Use of Deadly Force

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Usually the concept of deadly force is brought up in self-defense situations. I.e. a situation where you wound or kill someone by using deadly force. If you are charged with a crime; typically assault, homicide, murder, or manslaughter, you will claim that you acted in lawful self defense. A person has the right to use force or even take a life to defend himself under certain circumstances. If a person acts in lawful self-defense, his actions are excused and he is not guilty of any crime. In other words, Self-defense is an affirmative defense to the crime. Once invoked, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you DID NOT act in self-defense. Homicide is a legally neutral term. It is defined as the killing of a human being by another human being. It may be innocent or criminal. Criminal homicide is a homicide without justifica tion or excuse. Murder is an unlawful killing with malice aforethought. Manslaughter is an unlawful killing without malice aforethought. The following information comes from Michigan Jury Instructions and Michigan case law. What does “DEADLY FORCE” mean in Michigan? Answer : Deadly force is that action known to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury. When are you JUSTIFIED in using “deadly force”? Answer: The standard rule is that: at the time you acted, you must have honestly and reasonably be lieved that you were in danger of being killed, seriously injured or forcibly sexually penetrated. The threat of being killed, seriously injured or forcibly sexually penetrated must be imminent (about to happen immediately) and within the ability of the attacker. The attacker must be actually capable of carrying through with the threat. A future threat does not justify the use of deadly force. (e.g. “I’m going to get my gun and come back and kill you.”) A person is not justified in killing or inflicting great bodily injury upon another in order to protect You should consider all the circumstances surrounding the situation; 1) the condition of the people involved, including their relative strength; 2 ) whether the other person was armed with a dangerous weapon or had some other means of injuring the defendant, 3 ) the nature of the other person’s attack or threat, and 4) Whether you knew about any previous violent acts or threats made by the other person. You may consider specific acts of violence or the person’s general reputation for cruelty or violence in determining whether you fear for your safety in a given situation. himself from what appears to be slight or insignificant injury. What does “honestly and reasonably believed” mean? Answer:

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