The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Conference Center > Law and Civil Rights

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 22, 2011, 12:01 AM   #1
BlackFeather
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2009
Location: West Coast
Posts: 450
Who is responsible?

So, I don't want to put this in a specific situation, as it's irrelevant.

Main point of the question, if you are wrestling over a gun that someone planned on shooting you with, and it fires and hits someone. Who would be held responsible?

And

If you practice disarms, and are caught in the middle of one when the gun goes off, should it be your fault for attempting to do it?

This has been on my mind recently, and I just wanted someone elses thoughts on it.
__________________
"Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men." - Miyamoto Musashi

[Insert random irrelevant religious quote here]
BlackFeather is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 12:07 AM   #2
MTT TL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 2009
Location: Quadling Country
Posts: 1,801
Generally, someone in the commission of a felony takes responsibility and liability for crimes and torts committed in the act of that felony. So if someone attacks you, you defend yourself, and then someone is killed while you are defending yourself; the person who attacked you is generally responsible.

Specifically I do not know the specifics of the circumstances you are wondering about so I can't say.

I think this is more a question for legal than T&T.
__________________
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam
MTT TL is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 12:17 AM   #3
Mr. James
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2001
Location: The Old Dominion
Posts: 1,521
****
__________________
"...A humble and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." Ps. li

"When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law." —Frederic Bastiat

Last edited by Mr. James; December 22, 2011 at 12:19 AM. Reason: I do hope I realize what OP meant.
Mr. James is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 12:33 AM   #4
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,622
Happened to a friend of mine. He got three years for manslaughter.

The guy that got shot was the one that was trying to shoot him.

He did learn a lot about animal husbandry working on the honor farm. Even got some ribbons for his pigs at the county fair.

Not a fair trade really, but it was something.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 01:13 AM   #5
farmerboy
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,343
Buzzcook I'd like to hear the real story behind that! (all of it)
farmerboy is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 01:43 AM   #6
BlackFeather
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2009
Location: West Coast
Posts: 450
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL
I think this is more a question for legal than T&T.
I wasn't sure where to put it. I figure the aspect of self defense and wondering whether or not one should consider wrestling for a gun if one doesn't know how, or at all.
__________________
"Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men." - Miyamoto Musashi

[Insert random irrelevant religious quote here]
BlackFeather is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 06:43 AM   #7
PADefenseTrainer
Member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2011
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 49
I'm afraid I agree with Farmerboy Buzzcook. There has to be more to that story.

But to answer the original question, my guess is whomever owns the gun.

If a guy tries to rob you with a gun and the two of you end up wrestling over it, the original robber is at fault.

But if instead you shoot the robber with your own gun and the bullet passes through him and hits someone else. I would think you would be responsible.
__________________
NRA Life Member | NRA Certified Pistol, Rifle & Shotgun Instructor | NRA Chief Range Safety Officer

".. a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen..." - Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. App.181)

Last edited by PADefenseTrainer; December 22, 2011 at 06:55 AM.
PADefenseTrainer is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 07:20 AM   #8
wayneinFL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 18, 2004
Posts: 1,934
In criminal law:

In Florida, if you commit a felony, and in the commission of that felony, someone gets killed, it's felony murder. For example, you rob a liquor store and kill a bystander by accident, you're guilty of felony murder. You rob a liquor store and your accomplice gets shot by the clerk, you're guilty of felony murder.

So, if someone committed aggravated assault and the victim defended himself, the felon would be responsible for anyone who was shot. Of course, all the facts have to come out and a jury has to interpret the law and the situation.

In civil law:

Then you really open up a can of worms. You can sue just about anybody for just about anything. Who's responsible? Depends on the jury.
wayneinFL is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 09:21 AM   #9
MTT TL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 2009
Location: Quadling Country
Posts: 1,801
That is why it depends.

In civil law forget it. Common strategy today is to sue everyone even remotely involved in hopes of getting lucky in court.
__________________
Proxima est Mors, Malum Nullum adhibit Misericordiam
MTT TL is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 10:01 AM   #10
compglock17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 15, 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 104
Quote:
Common strategy today is to sue everyone even remotely involved in hopes of getting lucky in court.
A very frustrated +1 to that. These judges need to stop allowing these nonsense cases to move forward.
__________________
"You can't miss fast enough to win!"
"Smooth is fast if you practice to be fast! Slow is just f__ing slow!" Words of wisdom from C!
compglock17 is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 02:17 PM   #11
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,622
farmerboy: A burglar broke into my friends house. The burglar had a gun. My friend surprised the burglar. In the ensuing struggle the burglar got shot.

My friend died ten years ago so I can't ask him for more details, sorry.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 02:26 PM   #12
Skadoosh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 13, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,775
One would hope that the aggressor of the initial attack would be held responsible. But one never knows what the outcome will be with the justice system these days.
Skadoosh is offline  
Old December 22, 2011, 02:28 PM   #13
BlackFeather
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2009
Location: West Coast
Posts: 450
Thanks gentlemen.
__________________
"Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men." - Miyamoto Musashi

[Insert random irrelevant religious quote here]
BlackFeather is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 11:45 AM   #14
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
The problem with judges allowing everybody remotely related to be sued is that when everybody is responsible, nobody is responsible.

Individuals never seem to be responsible for things that happen to themselves. Why should they feel any responsibility, when they may be able to get somebody else to pay?
MLeake is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 12:04 PM   #15
farmerboy
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 1,343
WayneinFl is correct but have seen some cases that surely aint fair for whatever reason. Buzzcook sorry to hear of your friends loss
farmerboy is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 12:20 PM   #16
Hook686
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2005
Location: USA The Great State of California
Posts: 1,929
In a California CCW class I attend a case study is used. Essentially a guy carrying a handgun with one in the pipe goes into a bar. Some other guy takes issue with this guy and assaults him. The guy with the gun, in defending himself, draws it and wacks the assauter across the head. The gun dischages and kills a little old lady walking down the opposite side of the street from the bar. The guy with the gun was charged with murder.
__________________
Hook686

When the number of people in institutions reaches 51%, we change sides.
Hook686 is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 12:27 PM   #17
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Hook686, re: your case study -

He was charged. But, was he indicted? Convicted? What was the outcome?

And if convicted, was it appealed? Case law is determined at the appellate level, I believe, not at the trial court level; and definitely not at the charging level.
MLeake is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 06:21 PM   #18
hermannr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2011
Posts: 730
Hej Buzzcook! I see you are in WA. In WA if you shoot burgler you are fine. Home invasion is a felony that you can counter by any and whatever means are available. It has been my understanding that this has pretty much always been this way....and I have lived in WA since 1970. (and I was over 21 when I got here)

Was your firiend in WA? or BC? If he was in BC, I understand, WA I don't understand...elsewhere? well, depends on where elsewhere is, variations in state law being what they are.
hermannr is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 07:12 PM   #19
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,699
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackFeather
...I don't want to put this in a specific situation, as it's irrelevant....
Actually, it's not irrelevant at all. In fact, it could make all the difference.

First, where something might happen is important because the outcome will depend on the applicable law where the event takes place. Second, exactly what happened and exactly how it happened, and how the law applies, will decide the outcome.

So in your case of an innocent bystander getting shot by accident as a result of the "good guy's" attempt to disarm a "bad guy", the bad guy could certainly be held responsible. But depending on exactly what happened and how it happened, and depending on the applicable law, it's not inconceivable that a jury would also find the good guy liable for civil damages if the jury concludes that he was unreasonable in attempting the disarm.

This is one of the kinds of questions where "the devil is in the details." Depending on exactly what those details are, the outcome can range from the injury to the bystander being considered a sad but unavoidable accident to it being considered the result of an act of extreme recklessness on the part of the good guy for which he could be held criminally and/or civilly responsible -- or something in between.
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old December 23, 2011, 09:13 PM   #20
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,325
The general principle is (and should be) that the perpetrator of the crime is responsible for everything that happens as a result of the crime. This would include innocent bystanders getting shot and killed by you defending yourself.

However, as mentioned, this applies to criminal penalties, and civil penalties, are something else.

And, juries can, and sometimes do find fault where none should be found.

As to struggling with the gun, and it goes off....well, if the legal principle is followed, then the criminal is responsible, even if it is your gun. However, a jury might be more focused on who's finger was on the trigger, and why, when it went off. And it would be the criminal's defense teams responsibility to focus them that way, if it was your finger on the trigger.

As already mentioned, the devil is in the details, and it is those details, the specifics of the situation and the applicable law, and the jury's understanding of them that will determine the outcome in court.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is online now  
Old December 23, 2011, 11:25 PM   #21
Hook686
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2005
Location: USA The Great State of California
Posts: 1,929
Today, 11:27 AM #17

MLeake wrote:

Quote:
Hook686, re: your case study -

He was charged. But, was he indicted? Convicted? What was the outcome?

And if convicted, was it appealed? Case law is determined at the appellate level, I believe, not at the trial court level; and definitely not at the charging level.

from:

http://law.justia.com/cases/californ...2d/167/39.html

Quote:
The information charged defendant in two counts, the first alleging assault with a deadly weapon upon one Wallis, a felony, in violation of section 245, Penal Code; and the second, the murder of one Lela Glenn, as defined in section 187. Acquitting him on the first count, the jury on the second count found defendant guilty of manslaughter, a lesser but necessarily included offense in that of murder.
note: Wallis was the guy that assaulted defendant with a knife, who was subsequently hit across the head by defendant with his gun.

...

Quote:
A careful examination of the record convinces us that there exists no inconsistency in the verdicts, the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction of manslaughter and the jury was justified in returning such a verdict.

For the foregoing reasons the judgment and order denying motion for new trial are and each is affirmed.

White, P. J., and Fourt, J., concurred.

Even without all the legal trappings, I think this is a very costly undertaking, and one cetainly to be avoided if at all possible. However here it seems to me that Wallis initiated the assault with a knife, yet the defendant was found guilty of the resulting death, even though he was merely defending himself from a lethal assault. Be careful out there.
__________________
Hook686

When the number of people in institutions reaches 51%, we change sides.

Last edited by Hook686; December 23, 2011 at 11:36 PM.
Hook686 is offline  
Old December 24, 2011, 12:08 AM   #22
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Thanks for the link, Hook686.

I'm not a lawyer, but as I read the decision, it seemed to me the appellate court had focused on, and by suggestion so had the trial court, the fact that the defendant was not licensed to carry the weapon, and that the act of bringing a loaded gun into a tavern was unlawful and careless on his part.

It also read like his using a loaded gun as a bludgeon in a crowded enviroment met their standard for negligence.

I wonder if he'd have been better off using the gun as a gun, and shooting the guy with the knife...
MLeake is offline  
Old December 24, 2011, 12:13 AM   #23
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,699
And just for a little general legal background:

[1] An information is a charge filed by the District Attorney. It's not always necessary, depending on state law, to seek an indictment from a grand jury. An information works just as well.

[2] A conviction of manslaughter indicates that the jury didn't find that the defendant acted with malice (evil) intent, but it is a finding of criminal culpability. A verdict of manslaughter is common if the jury finds that the defendant acted impulsively in the heat of the moment or acted recklessly.

[3] It appears that in the case Hook686 called to our attention that the jury verdict was appealed and that the verdict was upheld by the court of appeals.

[4] Note that legal expenses through a jury trial can easily run from $50,000 to $150,000, or even more. And an appeal doesn't come cheap either.
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old December 24, 2011, 01:25 AM   #24
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,622
hermannr: Seattle.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old December 24, 2011, 01:09 PM   #25
hermannr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 24, 2011
Posts: 730
Buzz....Seattle, well nothing surprises me in Seattle (I live in Okanogan county which might as well be a different country), but still, state law is such that a home invasion may be met by any means available (including deadly force) RCW 9A.16,050(2) (current version since 1975) (BTW: Home invasion is a felony)

And...as the other guy had the weapon...this also applies

RCW 9.41.270(3)(c) (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person

As your friend is dead, "I guess we will never know the rest of the story"?
hermannr is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12209 seconds with 7 queries