the defendant under the following circumstances.
In these situations, the defendant does not have a duty to retreat and if deemed necessary by his or her reasonable judgment can use deadly force to prevent the threat he or she sees before them. If is unfortunate that deadly force may result in the loss of life or severe injury, but in such circumstances as mentioned by the code such force is deemed appropriate and the person using the requisite amount of force to prevent imminent danger to himself or others is not guilty of the offense of attempted murder. Mr. Katz does not have the burden of proving that he acted in self-defense. On the contrary, once self-defense becomes an issue, the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. Mr. Katz believed that deadly force was necessary based on his prior experience being robbed. He believed the actions of the young men indicated to him that they would attempt to rob him and if unsuccessful may be a victim of deadly force himself. This belief was not formed recklessly or negligently.
When considering the reasonableness of Mr. Katz’s, it is not whether his belief was true that is at issue, but whether his belief was reasonable under the circumstances before him at the time. A person may use physical force upon another person when and to the extent, he reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by such other person. There must be a triggering condition that allows the person to believe the use of deadly force is necessary. In this instance, Mr. Katz’s prior experience and the actions of the boys asking for money indicated that the felonious acts of the youths were forthcoming. It is not necessary that an actor’s belief as to the intention of another person to inflict serious injury be correct in order for the use of deadly force to be justified. In Shorter v People (2 N.Y. 193), it was decided that deadly force could be justified even if the actor’s beliefs as to the intentions of another turned out to be wrong. Because of this, Mr. Katz was well within his rights to use whatever force he deemed necessary to prevent him from becoming the victim of a felony and should be found not guilty of attempted murder.
A. The pointing of the gun by the gun by the youth indicated to Mr. Katz that the youth intended to inflict bodily harm upon him that may result in his death. Mr. Katz did not intend to kill anyone the day this incident occurred. There was no intent for any harm to come to the youths even though it appeared they intended to do harm. In fact, Mr. Katz attempted to dissuade the youths from their attempted robbery by showing that he was armed. This had worked for Mr. Katz in similar situations before, he had no reason to believe that it would not work this time also. But it did not. When the young man pointed the gun, Mr. Katz had no other choice but to protect himself from the impending robbery.
A person may use deadly physical force and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person pursuant to section (5) if the person reasonably believes that another person is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force. The determination of reasonableness must be based on the “circumstances” facing a defendant or his “situation. Such terms encompass more than the physical movements of the potential assailant. These terms include any relevant knowledge the defendant had about that person. They also necessarily bring in the physical attributes of all persons involved, including the defendant. Furthermore, the defendant’s circumstances encompass any prior experiences he had which could provide a reasonable basis for a belief that another person’s intentions were to injure or rob him or that the use of deadly force was necessary under the circumstances. Prior experiences have a significant impact on the decisions that one tends to make whether in times of tranquility or distress. It is unfortunate that anyone was hurt on that fateful day, but the injuries sustained by the youths involved in this incident are a direct result of the actions they took and attempted to take on the train. Mr. Katz did what any reasonable man in his position would do; defend himself. For this reason, Mr. Katz should not be found guilty of attempted murder.
B. The Bible does support self-defense. While Christ does denounce retaliation and revenge, He does not prohibit acting in self-defense. Therefore, believers are not sinning when they defend themselves or others from harm and suffering. There are a number of other passages of Scripture that encourage escaping from danger or even using force in self-defense, if necessary, and encourage us to defend other people against wrongful attacks. Jesus’s disciples carried swords, even after three years of traveling with Jesus. In the garden of Gethsemane, they had swords. Swords in the first century were used for self-defense. So, there are times in which self-defense to prevent us from suffering significant bodily harm is justified.
Relevant passages about self-defense can be found in Scripture, which includes specific statements and examples of faithful followers of God engaging in the protection of themselves and others. One of the main verses involved in the discussion of self-defense includes Matthew 5:39 when Jesus talks about turning the other cheek. The Lord stated, “’You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also”. Many Christians read this verse and wonder if Jesus means that they should allow themselves to be harmed and not defend themselves. When examining this verse, it is important to understand that Jesus is directly referring to Old Testament passages that deal with the law of retaliation.
Based on these verses, God intended to limit the retaliation involved with wrong acts. Christ affirms this but focuses on people willing to give up their rights and endure slights against themselves. The Bible speaks against vengeful retaliation but does not forbid self-defense. There are many examples of people who defended themselves against attack. For instance, Esther requested that the Jews be able to defend themselves against the murderous attack by the Persians, which was planned by the villain, Haman. Acting in defense of oneself or others includes standing up for those who are defenseless as well as defending oneself against physical, mental, spiritual, and sexual harm. For instance, if a man or woman is being physically attacked or sexually assaulted, these individuals should try to fight back against their attacker. They are not sinning for trying to protect themselves. Christians are not supposed to allow themselves to be “doormats,” who allow anyone to do as they please with them. Instead, they can defend themselves and seek the well-being of the weak and helpless.
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