Skip to comments.How the FBI defines Justifiable Homicide
Posted on 12/06/2012 6:09:03 PM PST by marktwain
If you rely on the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for numbers of justifiable homicides, the numbers will always be significantly under reported. First, in many years, many states simply do not submit numbers, so they are not counted. Not all police jurisdictions in other states submit numbers, so the total is always going to be low.
The definition of justifiable homicides vary from state to state. What is reported is often politically determined.
Here is the FBI UCR definition for justifiable homicides, from pages 17 and 18 of the Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook:
Certain willful killings must be classified as justifiable or excusable. In UCR, Justifiable Homicide is defined as and limited to:
The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.
NOTE: To submit offense data to the UCR Program, law enforcement agencies must report the willful (nonnegligent) killing of one individual by another, not the criminal liability of the person or persons involved.
The following scenarios illustrate incidents known to law enforcement that reporting agencies would consider Justifiable Homicide:
15. A police officer answered a bank alarm and surprised the robber coming out of the bank. The robber saw the responding officer and fired at him. The officer returned fire, killing the robber. The officer was charged in a court of record as a matter of routine in such cases.
16. When a gunman entered a store and attempted to rob the proprietor, the storekeeper shot and killed the felon.
NOTE: Justifiable homicide, by definition, occurs in conjunction with other offenses. Therefore, the crime being committed when the justifiable homicide took place must be reported as a separate offense. Reporting agencies should take care to ensure that they do not classify a killing as justifiable or excusable solely on the claims of self-defense or on the action of a coroner, prosecutor, grand jury, or court.
The following scenario illustrates an incident known to law enforcement that reporting agencies would not consider Justifiable Homicide:
17. While playing cards, two men got into an argument. The first man attacked the second with a broken bottle. The second man pulled a gun and killed his attacker. The police arrested the shooter; he claimed self-defense.
By this definition, many justifiable homicides will never be reported to the FBI.
The first man attacking the second man with a broken bottle is committing felony aggravated assault, isn’t he? I don’t get it.
It seems to me that definition minimizes the recording of justifiable homicides.
It emphasizes commercial robberies. Yet most justifiable homicides are not in commercial establishments and most are not brought to trial, but are determined by grand juries, prosecutors, or courts, and the police are not supposed to rely solely on these sources!
Technically it depends.
Boils down to whether the guy being attacked was escalating the situation by amping up the arguing. If he was not trying to disengage he may be considered a willing participant and therefore, not be considered that he was doing it for self defense.
Kind of why in the CCW classes one of the things they stress to you is you really, really want to take extra steps to avoid any kind of trouble. IE you do not want to get into heated arguments with people. You don’t want to aggravate others while carrying. Because if you are deemed a willing participant who didn’t show any signs of wanting to disengage from the situation, you could easily not be considered to have acted in self-defense.
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