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Thread: when is it legal to use deadly force?

  1. #1
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    when is it legal to use deadly force?

    i was just wondering under NM law when can i use deadly force. for instance if someone broke into my house. do i have to see a weapon of any kind on said BG's person? or is it just if they break into my house and advance on me or what exactly? thank you in advance for any help you can give me

  2. #2
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    Not exactly clear cut...

    ...First, IANAL. New Mexico has a Castle Doctrine, but, as interpreted by the courts, it's pretty weak. The simple fact that someone has broken into your house or is in the act of stealing your goods is probably not enough to justify the use of deadly force, as interpreted by the NM courts. Deadly force in the case of a clear cut threat to your life or the lives of your loved ones (BG has gun/has fired gun) will PROBABLY be ruled justifiable homicide. In between, is where it gets tricky. A 5', 90 lb. woman threatened by an unarmed 6' 3", 275 lb man -- deadly force probably justified. A 6', 210 lb. man threatened by same unarmed BG -- deadly force perhaps not justified/perhaps so.

    Think before you act and, should you be involved in the use of deadly force, take some time to think before talking to the authorities -- tell them you'll cooperate, but you're very shaken and need some time to settle down. This is one big gray area and the picture you paint will have a BIG influence on how your situation is viewed. So, think before you act and think after you act.
    Last edited by NMBill; 08-26-2010 at 01:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    If the Subject of any story has the 1 means, 2 opportunity, and 3 intent to do great bodily harm or death to YOU or another person, you may use Deadly Force.

    Cant make it any more simple than that. You must have all 3 to use deadly force.

  4. #4
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    You're Correct, Jeremy, BUT...

    ...all are still gray areas -- more so in this state, than in others. Intent is probably the most slippery. Should the BG survive, it is unlikely to support your claim.

  5. #5
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    thats why we have jurys..... and hollow points.

  6. #6
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    True, true

    Better to be tried by twelve, rather than carried by six.

  7. #7
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    Articulate the threat

    You have to be able to articulate (explain in great detail) to a jury (think "the OJ Jury) why you believed, not "felt", you were in immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death. And, if you had NOT used deadly force to STOP THE ACTION OF THE AGGRESSOR, you believed you would have been seriously hurt or killed.

    If, the jury members say to themselves, ya know, I probably would have done the same thing had it been me...you have successfully articulated the threat and reasons why you used deadly force.

  8. #8
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    NMBill- NM does NOT have a Castle Doctrine Bill. Thirty-eight (38!) other states have such a law. We have been requesting one and there have been attempts to pass one in NM since 2007. However, we currently only have laws such as: "30-2-7. JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE OR USE OF FORCE BY CITIZEN”


    New Mexico should pass a law similar to Florida’s SB-436 (HB 0249) passed in 2005. There is a huge difference between laws that cover Justifiable Homicide and Castle Doctrine. Here is a brief summary of what "Castle Doctrine" law does:
    1. It establishes, in law, the presumption that a criminal who forcibly enters or intrudes into your home or occupied vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm, so the occupant may use force, including deadly force, against that person.
    2. It removes the "duty to retreat" if you are attacked in any place you have a right to be. You no longer have to turn your back on a criminal and try to run when attacked. Instead, you may stand your ground and fight back, meeting force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.
    3. It provides that persons using force authorized by law shall not be prosecuted for using such force. It also prohibits criminals and their families from suing victims for injuring or killing the criminals who have attacked them. In short, it gives rights back to law-abiding people and forces judges and prosecutors to focus on protecting victims.
    I am getting ready to write our new Governor and our legislators again about his issue. I suggest you do the same prior to the 2011 Legislature convenes. Here are the names and addresses of some of our politicians that are on our side:
    Governor Susan Martinez
    Office of the Governor
    State Capitol, Room 400
    Santa Fe, NM 87501

    Representative John Heaton
    102 South Canyon
    Carlsbad, NM 88220

    Senator Dede Feldman
    1821 Meadowview NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87104

    Representative Thomas Anderson
    10013 Plunkett Dr. NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87114

    Senator Stuart Ingle
    2106 West University Drive
    Portales, NM 88130

    Representative Teresa A. Zanetti
    1611 Francisca Rd. NW
    Albuquerque, NM 87107

  9. #9
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    Snoball- I am under the impression that there is no duty to retreat, in this state, from where you are legally able to be.

    Also, if you post the text of your letter I'd be happy to take a look at it and send it off if I am in agreement with what you say.
    Last edited by AH.74; 12-06-2010 at 11:46 AM.

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