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Is acting in defense of others legal where you live?

Rainman05

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So self-defense is usually a no-brainer and different countries have different ideas about what the limits of self-defense should be.
Basically, I believe that the logical thing is that once you get assaulted, or are in fear of your life, you should have the right to do anything, and I do mean anything, until you think the threat is neutralized. Now of course, this may seem logical to me but there are countries in Europe, and maybe states in the USA, where there is a limit on what you can do that constitutes self-defense and when you can engage in self-defense.

But what about acting in defense of others?
If you think that another person is in danger, and you have reasonable reasons to believe that their life or wellbeing is in danger, do you have the right to act in his defense? And how far can you go to defend others?

For instance. If you see a man dragging a child violently in a place, do you have the right to stop that man with force if he refuses to stop until the police comes to sort things out? You saw that news from someplace in the USA where those kids followed the guy who kidnapped a woman for instance, or that other kid who followed the guy who kidnapped a little girl and got rescued in a few hours. So if you see someone doing something to another person which you can reasonably believe it's kidnapping or assault, can you intervene where you live and under what regulations? Calling the police is usually #1 thing you should do, of course, but sometimes there just isn't enough time to just wait.

I write this because where I live, the laws regarding self-defense are idiotic and completely counter-intuitive and the right to defend others is even less sketchy. Now fortunately, there isn't a lot of criminal activity, very little in fact, so the cases are rare. But a news resurged in the local papers. 2-3 years ago, a man saw a child being abused by a man, dragged violently in the direction of a car (it turns it out it was the kids' dad, not a kidnapper). He thought the child was being kidnapped so he called the cops, told them where he was and then ran towards the man and demanded that he stop. The guy didn't listen, told him to bud off, and so the "good samaritean" acted violently to stop the guy. He initiated a brawl basically. Eventually the police came along minutes later. So what happened was that the guy who tried to protect the kid got sent to prison. He was found guilty of aggressive battering and his appeal got thrown a few months ago. He couldn't use acting in defense of others as a legal defense because apparently, you can't do that. Or rather, he didn't do that and there was a whole mess in the local papers as to how the correct protocol to engage in defense of others should be. Basically after you call the cops (if you dont' call the cops, you're screwed from the get go) you need to become a meatshield and unless the guy who you are trying to protect someone else from becomes violent towards you, you can't do diddly squat.

And even after he attacks you, and you basically engage in self-defense, you are not allowed to use more force than he is. So basically this means that where I live, if someone attacks you with his fists, you are only allowed to use your fists (well, body). You can't use say, something you find on the floor, like a wooden branch or a metal pipe, unless he uses something like that. This is of course a retarded law for obvious reasons.

So anyway. What do you think the law regarding self-defense should be and how should the law regarding the defense of others should be, and how are they codified where you life? Do you agree with my opinion that if you act in self-defense, everything goes and no artificial restrictions should apply or do you believe that there should be restrictions in what you can and can't do? Do you think acting in defense of others should require anything more than just a phonecall to the police letting them know of the situation or should there be barriers? Or should it be legal at all?
 

MaggieD

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So self-defense is usually a no-brainer and different countries have different ideas about what the limits of self-defense should be.
Basically, I believe that the logical thing is that once you get assaulted, or are in fear of your life, you should have the right to do anything, and I do mean anything, until you think the threat is neutralized. Now of course, this may seem logical to me but there are countries in Europe, and maybe states in the USA, where there is a limit on what you can do that constitutes self-defense and when you can engage in self-defense.

But what about acting in defense of others?
If you think that another person is in danger, and you have reasonable reasons to believe that their life or wellbeing is in danger, do you have the right to act in his defense? And how far can you go to defend others?

For instance. If you see a man dragging a child violently in a place, do you have the right to stop that man with force if he refuses to stop until the police comes to sort things out? You saw that news from someplace in the USA where those kids followed the guy who kidnapped a woman for instance, or that other kid who followed the guy who kidnapped a little girl and got rescued in a few hours. So if you see someone doing something to another person which you can reasonably believe it's kidnapping or assault, can you intervene where you live and under what regulations? Calling the police is usually #1 thing you should do, of course, but sometimes there just isn't enough time to just wait.

I write this because where I live, the laws regarding self-defense are idiotic and completely counter-intuitive and the right to defend others is even less sketchy. Now fortunately, there isn't a lot of criminal activity, very little in fact, so the cases are rare. But a news resurged in the local papers. 2-3 years ago, a man saw a child being abused by a man, dragged violently in the direction of a car (it turns it out it was the kids' dad, not a kidnapper). He thought the child was being kidnapped so he called the cops, told them where he was and then ran towards the man and demanded that he stop. The guy didn't listen, told him to bud off, and so the "good samaritean" acted violently to stop the guy. He initiated a brawl basically. Eventually the police came along minutes later. So what happened was that the guy who tried to protect the kid got sent to prison. He was found guilty of aggressive battering and his appeal got thrown a few months ago. He couldn't use acting in defense of others as a legal defense because apparently, you can't do that. Or rather, he didn't do that and there was a whole mess in the local papers as to how the correct protocol to engage in defense of others should be. Basically after you call the cops (if you dont' call the cops, you're screwed from the get go) you need to become a meatshield and unless the guy who you are trying to protect someone else from becomes violent towards you, you can't do diddly squat.

And even after he attacks you, and you basically engage in self-defense, you are not allowed to use more force than he is. So basically this means that where I live, if someone attacks you with his fists, you are only allowed to use your fists (well, body). You can't use say, something you find on the floor, like a wooden branch or a metal pipe, unless he uses something like that. This is of course a retarded law for obvious reasons.

So anyway. What do you think the law regarding self-defense should be and how should the law regarding the defense of others should be, and how are they codified where you life? Do you agree with my opinion that if you act in self-defense, everything goes and no artificial restrictions should apply or do you believe that there should be restrictions in what you can and can't do? Do you think acting in defense of others should require anything more than just a phonecall to the police letting them know of the situation or should there be barriers? Or should it be legal at all?

Illinois:

Sec. 7-1. Use of force in defense of person.

(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.

Obama co-sponsored this (now) law in 2004.
 

Fisher

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You can use defense of another in the way you can self-defense in my state, but you are still subject to the no-retreat rule, at least in theory. If a jury finds you not guilty, it doesn't matter what standard they applied or misapplied. If they find you guilty, it is almost impossible to get a criminal jury verdict overturned in my state no matter how badly your lawyer or the prosecutor messed up.
 

Manc Skipper

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Scotland has an equal self-defence statute, where the reponse must be proportional to the level of assault. England and Wales has no special provision, AFAIK.
 

Ray410

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I don't know of anywhere where you cannot help another. Even if it wasn't legal, I'd do it anyway.
 

Goshin

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Defense of another is to be undertaken with caution, if at all... for instance, you need to be sure you know what is really going on. Appearances can be deceiving, and if you're not careful you might enter the fray on the wrong side.


Most states use one of two approaches... the "good Samaritan" standard or the "in another's shoes" standard.


Good Sam means that if you act in good faith based on the information you had available, believing you were coming to the defense of the victim in the incident, you're covered under self-defense provisions.

In the other's shoes means you "step into the shoes' of the person you are defending... REGARDLESS of what you knew or didn't know. If HE would be in the right to defend, YOU are in the right... and if he would be in the WRONG to defend as you did, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG... whether you knew it or not.


It is well to know which standard the state in question uses! :doh


One of the few not-good things about my home state's SD laws is that they use the "step into their shoes" standard for defending others... so in my state it is something that should be undertaken with great care.
 
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