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Old November 5, 2011, 03:04 AM   #1
youngunz4life
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pulling a gun on the abuser

hopefully I'm not barking up the wrong tree here, but what are the laws about defending yourself against a family member who could be abusing you?

*newslink at bottom*

This could be spouse, parent, or child but the national news about this TX judge who was videotaped by his daughter whipping her with a belt 7 years ago made me ponder this issue. She is 23 now and statute of limitations has resulted in no charges whether they were justified or not justified. Remember, this girl was not considered a child during the beating when she was 16. The feds just said there will be no charges, and all laws in TX for child abuse, etc are 14 and under. Well, I guess she was still a minor.

When I was a kid(really, really small) one guy in my area killed his dad with a hatchet or ax because he was being abused(as well as his sister who was sexually abused I think too). He walked scotfree with pretty much no issue. SADLY, this boy/man killed himself as did his younger sister years later on the anniversary of her brother's death.

I mean if this girl who was beat by her dad said, "yeah I had a camera the last couple days but tonight I have changed strategies" as she pulls out a 357 handgun. legal? moral? right? wrong?

anyways, if he backed off I guess she would have to not shoot, but when people get in a family rage who knows what idiot decision dad would make as she is a trigger pull away from sending him by-by. of course - like most situations - some people would side with the daughter and others with the dad in this case in the news, but that doesn't change the fact of whether this girl could've defended herself with a firearm if she felt repeatedly threatened or in fear of great bodily harm?

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/03/justic...html?hpt=ju_c2
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Old November 5, 2011, 04:09 AM   #2
xMINORxTHREATx
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First off, this girl is (from my understanding) not exactly "abused." But I get your drift. (She reportedly posted the video on youtube as revenge for her Dad cutting her off financially. She is ?23? and her Dad said this is the last Mercedes you are getting.)


I would assume that if you could claim you felt your life was threatened, then you could get away with it. In today's day and age, I think the kid with the hatchet would have been charged. There are too many ways to report abuse now, and they teach kids in school (at least in my school district) how to report abuse. There is the obvious, calling 911, talking to a teacher, telling your School Resource Officer, etc etc. So if it got to the point where you had to pull a gun on your parental unit, then you might have a hard time saying it was the only way to deal with it.
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Old November 5, 2011, 04:38 AM   #3
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the boy got off but he still scared people at the time due to the horrendous crime. it was a story for yrs growing up, and stories of the girl growing up became sad too especially after what happened to her(basically the sexual abuse affected her deeply and people probably weren't sympathetic to her enough and/or used her). She was abouts my age but due to coincidences I was never a part of her life. my later friends and/or classmates were though.

as for the man/boy, it became very clear overtime that this person had legitimate reasons. I do not think he would be charged if it happened 30 yrs later give or take.

yes, things have changed over the years w/regards to abuse, corporal punishment, family spankings, etc. Disimissing the mercedes, financial support, etc OR not dismissing these facts, there are some who feel she was abused and others that do not. Of course, if this kind of thing was a pattern, that would help me make my decision.

Amazingly, if someone had a camera like this in a similar situation, it would be right there in black and white as to whether it was justified or not. If one said that 'no you will not be hitting me anymore' and the family person charged with a "whip"(belt) then the law seems to protect. Of course, without the tape - that might be a different story & the situation or a similar one is complex to say the least no matter what the exact facts.
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Old November 5, 2011, 09:34 AM   #4
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Going by the book, I assume it would be like any other self defense shooting, you'd need to have reason to believe that your life was in danger?

But if there was proof that any significant abuse was happening, I expect that it'd be pretty rare for any jury to convict even if the DA chose to prosecute.
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Old November 5, 2011, 09:44 AM   #5
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IMO, there is a big difference between using a calmly administered spanking to teach a child the difference between right and wrong, and beating a child in anger.

The particular incident that is the focus of the OP is a video of what appears to be a very angry man beating a 16-year-old girl with a belt, so severely that, if the young woman is to be believed, she had difficulty walking the next day. Supporting her financially for several years after does not erase that, even if she appears to some to be seeking revenge for being cut off from that support.

While dependent people - children, the elderly, abused spouses - have avenues available for reporting crimes against them, they very often lack the strength to avail themselves of those avenues, and they occasionally use other means to defend themselves. The fact that the abuse is repetitive does not, in my mind, disqualify a victim from defending themselves in any one instance of abuse. The cases in which abused people attack their abusers at times when they are not facing actual abuse are more difficult, but the difficulty of their overall situation, and the desperation that they must feel in their desire to end the cycle of abuse, makes me feel that leniency towards them is a better social policy than aggressive prosecution of people who, in every other sense of the word, are victims.
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Old November 5, 2011, 11:16 AM   #6
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The basics of use of deadly force don't change because it's "family".

If you are in fear of losing your life or suffering great bodily injury from an illegal attack, you can use deadly force to protect life.

Period, end of discussion.

In a few remaining states there's a "duty to retreat if possible" clause. And where it's an animal attacker the rules are more lax.

That right there is 95% of what anybody needs to know about legal use of deadly force.
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Old November 5, 2011, 03:57 PM   #7
xMINORxTHREATx
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I don't think he was supporting her BECAUSE of this incident. But we probably will never know.

Again, I think that proving your life was in danger may be difficult in an abuse situation, especially if its a child being spanked.
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Old November 5, 2011, 04:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Going by the book, I assume it would be like any other self defense shooting, you'd need to have reason to believe that your life was in danger?
Or the life of another person, at least here in Texas. I'd think it might be better to video the abuse then call '911', if at all possible.
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Old November 5, 2011, 04:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Going by the book, I assume it would be like any other self defense shooting, you'd need to have reason to believe that your life was in danger?
Yes, but. Domestic violence cases are messy.

To claim self-defense, you cannot be a willing participant in the altercation. But "Why didn't she just leave?" is among the first question people ask (see here) about abusive marital relationships. If she could have left, but didn't, wasn't she a willing participant?

Or try this one on for size: with an ongoing pattern of abuse in the relationship, then why did she think that this time he would really kill her? He never did before, did he? How could she believe her life was really in danger this time? The more horrible the abuse pattern, the more difficult this objection becomes.

These objections don't come into play when it's a child who kills a parent, but they definitely have an effect on intimate partner violence outcomes.

In addition to these very predictable and legally-problematic responses from others, battered women who kill are typically represented by lawyers who paint them as having a diminished capacity for making rational decisions. But a successful plea of self defense requires a rational decision that homicide is the only way to save your own life. A combination defense of "I was nuts at the time, plus I made an utterly necessary and sane choice" just isn't likely to fly.

Quote:
But if there was proof that any significant abuse was happening, I expect that it'd be pretty rare for any jury to convict even if the DA chose to prosecute.
No. The outcomes for battered women who kill in self-defense are generally very, very poor. A woman who kills her abusive mate will, statistically speaking, spend much more time in prison than will a man who kills his wife by abuse.

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Old November 6, 2011, 03:14 AM   #10
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Looking at it with the clarity of 20-20 hindsight, her life was not threatened and she knew it. If she really felt in fear of her life, she would not have tried to doucument the beating. As ugly as it was, it seems it was a repeated behavior that would have been better addressed through legal means instead of trying to escalte the situation.
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Old November 6, 2011, 04:41 PM   #11
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If a man beats his wife to death, manslaughter

If an abused wife shoots her husband, usually 2nd degree murder.

Divorce court is skewed against men, but the criminal justice system really seems to freak out when a woman defends herself.
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Old November 6, 2011, 04:50 PM   #12
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Cease and desist describing how you might have disciplined your child with various forms of physical action and how you think it is a good thing.

Also, we are not interested in your theory of discipline.

There is a legal question of whether the force used by the parent is such a level that a physical response according to legal doctrine is supported.

So, let's say you misbehave in some fashion - would support a policeman taking the strap to you? Or if you made loud noises at a party, could the neighbors come over and take the strap to you? Or would you rack your shotgun and posture?
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Old November 6, 2011, 10:32 PM   #13
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If more adults instilled discipline in their kids, with corporal punishment as needed, we would be living in a better world. I'm not talking about abuse or severe beatings, but me thinks the little girl got what she deserved. The media just played the same scenes over and over, making it look worse than it was.

Some of the kids of friends of mine I would strangle in their drug induced sleeps and quietly drop the bodies into a river...
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Old November 7, 2011, 01:26 AM   #14
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I figured this thread would be slow to develop from the get-go. Many people subconsciously avoid the topic of abuse in general. Not only that, people can be set in there ways and just have tunnel vision about situations such as this(whether right or wrong). Many people can act out what they believe, but they have trouble communicating the same acts orally. As an example, whether the father here was right or wrong, he has an extremely hard time communicating with his daughter one on one and just apologizing for his part. On his deathbed I bet he would say something though. I don't doubt the financial part one bit; but that is another whole can of worms and a catalyst in itself. People will put up with stuff when money is involved no matter how much of a pain and stressful it is.
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Old November 7, 2011, 10:26 AM   #15
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Closed - told you so.

Sigh.
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