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Thread: Justifiable Homicide

  1. #1
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Most historic town in, Virginia, USA

    Justifiable Homicide

    Reading about recent Metro Bus robberies in Washington State, article refers to Washington State statute:

    RCW 9A.16.050
    Homicide By other person When justifiable.

    Homicide is also justifiable when committed either:

    (1) In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister, or of any other person in his or her presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or

    (2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he or she is.

    [2011 c 336 354; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 9A.16.050.]

    I know this has been hashed to death here, are we reliant on Case Law for this sort of protection in Virginia? Is this a bad law? Something we would want to add here?


  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    North Chesterfield VA
    Question for User (if he's still around):

    Woul;d this limit the wording of jury instructions any more than is the current situation?

    Id so, how?

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

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  3. #3
    Founder's Club Member
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    Nov 2006
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Age must be catching up with me. I can't clearly recall the cite.

    As far as I know, yes, we are protected by case law. That is to say, the common law that was brought over from England.

    I'm not 100% sure on the part about a felony, though. Rape, murder, grave injury, arson. But, grand theft? I don't think so.

    You want to be real careful about tampering with the common law/case law by way of trying to get the General Assembly to pass a statute. What comes out the other side may bear little resemblance to what you fed into the hopper. The gang gets to amend bills as they go through the legislative process.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

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  4. #4
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Western Prince William County, Virginia, USA
    User's instructions to his class on Virginia law and the use of deadly force were that there are five felonies in Virginia which can warrant the use of deadly force in repelling them. Rape, robbery, murder, arson, and burglary. Here is part of what he said about Virginia common law.

    "As to the other question, the courts do not have the power to reject statutes. Instead, they "interpret", which is often much worse. Virginia is a common law jurisdiction, which means that the common law of England is the law of Virginia, unless changed by the legislature or the Constitution. But since the advent of Virginia's Constitution which was the first to separate the powers of government into three branches, the judiciary lacks any legislative power, unlike the Court of King's Bench which made up most of what constitutes the law of Virginia today. The Code is only a tiny bit of our law, which dates back to the Norman Conquest in 1066."
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

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  5. #5
    Accomplished Advocate user's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Piedmont of Virginia
    If anyone wants to PM me with an email address, I'll send a PDF file containing my view of what the law is on this subject in Virginia. It's something I wrote when working on codification of the law of personal defense which never got off the ground with the legislature. But yes, it's almost entirely case law, and it's much, much broader than the Washington statute.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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