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Homicide - Justifiable Or Excusable Homicide

person force deadly death

A homicide may be justifiable or excusable by the surrounding circumstances. In such cases, the homicide will not be considered a criminal act. A justifiable homicide is a homicide that is commanded or authorized by law. For instance, soldiers in a time of war may be commanded to kill enemy soldiers. Generally, such killings are considered justifiable homicide unless other circumstances suggest that they were not necessary or that they were not within the scope of the soldiers' duty. In addition, a public official is justified in carrying out a death sentence because the execution is commanded by state or federal law.

A person is authorized to kill another person in self-defense or in the defense of others, but only if the person reasonably believes that the killing is absolutely necessary in order to prevent serious harm or death to himself or herself or to others. If the threatened harm can be avoided with reasonable safety, some states require the person to retreat before using DEADLY FORCE. Most states do not require retreat if the individual is attacked or threatened in his or her home, place of employment, or place of business. In addition, some states do not require a person to retreat unless that person in some way provoked the threat of harm. Finally, police officers may use deadly force to stop or apprehend a fleeing felon, but only if the suspect is armed or has committed a crime that involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious injury or death. A police officer may not use deadly force to apprehend or stop an individual who has committed, or is committing, a misdemeanor offense. Only certain felonies are considered in determining whether deadly force may be used to apprehend or stop a suspect. For instance, a police officer may not use deadly force to prevent the commission of LARCENY unless other circumstances threaten him or other persons with imminent serious injury or death.

Excusable homicide is sometimes distinguished from justifiable homicide on the basis that it involves some fault on the part of the person who ultimately uses deadly force. For instance, if a person provokes a fight and subsequently withdraws from it but, out of necessity and in self-defense, ultimately kills the other person, the homicide is sometimes classified as excusable, rather than justifiable. Generally, however, the distinction between justifiable homicide and excusable homicide has largely disappeared, and only the term justifiable homicide is widely used.

Homicide - Other Defenses [next]

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about 3 years ago

Paragraph two of this this webpage "Homicide-Justifiable or excusable Homicide" brings up an interesting point about the use of the term "Justifiable Homicide" in the Dillion Taylor shooting in South Salt Lake. Since the D.A. declared the incident as "justifiable", meaning that the Officer was commanded or authorized by law to commit to a homicide. It appears the D.A.'s overzealousness has opened his jurisdiction up to legal liabilities.
In the utube video narrated by the D.A. himself it can be proven by the parking stall lines that the Officer (Bron Cruz) was close enough (about a parking stall) to the suspect to tackle him to the ground. Additionally, the very instructions being retorted by the shooting officer and complied with by the suspect was ultimately what got the young man shot and killed. The Officer seemed to have convinced himself that the suspect had a gun, which by the way--correct me if I'm wrong--would have been a misdemeanor offense; and deadly force was used. Surely the police department should accept some responsibility for the training of their personnel.
If ever there was a classic case for invoking the uncommon term "excusable homicide", this would have been it. Interesting!