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KickChick
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 02 Aug 2001
Posts: 3282


PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What most of this boils down to is what is reasonable under the circumstances and what the law deems as reasonable under such circumstances....and as a martial artist you must use violence ethically.
The notion should be dispelled that there is a legal duty to "walk away" from a confrontation although. Years ago, many states required you to retreat before you could legally invoke self-defense. Nowadays, you can "stand your ground" as long as you are legally in a place you have the right to be, and you do not have to retreat when attacked. Because of the current status of the United States legal and civil court systems, you may defend yourself from an attack and still end up in jail or sued, or both. This judicial danger is so prevalent, that it often outweighs the trauma of allowing yourself to be a victim.



In the book "American Law and the Trained Fighter", by Carl Brown a lawyer, he suggests that we should consider the skill level of the martial artist in determining reasonableness and also in determining whether the attack by the martial artist is "aggravated" (i.e., with a weapon). What Mr. Brown means is that since us martial artists all possess mystical and overwhelmingly powerful skills, we should be judged differently and if we use our skills, even in self-defense, we should be deemed to have been armed.

Another informative book is "Martial Arts & the Law" by Dr. Karl J. Duff. This book is a good reference guide for any dojo and offers several illustrated hypothetical situations.



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[ This Message was edited by: KickChick on 2002-07-10 10:13 ]
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ckdstudent
Green Belt
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Joined: 09 May 2002
Posts: 491
Location: Surrey, England
Styles: Choi Kwang Do

PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2002 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think one of the best legal defenses is not to be there when the police turn up.

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Don Gwinn
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Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 231
Location: Virden, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kickchick, that may be true in Connecticut, and it is true in Illinois as well, but there are still many "must retreat" states. There are even states where you must retreat from your own home before you can legally defend yourself. Only if pursued and caught are you legally allowed to fight. I'll try to get the names of the individual states in a moment and come back with them.

CKStudent, Eye of the Tiger succinctly stated the risk in your position. Whoever first reports the incident will be believed until evidence shows otherwise. Additionally, there are bound to be witnesses. Believe me, I've been through this scenario a million times. The gun-owner community is full of people who believet that anti-self-defense prosecutors and police will crucify them if they defend themselves, so they advocate simply running off if there were no witnesses. Some go as far as "Shoot, shovel, and shut up." Then of course, there's the old chestnut about putting a knife in the dead burglar's hand or dragging him inside. Not that you would advocate those things, I just needed a moment to relive the silliness.

The problem with these ideas is that they'll get you caught. Unless you're in the middle of the desert, there are ALWAYS witnesses. In an urban setting there are probably between 3-5 if the street looks completely empty to you. As long as you used force in a justified way, these people are assets. If they percieve it as "mutually agreed combat" and you running off to hide your crime, you're in trouble.
There is almost always physical evidence as well. You may leave blood or saliva on the ground or your assailant; you may lose a button or drop your keys; you will certainly leave hair and dead skin, if they can find them. If you just popped the guy one, that might not be a big deal (unless his dad's a big contributor to the sherriff) but if he died or came close, they'll do the DNA tests. If they find any other excuse to question or arrest you, they've got you.

Now, even after running away, if it's a VERY clear-cut case of justified self-defense, you MIGHT be able to prove that and get off the hook. But once you run and try to hide you will be investigated on the presumption that you did something wrong.

Wait for the police. Say nothing except "He attacked me, I didn't want to hurt him, I was in fear for my life, I want a lawyer."

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Bon
Black Belt
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Joined: 10 Aug 2001
Posts: 1047
Location: Australia
Styles: BJJ, Kickboxing

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2002-07-10 19:03, ckdstudent wrote:
I still think one of the best legal defenses is not to be there when the police turn up.


Damn right! I ain't gonna hang around. Don't worry about the consequences, worry about them later.

Don Gwinn, those of us who crosstrain aren't psycho, just wanna be ready to defend ourselves if it arises.

I saw a fight last night, this guy was stopped at the lights, a guy went up to his car and yelled for him to get out while opening his door, the guy got out and started punching him, the attacker ended up on the ground with the victim on top of him. If he knew how to grapple, he would have had ample time to finish him off before it got broken up. I didn't break it up because I could see the attacker was getting everything he deserved. Security guards broke it up, the victim who was on top of the guy got to drive off.

If that was me, as soon as the guy opened my door, he would have been cracked across the face with one of the sitcks I carry to choke up my wheel incase of a flat tyre.

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Don Gwinn
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Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 231
Location: Virden, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa, whoa, whoa, Bon, I know that! I'm the one who trains TKD, IPSC (firearms) and knives, remember? I'm on your side here. But I'm telling you there are prosecutors and (especially) civil suit litigators out there who will tell juries that the fact that you weren't satifsied with learning one deadly art but had to learn more ways to kill people with your bare hands shows what a bloodthirsty psycho you are and proves that you planned your attack on his poor, innocent client from the moment you saw him.

His client, on the other hand, will be a misguided youth who had turned his life around. He was planning on getting off the crack and intended to leave his gang and marry his girlfriend, which of course can no longer happen because his promising young life was tragically cut short by the psycho vigilante. But at least we can all take comfort in the fact that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his savior before he went--he was, in fact, on his way to church when the psycho (that's you and me, remember) assaulted him for no reason.

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Don Gwinn
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Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: Virden, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2002 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"As an example, when presented with danger from another in a public place, a private citizen is under a duty to retreat unless in doing so he would be placed in greater danger."

From a law enforcement seminar on the "myth" of citizen arrest as opposed to citizen detainment in North Carolina. That's at least one state where if you don't walk away from a public threat, you have agreed to fight and are responsible for your actions as if you had attacked with no provocation. The exception is when you cannot safely retreat. If you're cornered, or you'd have to swim a raging river or something, you can stand and fight with no legal consequences.
http://www.jus.state.nc.us/NCJA/!apr97.htm

Bon, you can worry about the consequences later, but by then it will be too late to take the most sensible tack, which is to tell the police the truth and let the chips fall where they may. By the time they track you down and force you to face the consequences you are, in everyone's mind, the man who hurt someone and ran away. This establishes an idea of guilt before you ever have a chance to tell your side. Bad idea, but it's your life.

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