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Discussion Starter #1
Someone brought this up on a debate I'm having on Facebook about the justification of deadly force.

Say I'm in a SHTF situation, I draw, fire, take down the bad guy - no arrest, grand jury clears me and I go on with my life. But in the process an innocent bystander in the background gets hit by my bullet. Injured/killed - doesn't matter. Shot is shot... I didn't watch my background and someone got hit. Or if the bullet ricochets off say a fire hydrant and someone not in my background gets hit.

What would by criminal liability be in that situation? Civil liability?
 

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I would guess you would be both criminally and civilly liable. I read somewhere that every time you pull the trigger a lawyer is riding the bullet, or something to that effect.
 

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I'll offer that it would have to be proven that you were negligent in your actions or acting recklessly....

BUT. You ARE responsible for each and every bullet that comes out of your gun...

This is a question for a lawyer.
 

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I think that in NY you are automatically criminally negligent for possessing a handgun and ammunition for said gun simultaneously.
 

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he never said anything about a illegal handgun, he joked that the person carrying the handgun would be criminally negligent.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got the joke...

But I'm guessing it's something like this... you're driving along, a car driven by a nun coming from the opposite direction swerves in your lane, you swerve off in to the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision, but in the process you take out a 12 yr old kid riding a bike in the shoulder on his way to a boy scout meeting. Your actions saved the life of the nun as well as yours (and any other occupants in either vehicle), but in the process killed someone else. Technically you broke a traffic law or two to save the nun's life and you never saw the kid until impact. I guess during wartime, this is known as "collateral damage"... but... in normal everyday life... ya know what I mean?
 

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Bot sure about criminally, in a free state, probably not, but in NY, more than likely. Regardless of where you are, you will be sued and probably loose.
 

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I know what you mean, I am thinking you are still liable because your actions directly caused the injury/death. If you ended up killing the innocent you wont be charged with murder but some lesser charge IMO.
 

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I know what you mean, I am thinking you are still liable because your actions directly caused the injury/death. If you ended up killing the innocent you wont be charged with murder but some lesser charge IMO.
I agree, as for the driving scenario.... that is a totally differant animal.. The "nun" would be the one charged in that scenario. It was her actions that directly cause your actions. It's different because while the BG made you take action he didn't make you shot and place an otherwise safe bystander in danger. You are resposible for your action with you weapon.
 

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I got the joke...

But I'm guessing it's something like this... you're driving along, a car driven by a nun coming from the opposite direction swerves in your lane, you swerve off in to the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision, but in the process you take out a 12 yr old kid riding a bike in the shoulder on his way to a boy scout meeting. Your actions saved the life of the nun as well as yours (and any other occupants in either vehicle), but in the process killed someone else. Technically you broke a traffic law or two to save the nun's life and you never saw the kid until impact. I guess during wartime, this is known as "collateral damage"... but... in normal everyday life... ya know what I mean?
Get out and shoot the priest that the 12yr old was running away from causing him to get in your way
 

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I agree, as for the driving scenario.... that is a totally differant animal.. The "nun" would be the one charged in that scenario. It was her actions that directly cause your actions. It's different because while the BG made you take action he didn't make you shot and place an otherwise safe bystander in danger. You are resposible for your action with you weapon.
Wait...I'm confused.
First you say the other person caused it (the nun example), then you say the other person DIDN'T cause it (the bad guy example).
So, if someone swerves into your lane, it's ok to try to avoid the situation even if an innocent gets killed, but if someone attacks you, you're supposed to be a victim to make sure an innocent is never put in danger?

When you're driving your vehicle, you are supposed to be as aware of what is going on around you at all times....no different than having to be aware of what is beyond whatever you are shooting at. Situational awareness isn't just for firearms. While I am driving, I am aware of potential threats, obstacles, and escape routes. It took practice to develop this ability, just like it takes practice to check before pulling a trigger.

i don't know the answer to the initial question...I'd suggest asking a lawyer. My gut feeling is that you wouldn't be criminally charged, but you would be liable for civil action (wrongful death).
 

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Have to agree with usmcvet. This is NYS, you'd *likely* be held liable no matter how obscure the situation. The prosecutor would claim that the bystander was injured/killed as a direct result of you firing your handgun. He could claim you were negligent as well. It would be a tough uphill battle - whether you come out a winner would depend on the judge/jury, but objectively you would likely be found guilty of criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter (if the bystander was killed). If you beat the criminal charges, a civil lawsuit would be nearly guaranteed. No matter the outcome, I would foresee your bank account being drained as well as your other assets (car, house, etc.) becoming potentially at risk.

Dave from RPD has posted a number of times recommending supplemental firearms owner's insurance (for coverage in case you're involved in a self-defense shooting); I think the above hypothetical scenario is a big reason why it's a good idea. Of course a lawyer is best to answer the questions in this situation, but since it's hypothetical, might as well discuss amongst ourselves - if a lawyer happens to chime in, great. I'd also recommend looking up some cases online where self-defense shootings resulted in bystanders being injured or killed.
 

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Wait...I'm confused.
First you say the other person caused it (the nun example), then you say the other person DIDN'T cause it (the bad guy example).
So, if someone swerves into your lane, it's ok to try to avoid the situation even if an innocent gets killed, but if someone attacks you, you're supposed to be a victim to make sure an innocent is never put in danger?

When you're driving your vehicle, you are supposed to be as aware of what is going on around you at all times....no different than having to be aware of what is beyond whatever you are shooting at. Situational awareness isn't just for firearms. While I am driving, I am aware of potential threats, obstacles, and escape routes. It took practice to develop this ability, just like it takes practice to check before pulling a trigger.

i don't know the answer to the initial question...I'd suggest asking a lawyer. My gut feeling is that you wouldn't be criminally charged, but you would be liable for civil action (wrongful death).
Re-read and figured I am an idiot !
 

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Guys and ladies....before this gets too much further out of hand.......


nessman....call Sheldon or another legal person. Hell, I'll do it just to have an answer to put in here, but someone needs to get an answer from an actual real life lawyer.

Too much bad info can be a direct result of this discussion......
 

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I have an email and call in to Sheldon. I will post his reply.
 

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Also what are the legal ramifications of talking about shooting people on Facebook.

Say you have to use deadly force, and your bullets only hit the bad guy, but the DA finds conversations about you "fantasizing" about the use of deadly force on Facebook?

Not to totally derail the thread. I but I wonder enough about asking questions on forums like this from behind a screenname. I sure wouldn't want it on my Facebook.
 

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@Scotchman - whenever posting things on Facebook and other social "networks" where your REAL name or identity is involved, you might as well treat it the same as if you were publishing it in the newspaper. Anything you type on FB can without question be used AGAINST you in a court of law. It has happened many times already. A police officer was fired in New Orleans because of a comment he posted on FB regarding Trayvon Martin. Some larger/well-known employers will also review Facebook profiles of prospective or current employees. Know how to secure your FB profile, and LIMIT what you post on there. Don't post anything that you wouldn't want your wife, your neighbors, or your employer to know about you. For example, I don't post ANYTHING about firearms on my FB page, it's a controversial topic, and it's just one of those things I avoid on a social networking site for a number of reasons.

I will beat this into my kids from a young age. My oldest son is about 3, in a few years he'll be getting a strong lecture on social networking (I'm really big on this as I'm a professional in the IT Systems/Network security world, so this is something near and dear to me). I don't believe outright banning kids from social networking is the right thing to do, but appropriate monitoring steps should be taken with kids, especially with all the "cyber bullying" BS in the news.
 
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