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Old August 3, 2014, 12:29 AM   #1
Koda94
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lethal force to stop felony crime?

stumbled on a website called gunssavelives.net which purpose is to provide a repository, among other things, of real stories of guns used in self defense. But a particular article stood out, short story: single mom grabs her gun and runs outside to stop someone from stealing her vehicle. When the suspect does not comply she empties the gun into the drivers side door.
http://gunssavelives.net/self-defens...teal-her-jeep/

According to the source article no charges filed. http://www.wtvm.com/story/26124805/m...-steal-her-car

My question is, how is it possible she could be allowed to use lethal force to stop a vehicle theft if she was not in jeopardy? Neither article is clear if the suspect was attempting to run over the victim, however I'm going on a limb here that if she can empty her gun into the drivers door she wasn't in a position to be ran over!


I should note that I understand that media and blog reporting is not always accurate so for the purpose of my question I'm taking the referenced articles alone at face value but if someone knows more to the story please share.
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Old August 3, 2014, 02:07 AM   #2
ronl
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Depends on the state laws. It's for certain she couldn't prove Ability, Intent, and opportunity in the courts. Sometimes the police and prosecutors exercise discretion in these cases, and we'll probably never know all of the facts in the case you have brought forth. A friend of mine many years ago shot someone trying to break down his door. The guy trying to break down the door was unarmed. (years later he was shot and killed by another man) The "victim" was a known hard case, and later ended up in prison. Neither my friend,or the man who killed the guy were ever charged. As much as I hate to say it, there are just some people that this world is better off without. In some cases the prosecutors and police recognize those things and act accordingly.
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Old August 3, 2014, 07:08 AM   #3
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http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/...fdefense.laws/

Georgia...
Quote:
You can use deadly force, with no duty to retreat, in self-defense or the defense of others, when you reasonably believe such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to yourself. Deadly force is also allowed when you believe it's necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony or criminal interference with property or to terminate or prevent trespass.
Texas and several states have laws along these lines as well.

Some states recognize that lethal force may be necessary to stop certain crimes that are deemed of significance including property crimes. Often there are specific conditions pertaining to the use of lethal force, unique to each state.
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Old August 3, 2014, 08:14 AM   #4
Pond, James Pond
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In this country I suspect, with a great deal of confidence, that this would not wash.

As it happens my gun licence, which can have different tiers of activities permitted is primarily a licence for self and property defence, yet I think that if someone were to shoot to prevent such a theft they'd be in deep do-do.
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Old August 3, 2014, 08:45 AM   #5
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koda94
...My question is, how is it possible she could be allowed to use lethal force to stop a vehicle theft if she was not in jeopardy?...
Several things to keep in mind:
  1. This happened only a few days ago. The article, updated 28 July 2014, says that:
    Quote:
    ...Police are still investigating the case as of right now. No charges have been filed against Olearnick.
    so --

    1. As of the 28th of July, the investigation was ongoing; and

    2. No charges had at the time been filed against the woman. That doesn't mean that charges might not ultimately be filed.

  2. There is such a thing a prosecutorial discretion. So even if the prosecutor believes he could pursue a case against the women, he might decide not to. But discretion is still discretion and not something one may rely on.

  3. The basic Georgia statute relating to self defense, O.C.G.A. § 16-3-21, reads (emphasis added):
    Quote:
    ...(a) A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other's imminent use of unlawful force; however, except as provided in Code Section 16-3-23, a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony....
    1. The exception, O.C.G.A. § 16-3-23, reads (emphasis added):
      Quote:
      Use of force in defense of habitation

      A person is justified in threatening or using force against another when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to prevent or terminate such other's unlawful entry into or attack upon a habitation; however, such person is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if:

      (1) The entry is made or attempted in a violent and tumultuous manner and he or she reasonably believes that the entry is attempted or made for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the assault or offer of personal violence;

      (2) That force is used against another person who is not a member of the family or household and who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using such force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred; or

      (3) The person using such force reasonably believes that the entry is made or attempted for the purpose of committing a felony therein and that such force is necessary to prevent the commission of the felony.
    2. And a forcible felony is, under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 16-1-3:
      Quote:
      (6) "Forcible felony" means any felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person.

  4. We really don't have all the facts, and details matter a great deal.
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Old August 3, 2014, 09:14 AM   #6
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Right, details matter. The article says she ran out of the front of the house and caught the guy coming down her driveway. At that point, I am sure it will be argued or has been argued that she was in fear for her life from the thief, undoubtedly in using her own vehicle against her, at which point it would be a forcible felony.
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Old August 3, 2014, 09:26 AM   #7
Koda94
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Thanks for the replies. Frank is right my question is premature in light of the ongoing investigation. I was just surprised that she wasnt arrested because I dont think being able to shoot into a drivers door one would be in a position of danger..... but we dont know all the facts the suspect could could have had a weapon who knows.
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Old August 3, 2014, 09:48 AM   #8
Koda94
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I do have a question about the law as Frank cited, similar wording as in my home state but I'd rather start a new thread.

unless someone has a followup article that could add to the discussion I think it could be misleading to readers to attempt to conclude anything without all the facts.
I wouldnt be offended if this was closed.
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Old August 3, 2014, 09:50 AM   #9
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Closing this is a fine idea -- before we start speculating.
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