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Old October 19, 2012, 04:34 PM   #1
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Use of Deadly Force in Virginia

I'm a resident of Norfolk, Va. I live in a somewhat rough area of town near the campus of Old Dominion University. There have been quite a few home invasions/murders in the area in the past few years. A friend of mine recently shared a cell in Norfolk City Jail with an inmate who was serving 18 months for shooting an invader in his own home. He didn't kill the intruder, but left him badly wounded with a shot to the face. He was originally charged with attempted murder, but the charge was lessened to malicious wounding. As much as I hate the idea of having to use lethal force, I hate the idea of imprisonment for it much more. Could anyone point me in the direction of useful information on the use of deadly force/justifiable homicide in Virginia? Anything is appreciated.
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Old October 19, 2012, 11:43 PM   #2
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Try here:
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Old October 20, 2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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Here is a link with various cases and should help you to understand what is legal, and what is not.

Here is also a PDF from

Originally Posted by link above
Self-defense in Virginia is an affirmative defense, the absence of which is not an element of murder. In making this plea a defendant implicitly admits the killing was intentional and assumes the burden of introducing evidence of justification or excuse that raises a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors...

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; October 20, 2012 at 09:15 AM.
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Old October 20, 2012, 10:13 AM   #4
Frank Ettin
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I've found UseofForce to be a good resource for understanding self defense law in general (not State specific).

And this is an interesting article by a lawyer (and primarily for lawyers) discuss how to present a self defense case. I've found that it can be useful in understanding how claiming self defense works in court.

Originally Posted by aaronbagby
...A friend of mine recently shared a cell in Norfolk City Jail with an inmate who was serving 18 months for shooting an invader in his own home....
And I bet there's a whole lot more to the story than that.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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