Justifiable homicide

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justifiable homicide

n. a killing without evil or criminal intent, for which there can be no blame, such as self-defense to protect oneself or to protect another, or the shooting by a law enforcement officer in fulfilling his/her duties. This is not to be confused with a crime of passion or claim of diminished capacity which refer to defenses aimed at reducing the penalty or degree of crime. (See: homicide, self-defense)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE. That which is committed with the intention to kill, or to do a grievous bodily injury, under circumstances which the law holds sufficient to exculpate the person who commits it.
     2. It is justifiable, 1. When a judge or other magistrate acts in obedience to the law. 2. When a ministerial officer acts in obedience to a lawful warrant, issued by a competent tribunal. 3. When a subaltern officer, or soldier, kills in obedience to the lawful commands of his superior. 4. When the party kills in lawful self-defence.
     3.-1. A judge who, in pursuance of his duty, pronounces sentence of death, is not guilty of homicide; for it is evident, that as the law prescribes the punishment of death for certain offences, it must protect those who are entrusted with its execution. A judge, therefore, who pronounces sentence of death, in a legal manner, on a legal indictment, legally brought before him, for a capital offence committed within his jurisdiction, after a lawful trial and conviction, of the defendant, is guilty of no offence.
     4.-2. Magistrates, or other officers entrusted with the preservation of the public peace, are justified in committing homicide, or giving orders which lead to it, if the excesses of a riotous assembly cannot be otherwise be repressed.
     5-2. An officer entrusted with a legal warrant, criminal or civil, and lawfully commanded by a competent tribunal to execute it, will be justified in committing homicide, if, in the course of advancing to discharge his duty, he be brought into such perils that, without doing so, he cannot either save his life, or discharge the duty which he is commanded by the warrant to perform. And when the warrant commands him to put a criminal to death, he is justified in obeying it.
     6.-3. A soldier on duty is justified in committing homicide, in obedience to the command of his officer, unless the command was something plainly unlawful.
     7.-4. A private individual will, in many cases, be justified in committing homicide, while acting in self-defence. See Self-defence. Vide, generally, 1 East, P. C. 219; Hawk. B. 1, c. 28, s. 1, n. 22; Alis. Prin. 126-139; 1 Russ. on Cr. 538; Bac. Ab. Murder, &c., E; 2 Wash. C. C. 515; 4 Mass. 891; 1 Hawk's R. 210; 1 Coxe's R. 424; 5 Yerg. 459; 9 C. & P. 22; S. C. 38 Eng. C. L. R. 20.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
SBC was first mentioned as "suicide by means of victim-precipitated homicide." Wolfgang (5) reported 588 cases of police officer-involved shooting in Philadelphia between January 1948 and December 31, 1952, and, concluded that 150 of these cases (26%) fit criteria for what the author termed "victim-precipitated homicide" because the victims involved were the direct precipitants of the situation leading to their death.
dissertation, "Aspects of Police Use of Deadly Force in North America: The Phenomenon of Victim-Precipitated Homicide," analyzed 843 cases in the United States and Canada in which police discharged their firearms, ostensibly while facing a perceived lethal threat.
In addition, there is victim-precipitated homicide, in which people don't actually try to kill themselves, but instead they put themselves in harm's way or try to provoke a situation in which they will be killed, for example, by police officers or gang members.
Take the key idea of victim-precipitated homicide. There are few legal defences to murder: it may be argued that there was no criminal intent because the defendant was not of sound mind; that the defendant was not there at the material time; that there was a mistake in identification and someone other than the defendant committed the crime; or that the killing was done in lawful self-defence, called justifiable homicide' in America, that is, that the defendant used appropriate force in response to a personal threat or provocation which would have been sufficient to make a `reasonable man' lose his self-control.
My victim-precipitated homicide thesis is not diminished by any contemporary homicide research.