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What Legal Ramifications???

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Werewolf, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. Werewolf

    Werewolf Senior Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    NOTE:This thread is for discussing the legal ramifications of the scenario presented below. Please do not address whether or not the shot should be taken. If you want to do that start a thread in Strategy & Tactics

    SCENARIO:You are in your local 7-11 near the freezer reaching for a 6 pack of your favorite beer when you hear a scream near the cash register.

    You are packing your favorite carry piece.

    You turn to see what's going on and someone who is obviously high on drugs has grabbed a young woman and is holding her in front of him with a gun to her head while yelling at the cashier to give him all the money in the register. The cashier freaks and just drops to the floor behind the counter.

    At this point the drug crazed robber loses it and starts yelling he's gonna kill the girl if the cashier doesn't turn over the money.

    There is one other customer in the 7-11 near the exit and it looks to you like he's gonna run.

    The robber is getting more and more agitated and in your best judgement he is just moments away from killing the girl.

    You decide to step into her shoes and shoot the robber. He's about 15 feet away. A head shot at that distance will be easy - after all you've practiced on B-27 targets at that range many, many times and rarely miss.

    You draw...
    You aim...
    You shoot...

    AND you miss! You hit the girl in the shoulder and she drops like a rock onto the floor in front of the robber. She suffered a broken collar bone and other minor damage from the shot but will recover fully.

    You then take 2 shots center of mass and kill the robber.

    What happens with the law?

    Is shooting the robber justified? (IMO it is).
    What legal liabilities exist because you shot the girl. Can you be criminally charged for hitting her while stepping into her shoes and defending her life? If so what is the legal reasoning? If not why not.

    If criminal charges result from shooting either the girl, the robber or both are those charges moraly justified?

  2. ceetee

    ceetee Participating Member

    Sep 7, 2003
    Interesting. In Florida, we have a law called the Good Samaritan Act. The gist is that if you see someone in need of emergency medical treatment, and you provide whatever treatment a "reasonable and proper" person would have provided, then you can not be held liable for further injury or death, even if caused by your treatment.

    I'd assume, in a shooting situation like that, you would certainly be questioned, your firearm held, and the PC affidavit brought before a prosecuting attorney or a Grand Jury to see if it merits charges being brought.

    Hopefully, then, the Grand Jury (or prosecutor) would Nolle Pros.
  3. Daemon688

    Daemon688 Active Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    I would if a good samaritan law would protect you. But from what I know, that usually applies to cases where you're trying to give medical attention to them...in this case you shot them.
  4. TheFederalistWeasel

    TheFederalistWeasel member

    Aug 1, 2003
    Here in GA it would really depend on where you were. In Atlanta, Macon etc… good chance you would be charged at a minimum with reckless conduct by some over zealous prosecutor/friend of the anti-gun Mayor.

    Good Samaritan Laws only cover those acting in good faith rendering assistance or treatment.

    GA also has a similar GSL, which applies ONLY when assisting law enforcement. If you assist LE at the direct request of LE say to help subdue a person in a fight and you cause great bodily harm or kill that person, the courts must apply the same standard to you they would apply to the officer in making a determination if it was justified.

    Also A LOT would depend on the LE Agency and the views/opinions of whomever caught the case.

    In my small jurisdiction you would probably walk away a hero but then be sued silly in civil court.
  5. Valkman

    Valkman Mentor

    Jul 31, 2003
    North Las Vegas, NV
    Sounds like what would happen here also, except you'd have at least 2 civil suits against you. Heck maybe 7-11 would sue you also!

    That situation would be a nightmare for years to come.
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Elder

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    You are legally liable for any damage caused by any bullet fired from your gun in your hands. That's the long and the short of it.

    Now, in some states that are more understanding than others, you might escape a criminal prosecution: but in others (e.g. California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, etc.) you'd be toast.

    If the lady was an understanding sort, and was grateful that you'd saved her life, you would probably get away without a lawsuit from her. If she wasn't that type, it's courtward bound! Also, her medical insurance, and/or any other medical insurance used to pay her medical expenses, would probably sue you to recover their costs.
  7. Hkmp5sd

    Hkmp5sd Mentor

    Dec 24, 2002
    Winter Haven, FL
    In Florida....

    Yes, it is.
    You have not committed a crime by shooting the girl. Yes, she could sue you after the fact. The BG is responsible for her injuries. Had you killed the hostage and only wounded the BG, he is charged with her death, not you.
  8. armoredman

    armoredman Elder

    Nov 19, 2003
    proud to be in AZ
    Consult your local attorney.... :uhoh:
  9. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Senior Member

    May 5, 2004
    Why all this crap about "stepping into her shoes"? You didn't step into her shoes. You're a third party by-stander who happens to have a gun. If the laws of your state allow third party intervention with lethal force, then you're only on the hook for civil damages for her medical expenses plus "pain and suffering," loss of wages, etc. If the laws of your state do not allow third-party intervention with lethal force, you have a problem.
  10. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Moral of story: Don't miss. :neener:

    Sorry, someone had to say it
  11. Graystar

    Graystar Participating Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Brooklyn, NY
    Obviously, much depends on the state laws, the DA, and the anti-gun stance of the state.

    I think a lot also depends on how critical the situation was. In this particular scenario, the perp *did* say he was going to kill her if he didn’t get the money. If the cashier isn’t responding, then, from my point of view, the woman is in immanent danger of losing her life, and there’s nothing I could do that would endanger her life further. I’d take the shot.

    I think in most states you’re justified in using force to defend the life of another. As for criminal liability, I think many states have laws that place the liability of all would-be crimes that occur upon the criminal. For example, if a storeowner kills one of two robbers, the surviving robber gets charged with the murder. So it’s possible that the shooting of the girl will be an assault charge against the robber, who’s dead anyways so...

    As for civil liabilities, well, anyone can sue anyone for anything, and you *are* technically responsible for the injury. If someone decides to sue you just hope you get a sympathetic jury.
  12. WilderBill

    WilderBill Active Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Depending on where you are, how your laws there are written and how the prosecuter there feels about it, you could have a problem.
    However, morally you do need to intervene.
    Also, in a 7-11, the whole event will be on video tape and shoudl help explain how you came to be in that situation if you go to court.
    Also, if you do nothing to save the girl, the BG will want to eliminate witnesses after he kills her, so you'll still end up having to shoot him, anyway.
  13. HankB

    HankB Mentor

    Mar 29, 2003
    Central Texas
    In Texas, you'd probably be OK criminally unless it happened in Austin, where the rabidly anti-gun DA might decide to do all he could to make your life miserable.

    Once news of the incident hit the papers and TV stations, if you had any assets at all, legions of shysters would be lining up to take the girl's side in a civil case against you.

    Other shysters would be helping her father, mother, brother, boyfriend, etc. with THEIR separate lawsuits against you.

    Yet more shysters would be helping the clerk sue you for the mental distress your gunshots caused him.

    There's an old maxim - "No good deed goes unpunished."

    (Hmmm . . . here's another thought . . . what if the girl was an accomplice? YOU DON'T KNOW!)
  14. Werewolf

    Werewolf Senior Member

    Sep 12, 2003

    Sounds to me like the consensus is just let the BG rob the store and kill the girl if that's his choice while the actor hides behind a shelf or something maintaining as low a profile as possible - only getting involved if his own life is put in jeopardy.

    Why? Because in our anti-gun, litiginous society that course of action would result in the least amount of future legal problems for the actor in the scenario.

    It seems that not only are justice and the law incompatible but the law and morality too are at odds.

    Where did we go wrong? How did the USA go so far down the wrong road?
  15. Fletchette

    Fletchette Participating Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    By many people worrying too much about lawsuits and not doing what is right.

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