self defence civil lawsuite


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claytonfaulkner
April 10, 2008, 04:13 PM
ok i was looking for any cases yall know of where someone used self defence and was either not charged with any crimes or was found innocent, but was stil sued in a civil court. ex... a many shooting someone that broke into his house and was never charged with any crimes because the shooting was in selfdefence but was sued by the family of the victum

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Bartholomew Roberts
April 10, 2008, 04:32 PM
Search the archives here in the Legal forum. I know there are at least two cases where off-duty police officers were sued when someone broke into their home and they used lethal force to stop the intruder.

In one case the homeowner vacuum cleaner by the intruder and the deceased's parents sued in civil court all the way to the Court of Appeals (immediately shot down at summary judgment at both the lower court and court of appeals level).

I have looked at this before and found at least three cases. It seems like it is more common when there are some deep pockets somewhere in the background (in this case the various PDs that employed the men were also named).

Bobarino
April 10, 2008, 05:27 PM
some states like WA, where i live have laws preventing such lawsuits. if the shooting was justified, the deceased criminal's (NOT victim's, the slayer is the victim) family cannot sue the slayer.

if your state does not have such laws, it would be a good idea to contact your legislators and ask them to draft a bill to that effect.

Bobby

p.s.

here's the law for WA

RCW 9A.16.110
Defending against violent crime — Reimbursement.


(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property, or for coming to the aid of another who is in imminent danger of or the victim of assault, robbery, kidnapping, arson, burglary, rape, murder, or any other violent crime as defined in RCW 9.94A.030.

(2) When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense. This reimbursement is not an independent cause of action. To award these reasonable costs the trier of fact must find that the defendant's claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence. If the trier of fact makes a determination of self-defense, the judge shall determine the amount of the award.

(3) Notwithstanding a finding that a defendant's actions were justified by self-defense, if the trier of fact also determines that the defendant was engaged in criminal conduct substantially related to the events giving rise to the charges filed against the defendant the judge may deny or reduce the amount of the award. In determining the amount of the award, the judge shall also consider the seriousness of the initial criminal conduct.

Nothing in this section precludes the legislature from using the sundry claims process to grant an award where none was granted under this section or to grant a higher award than one granted under this section.

(4) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section is decided by a judge, the judge shall consider the same questions as must be answered in the special verdict under subsection (4) [(5)] of this section.

(5) Whenever the issue of self-defense under this section has been submitted to a jury, and the jury has found the defendant not guilty, the court shall instruct the jury to return a special verdict in substantially the following form:

claytonfaulkner
April 10, 2008, 05:54 PM
wow, i really like section 2 of that, maby if i was any better at writing i could write a letter to someone

Flyboy
April 10, 2008, 07:10 PM
Actually, Bobarino, your law applies to the cost of defense against a criminal prosecution ("found not guilty" refers solely to criminal cases; also, it says that the State will reimburse--in civil cases, it would be the plaintiff reimbursing). claytonfaulkner is looking for something like Oklahoma Statutes §21-1289.25
...
F. A person who uses force, as permitted pursuant to the provisions of subsections B and D of this section, is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes charging or prosecuting the defendant.

Subsection B concerns situations in your home ("castle doctrine"/"make my day law"), and D covers anywhere else you have a right to be ("stand your ground law").

All in all, a nice little section of law. But I really like Washington's as well--protects you even from the state. The only downside I can see is that it gives the prosecutor incentive to have you found guilty, and he may take that a little bit too seriously. But I think it's a good law overall.

Bobarino
April 10, 2008, 07:40 PM
(1) No person in the state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever....

civil suit is legal jeopardy.

Bobby

USMC 1975
April 10, 2008, 07:44 PM
I believe many States have this law. I haven;t stayed current on which States have this clause in their law books, but it is sometimes included with their CCW laws.

I would research the State you live in to see if this law maybe on the books there.

Chris

markk
April 10, 2008, 07:52 PM
Florida's recent "Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground" law also forbid civil suits against a self-defender...

DutchmanDick
April 12, 2008, 06:05 PM
Same with Michigan.

F4GIB
April 12, 2008, 06:46 PM
Minnesota has it. Section 611A.08.

johndeeere1979
April 12, 2008, 08:25 PM
West Virginia does not have it but are working hard to get it.

check out this web site if interested www.wvcdl.org great website by a lawyer in Morgantown i belive.

oneshooter
April 12, 2008, 09:16 PM
Texas, God Bless Her, passed that protection in the last session. Took effect Sept.1 2007.:D

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

WayneConrad
April 13, 2008, 12:00 AM
I have read that the legislation giving you protection from civil lawsuits is, in some states, a scarecrow; that, in those states, it takes a grand jury's "no bill" for this protection to kick in. That means that if the district attorney's office never sends your self defense shooting to the grand jury, you are still vulnerable to a civil lawsuit.

Is this true?

markk
April 13, 2008, 12:26 AM
Quoted from http://www.cfif.org/htdocs/freedomline/current/in_our_opinion/florida-self-defense-law.htm

See bolded comments...


The Florida law is a self-defense, self-protection law. It has four key components:


It establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume the threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle and may use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.



In any other place where a person “has a right to be,” that person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked and may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”



In either case, a person using any force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action and cannot be arrested unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.


If a civil action is brought and the court finds the defendant to be immune based on the parameters of the law, the defendant will be awarded all costs of defense.

Sage of Seattle
April 13, 2008, 02:23 AM
Ok i was looking for any cases yall know of where someone used self defence and was either not charged with any crimes or was found innocent, but was stil sued in a civil court. ex... a many shooting someone that broke into his house and was never charged with any crimes because the shooting was in selfdefence but was sued by the family of the victum

The classic case? Bernie Goetz, the so-called "subway vigilante" of New York City fame.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernhard_Goetz

EDITED: Well, after reading it again, it seems that he was convicted of illegally posessing a pistol, but nothing else. He was sued, lost, and was ordered to pay $43 million. He filed bankruptcy and never paid apparently.

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