Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 72

Thread: Help! Deadly force/Civil Rights...

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    1,098

    Question Help! Deadly force/Civil Rights...

    I am trying to find the Federal legal code and/or the published court decision(s) that say it is lawful to use lethal force to prevent violation of ones Civil Rights. This is what I've found so far via the Google, but it doesn't quite say what I'm looking for. http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilright...htm#section241

    Any advice/trail signs greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Fairfax Co., VA
    Posts
    18,766
    I've never heard of such, but that's not saying much.

    I'm betting the existing common law on lethal force is expected to address it.

    The only rights violation that allows lethal force that I know about is the right to resist a false arrest with reasonable force, up to and including lethal force--but only if reasonable for the situation. And, if state law allows it; I understand some states now longer allow it.

    I suppose you might could repel a serious excessive force by an LEO. And if it escalated into the need for lethal force, I suppose you might be found justified by a jury. But, if he had grounds for the arrest or to use some force, it might be a real uphill fight in court, not to mention the fight on the street.
    Last edited by Citizen; 09-10-2010 at 01:18 AM.

  3. #3
    Regular Member VAopencarry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    The 'Dena, Mаяуlaпd
    Posts
    2,147
    Seems to me if that were the case there would be dead bodies littering the streets across America.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Chesterfield VA
    Posts
    10,682
    There is no federal statute that I am aware of that allows anyone to use deadly force to prevent deprivation of a civil right. But then I have not spent a lifetime checking the entire United States Code, so I might be wrong. I doubt it, but still I could be wrong. I'm just a lawyer, not an attorney.

    If you are looking for federal case law on the excusability or justifiability of using deadly force in defense of a civil right you are going to need to start by finding cases where the defendant was charged with use of deadly force (murder/attempted murder) against state agents (the government). Cases where deadly force was used against a private actor (not the government) to prevent a violation of a civil right would probably be murder/attempted murder trials in state courts.

    My question is why you would want to use deadly force in opposition to a violation of your civil rights (except the right to Life)? The resolution to violations of civil rights is generally compensating the victim and instructing the perpetrator not to do it again.

    So - what's behind the use of deadly force to prevent a civil right from being violated?

    stay safe.

  5. #5
    State Researcher lockman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Elgin, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    1,202
    Deadly force could certainly be applied if the right attempting to be transgressed was your right to life and liberty. Any rights of a lessor priority can be remedied under state or federal criminal and/or civil statutes. As for federal statute I have never seen one that specifically addresses the question. I have only seen statutes dealing with the offenses and penalties for the transgressor.

  6. #6
    Accomplished Advocate
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bedford, Texas, USA
    Posts
    834
    (We the people) "Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer's life if necessary." Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: "Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed."


    "An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction, and one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. If the arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the killing will be no more than an involuntary manslaughter." Housh v. People, 75 111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7 Conn. 452; State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43 Ohio 349; State v Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34 Minn. 3621.


    "When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified." Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.


    "These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence." Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.


    "An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery." (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).


    "Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense." (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).


    "One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance." (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).


    "Story affirmed the right of self-defense by persons held illegally. In his own writings, he had admitted that 'a situation could arise in which the checks-and-balances principle ceased to work and the various branches of government concurred in a gross usurpation.' There would be no usual remedy by changing the law or passing an amendment to the Constitution, should the oppressed party be a minority. Story concluded, 'If there be any remedy at all ... it is a remedy never provided for by human institutions.' That was the 'ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice.'" (From Mutiny on the Amistad by Howard Jones, Oxford University Press, 1987, an account of the reading of the decision in the case by Justice Joseph Story of the Supreme Court.


    As for grounds for arrest: "The carrying of arms in a quiet, peaceable, and orderly manner, concealed on or about the person, is not a breach of the peace. Nor does such an act of itself, lead to a breach of the peace." (Wharton's Criminal and Civil Procedure, 12th Ed., Vol.2: Judy v. Lashley, 5 W. Va. 628, 41 S.E. 197)

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    The mere violation of civil rights (including unlawful arrest) does not justify deadly force. Almost every State has laws covering the amount of force that may be used in certain situations.

    Consider the following scenario:

    Officer: You are under arrest [unlawfully].

    You: BLAM!

    I think you would be charged with murder. Your level of response would be inappropriate.

  8. #8
    Accomplished Advocate
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bedford, Texas, USA
    Posts
    834
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    The mere violation of civil rights (including unlawful arrest) does not justify deadly force. Almost every State has laws covering the amount of force that may be used in certain situations.
    state laws cannot override federal supreme court decisions.

  9. #9
    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    I80, USA
    Posts
    2,661
    In Texas you may only use force to resist an arrest where unnecessary force is being used against you to make the arrest, even if the arrest is illegal. Even then you may only use enough force to stop the officer.

  10. #10
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    state laws cannot override federal supreme court decisions.
    Please cite a Supreme Court decision that says that DEADLY force may be used to stop ANY civil rights violation.

  11. #11
    Accomplished Advocate
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bedford, Texas, USA
    Posts
    834
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack House View Post
    In Texas you may only use force to resist an arrest where unnecessary force is being used against you to make the arrest, even if the arrest is illegal. Even then you may only use enough force to stop the officer.
    when can a state write a law that invalidates a constitutional right?

  12. #12
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    when can a state write a law that invalidates a constitutional right?
    And, I ask you again, please cite a Supreme Court decision that says that DEADLY force may be used to stop ANY civil rights violation.

    Care to answer this time?

  13. #13
    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    I80, USA
    Posts
    2,661
    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    when can a state write a law that invalidates a constitutional right?
    Ask California, invalidating constitutional rights is like a hobby for them.

  14. #14
    Regular Member SaintJacque's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Federal Way, Washington, USA
    Posts
    139
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    And, I ask you again, please cite a Supreme Court decision that says that DEADLY force may be used to stop ANY civil rights violation.

    Care to answer this time?
    I'll do you one better:

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
    Any officer who deprives any person of liberty, without due process of law, is a tyrant. Not that violence is always appropriate, but I think it sometimes is.

  15. #15
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintJacque View Post
    I'll do you one better: Any officer who deprives any person of liberty, without due process of law, is a tyrant. Not that violence is always appropriate, but I think it sometimes is.
    Hyperbole. Useless hyperbole. I was responding to someone who was implying that the Supreme Court has said that DEADLY force may be used against ANY civil rights violation. If you want to start a side topic about cops being tyrants and shedding their blood, have at it. I won't participate in such a silly discussion.

  16. #16
    Regular Member SaintJacque's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Federal Way, Washington, USA
    Posts
    139

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Hyperbole. Useless hyperbole. I was responding to someone who was implying that the Supreme Court has said that DEADLY force may be used against ANY civil rights violation. If you want to start a side topic about cops being tyrants and shedding their blood, have at it. I won't participate in such a silly discussion.
    You are the one speaking in hyperbole, addressing the use of deadly force against ANY civil rights violations rather than more realistic encounters. For instance, it's not realistic to say that one would respond to an illegal arrest with deadly force. It's much more likely that an arresting officer would escalate HIS force to a level that would warrant violent, possibly deadly, force. It's rare to encounter a police officer who would simply back down even when they are wrong, they would rather "win" the encounter regardless of use of force.

    Also, I didn't say cops are tyrants - I said they can be. All authority figures CAN be tyrants, from King George to Officer Joe. It depends on how they act and whether they respect the inherent rights of man.

    ANY person who deprives another of life, liberty or property without due process of law is a tyrant. It doesn't matter if they wear a badge or not. It doesn't matter if they have authority from the state or not. I was simply pointing out that I don't surrender my liberty, that's my choice. I reserve the right to use force, including deadly force, to protect my life and liberty.

    Nothing personal, Eye95, just my .02.

  17. #17
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by SaintJacque View Post
    You are the one speaking in hyperbole, addressing the use of deadly force against ANY civil rights violations rather than more realistic encounters. For instance, it's not realistic to say that one would respond to an illegal arrest with deadly force. It's much more likely that an arresting officer would escalate HIS force to a level that would warrant violent, possibly deadly, force. It's rare to encounter a police officer who would simply back down even when they are wrong, they would rather "win" the encounter regardless of use of force.

    Also, I didn't say cops are tyrants - I said they can be. All authority figures CAN be tyrants, from King George to Officer Joe. It depends on how they act and whether they respect the inherent rights of man.

    ANY person who deprives another of life, liberty or property without due process of law is a tyrant. It doesn't matter if they wear a badge or not. It doesn't matter if they have authority from the state or not. I was simply pointing out that I don't surrender my liberty, that's my choice. I reserve the right to use force, including deadly force, to protect my life and liberty.

    Nothing personal, Eye95, just my .02.
    I did not make the assertion that deadly force could be used to stop any civil rights violation. Someone asserted that deadly force could be used against some civil rights violations (a reasonable assertion), another pointed out that State laws require proportional response when using force. Then the poster to whom I replied said that State law could not trump Supreme Court decisions, implying that reasonable force requirements in State law do not apply, which leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Supreme Court must've ruled that an unreasonable amount of force, i.e. DEADLY force, could be used against ANY civil rights violations. I just want to see this ruling.

    As the poster has not produced it, it likely, as I suspected, does not exist. I don't doubt that a ruling exists saying that a reasonable amount of force is allowable to resist a civil rights violation, and that is where State law comes in. It defines what a reasonable amount of force is.

    Does that clarify the discussion for you?

    Or, you could go back and read the thread and figure it out for yourself.

  18. #18
    Accomplished Advocate
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bedford, Texas, USA
    Posts
    834
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    And, I ask you again, please cite a Supreme Court decision that says that DEADLY force may be used to stop ANY civil rights violation.

    Care to answer this time?
    "The United States Supreme Court, and every other court in the past
    deciding upon the matter, has recognized that "at common Law", a
    person had the right to "resist the illegal attempt to arrest him."
    John Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529

  19. #19
    Accomplished Advocate
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bedford, Texas, USA
    Posts
    834
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    As the poster has not produced it, it likely, as I suspected, does not exist. I don't doubt that a ruling exists saying that a reasonable amount of force is allowable to resist a civil rights violation, and that is where State law comes in. It defines what a reasonable amount of force is.
    Now i've produced it twice for you. Simply put, if you even believe for a half a second that reasonable resistance against a law enforcement officer is going to prevent an illegal arrest, then you're plain daft. The cop WILL escalate his force, no matter how wrong he is going to be, so it will ultimately result in deadly force, period.

  20. #20
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    "The United States Supreme Court, and every other court in the past
    deciding upon the matter, has recognized that "at common Law", a
    person had the right to "resist the illegal attempt to arrest him."
    John Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529
    That does not say what you claim it does. One still may only use a reasonable amount of force, and that is where State law comes in.

    So, your remark that State law cannot trump Supreme Court rulings was misplaced, since the law cited only explained the amount of force one could use in given situations. In no way was it trying to supersede the ruling--unless you were contending that DEADLY force could be used to resist ANY civil rights violation.

    For example, if an officer says that you are under arrest, unlawfully violating your civil rights, you may simply walk away. You may not shoot him. If he attempts to wrestle you to put you in cuffs, you may wrestle back and try to escape. If he attempts to use a weapon on you, you may use a weapon in self-defense. (YMMV based on State law.)

    I was not going to let the impression stand that State laws describing the amount of force one can use to defend himself did not apply merely because rights were being violated. It would be dangerous to allow an uninformed person to walk away from this discussion with that impression.

    I strongly recommend that you are careful in what you say on a public message board. It is possible that someone could act based on your errant advice, do something stupid, and point a finger at you as being partly legally responsible.

  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    Simply put, if you even believe for a half a second that reasonable resistance against a law enforcement officer is going to prevent an illegal arrest, then you're plain daft. The cop WILL escalate his force, no matter how wrong he is going to be, so it will ultimately result in deadly force, period.
    WRONG. Though it is a gamble. Read on:

    Quote Originally Posted by DKSuddeth View Post
    "The United States Supreme Court, and every other court in the past
    deciding upon the matter, has recognized that "at common Law", a
    person had the right to "resist the illegal attempt to arrest him."
    John Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529
    If I were approached by law enforcement officers and arrested for conducting law-abiding activities such as carring a firearm in public (OC is allowed here in Colorado), I would comply with them completely!

    Afterwards, I'd promptly sue their ass for wrongful arrest and/or prosecution. Public officials MAY NOT unlawfully detain or arrest citizens engaged in lawful behavior.

    If they do so, everyone in the chain is subject to civil suit, and as much as I applaud their sacrifice over the years (I did much the same in the military), I reconize that they subject themselves to such scrutiny when they devolve to such horrendous levels of behaviour.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  22. #22
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Chesterfield VA
    Posts
    10,682
    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    And, I ask you again, please cite a Supreme Court decision that says that DEADLY force may be used to stop ANY civil rights violation.

    Care to answer this time?
    Would you please calm down and read post #6.

    DKSuddeth has kindly done the resarch and cited case law from SCOTUS that gives at least boundaries of when deadly force may be used to resist a violation of at least certain civil rights.

    Personally I'm off to study those cases and increase my scope of knowledge. DKSuddeth, I owe you. If we ever meet I will be buying.

    stay safe.

  23. #23
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    6,787
    So, according to SCOTUS, simply say "I am a law-abiding citizen engaged in lawful activity. I am resisting arrest based on John Bad Elk v. United States, 177 U.S. 529"

    I read it. Seriously! You cannot legally resist arrest. You CAN legally protest your position throughout, though, and if you both comply with the arrest while citing the above case, you stand a good chance of being exonerated.

    Provided you have no priors...
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

  24. #24
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Even though the situation may escalate to the point where deadly force would be justified 999 times out of 1000 (and, I don't for a second think the real number is anywhere near that high), then one had better not use deadly force that one time out of 1000.

    Which means that deadly force cannot be used to prevent any rights violation, only those that have escalated to the point where, under State law, deadly force is justifiable--generally, that life or limb is in imminent danger.

    One more thing: You not only have to be right; you will have to convince a judge or a jury that you were right to resist.

  25. #25
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Fairborn, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    13,063
    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Would you please calm down and read post #6.

    DKSuddeth has kindly done the resarch and cited case law from SCOTUS that gives at least boundaries of when deadly force may be used to resist a violation of at least certain civil rights.

    Personally I'm off to study those cases and increase my scope of knowledge. DKSuddeth, I owe you. If we ever meet I will be buying.

    stay safe.
    Would you get off your high horse and read post #8.

    I am replying to the contention that State law, which defines the parameters under which deadly force may be used, has no bearing on the amount of force that may be used to resist.

    The cited cases do not say that DEADLY force can be used to resist ANY rights violation. Yet, by saying that the State laws mean nothing in the face of the court rulings, the implication is that the State has no say, under law, how much force is justified. As I pointed out, responding with gunfire to the words, "You are under arrest," is not justified.

    My point here is to caution folks against the rash implication that DEADLY force can be used to resist ANY rights violation.

    When I ask for a court ruling to back up that seeming assertion, there are two rational replies (and an infinite number of irrational ones). Those replies are: (1) Posting a ruling that confirms the assertion*, or (2) Acknowledging that DEADLY force cannot be used to resist just ANY rights violation, only those violations that have escalated to the point where DEADLY force is justifiable.

    Instead, the argument is continued in such a way as to leave unsuspecting folks the impression that they may escalate to DEADLY force just because their rights are being violated.

    More and more I see this site dragging innocent folks down a path where they will do something stupid simply because they were convinced by big-talking posters here that it was something they had a right to do.


    *That assertion being that DEADLY force may by used to resist any rights violation.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •