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ChuckBooty
06-04-2009, 2:06 PM
This question comes up once or twice per month here. And the information given is about as clear as mud. So for your education and enjoyment...here's the answer. I think.

Penal Code Section 197 Justifiable Homicide; Any Person
Homicide is justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and
endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a
felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.

Penal Code Section 198 Justifiable Homicide; Sufficiency of Fear
(Limitation of Self-defense of Property Rule) A bare fear of the commission of any of the offenses mentioned in subdivisions 2 and 3 of Section 197, to
prevent which homicide may be lawfully committed, is not sufficient to justify it. But the circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person, and the party killing must have acted under the influence
of such fears alone.

Penal Code Section 199 Justifiable and Excusable Homicide; Discharge of Defendant The homicide appearing to be justifiable or excusable, the person indicted must, upon his trial, be fully
acquitted and discharged.

Well...at least we know our Masters, Mistresses, and Servents will be safe!

paintballergb
06-04-2009, 2:47 PM
I was taught that justifiable homicide is a homicide that is authorized by law (like being an execution or a soldier) and excusable homicide were things like self defense.

GaryV
06-04-2009, 3:32 PM
I was taught that justifiable homicide is a homicide that is authorized by law (like being an execution or a soldier) and excusable homicide were things like self defense.

And I always understood that justifiable homicide included self-defense and any other legally allowed intentional use of deadly force (justified because of circumstance), and excusable homicide was accidental killing that didn't result from recklessness (i.e., not manslaughter) - one is not justified in killing, but is excused for lack of intent.

MrClamperSir
06-04-2009, 3:47 PM
I was taught that justifiable homicide is a homicide that is authorized by law (like being an execution or a soldier) and excusable homicide were things like self defense.

When you say "taught" who is teaching this?

vladbutsky
06-04-2009, 3:49 PM
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person;
Does it really mean ANY felony? Even non-violent one?

socal2310
06-04-2009, 4:10 PM
Does it really mean ANY felony? Even non-violent one?

When was this section of the P.C. written? There was a time when "Felony" referred to crimes punishable by (to quote Commodore Norrington from "Pirates of the Caribbean") "a short drop with a sudden stop."

Not the situation we face now where one can easily unknowingly commit a felony.

I would not count on the P.C. protecting you if you killed someone you saw lying to a federal investigator.

Ryan

7x57
06-04-2009, 4:45 PM
I do not believe it is safe to rely on reading the penal code. The sections in bold



1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and
endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a
felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.


are quite clear that deadly force is justifiable in defense of property, and in fact in stopping any felony. But so far as I know caselaw has taken this away and if it wasn't about stopping an assault you go to jail cuz the judges say so.

This is why you pay a lawyer--to know and check how the caselaw has mangled the penal code beyond all recognition. (It can work in our favor too, though that's probably rare in California--the existence of OLLs is predicated on caselaw that strikes down the plain language of the penal code.)

7x57

Timberwolf
06-04-2009, 4:49 PM
Its nice to cite book and verse the Penel Code or rather an interpretation thereof. The best answer comes from the case law, and then draw your analogies from the Court's interpretation.

That said though in a SHTF situtation by the time your brain processes the shoot or don't shoot question you'll probably already be leaking from a few holes. Trust your gut and let the defense attys figure it out.

paintballergb
06-04-2009, 4:59 PM
When you say "taught" who is teaching this?

A Fresno PD Lt. He was a professor of one of my classes. Damn sub-par college education.

M. Sage
06-04-2009, 6:12 PM
A Fresno PD Lt. He was a professor of one of my classes. Damn sub-par college education.

Police don't always know the law very well, but can be very good at sounding like they do.

I've never heard the term "excusable homicide", but have always seen the term "justifiable" in the context of self-defense.

sorensen440
06-04-2009, 6:23 PM
If you have time to think about if its legally justified your in in serious enough danger IMO

bodger
06-04-2009, 6:24 PM
Police don't always know the law very well, but can be very good at sounding like they do.

I've never heard the term "excusable homicide", but have always seen the term "justifiable" in the context of self-defense.

Sounds like the difference between "TAX EVASION" and "TAX AVOIDANCE".

According to former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey, the only difference between the two is the thickness of the prison walls you can get sent to for engaging in either, if the court so desires and your luck isn't so great.

motorhead
06-04-2009, 6:29 PM
right before you dig the hole.

socal2310
06-04-2009, 6:59 PM
Sounds like the difference between "TAX EVASION" and "TAX AVOIDANCE".

According to former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Denis Healey, the only difference between the two is the thickness of the prison walls you can get sent to for engaging in either, if the court so desires and your luck isn't so great.

Not at all. An excusable homicide is a situation where your actions brought about the death of another person, but there is no mens rea and you weren't negligent. Generally intent is not a factor.

Justifiable homicide means you deliberately took the life of another person for a legally defensible reason.

Ryan

HondaMasterTech
06-04-2009, 8:44 PM
Justifiable homicide = Being able to convince a judge/jury that it was so.

bodger
06-05-2009, 7:07 AM
Not at all. An excusable homicide is a situation where your actions brought about the death of another person, but there is no mens rea and you weren't negligent. Generally intent is not a factor.

Justifiable homicide means you deliberately took the life of another person for a legally defensible reason.

Ryan

Justifiable homicide = Being able to convince a judge/jury that it was so.

That was my point.
I understand justifiable homicide, but "excusable homicide" I haven't heard of.
Mens rea meaning "guilty mind", and the abscence of same being part of the "excuse".
Sounds like one of those fine lines that one would need a damn good lawyer to pull off.

I'm sure it's well documented case law, but seems to me it might get you a lighter sentence but not a walk.

But hey, I'm not a lawyer, and thank God I have never been on trial for anything, so what do I know.

socal2310
06-05-2009, 9:13 AM
That was my point.
I understand justifiable homicide, but "excusable homicide" I haven't heard of.
Mens rea meaning "guilty mind", and the abscence of same being part of the "excuse".
Sounds like one of those fine lines that one would need a damn good lawyer to pull off.

I'm sure it's well documented case law, but seems to me it might get you a lighter sentence but not a walk.

But hey, I'm not a lawyer, and thank God I have never been on trial for anything, so what do I know.

The distinction is almost never recognized anymore since it was reserved almost exclusively for so-called crimes of passion that are now classified as manslaughter, for example killing your wife or her lover after catching them in flagrante delicto. The legal distinction still stands in the middle east and is their (rather tortured IMO) justification for so called "honor killings."

Ryan

jas000
06-05-2009, 10:24 AM
CA Penal Code 195 - Excusable Homicide

Homicide is excusable in the following cases:
1. When committed by accident and misfortune, or in doing any
other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution,
and without any unlawful intent.
2. When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of
passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden
combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous weapon
used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.

Of course, case law also "modifies" this, too.