Are you a "Reasonable Person"? or How will you be judged?
I have often quoted and used the concept of the "Reasonable Man/Person" in regards to lethal force and self defense in general. I think it is important to know how it is used to determine a crime or instruct a jury as should the unthinkable happen this is what would be used.
First here is the legal definition.
To me a couple of the most important parts I highlighted in bold. It's not the average or typical person it is a grouping of how a community would judge a typical member of the community to act in the same situation and there is no clear cut definition. Does this mean if you live in an area, community or state, that is not supportive of firearms could that cause you more issues in defending yourself than normal and is the definition completely up to the local powers that be?
The reasonable person (historically reasonable man) is one of many tools for explaining the law to a jury. The "reasonable person" is an emergent concept of common law. While there is (loose) consensus in black letter law, there is no universally accepted, technical definition. As a legal fiction, the "reasonable person" is not an average person or a typical person. Instead, the "reasonable person" is a composite of a relevant community's judgment as to how a typical member of said community should behave in situations that might pose a threat of harm (through action or inaction) to the public.
I guess whether we like it or not we have been assigned a duty to behave as a reasonable person would, but what is that standard?
The standard also holds that each person owes a duty to behave as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances.[
Remember in the first paragraph there is no universally excepted technical definition it is up to the judge?? to decide. While the courts will take into consideration the specific circumstances of each case the standard has no variation and there is no technical definition. Talk about a catch 22.
While the specific circumstances of each case will require varying kinds of conduct and degrees of care, the reasonable person standard undergoes no variation itself.
Know your laws guys and gals. Don't rely on your memory from the 4 hour class you took three years ago. The internet is a wonderful thing look them up, ask to sit in on the legal portion of a current class for review, if there is one. I am not one to either say or post things like "If some gang banger breaks into my house they will carry them out in a box". Could statements like this if found make people think you are not fair minded?
The reasonable person will weigh all of the following factors before acting:
the foreseeable risk of harm his actions create versus the utility of his actions;
the extent of the risk so created;
the likelihood such risk will actually cause harm to others;
any alternatives of lesser risk, and the costs of those alternatives.
Taking such actions requires the reasonable person to be appropriately informed, capable, aware of the law, and fair-minded. Such a person might do something extraordinary in certain circumstances, but whatever that person does or thinks, it is always reasonable.
Now there are provisions built in for how people act in emergencies which would help us should we have to use deadly force.
Basically I read this as the court would take into consideration the "heat of the moment" and would prevent armchair quarterbacking I think it would only take you so far in your defense.
Allowing for circumstances under which a person must act urgently is important to preventing hindsight bias from affecting the trier of fact. Given pressing circumstances, a reasonable person may not always act in a manner similar to how she would have acted in a more relaxed setting. As such, it is only fair that actions be judged in light of any exigent conditions that could have affected how the defendant acted
The are many parts and specifics that you can read in the link regarding medical professionals and so on but a couple caught my attention that may apply to some or all of us.
Do you consider yourself a professional? Is all the training you have had or will take going to hurt you in court? Good bad or indifferent I would probably be considered a professional as would many on the forum but would/could this be expanded to retired or active duty military, police, armed security? Many, many posts contain the words I have had three tours overseas and have combat experience, I am a former Sheriff's Deputy and so on. This "may" put you in a different standard under the law.
The parts in bold bring up some interesting questions. Would your IDPA Grand Master rating elevate you to the point you are now held to the standard of others with the same rating or skillset. Is the last time you had training, if you have, 10 years ago using techniques that are now not generally excepted? Just because it was accepted and used years ago does not mean it is accepted today.
In cases where a human actor utilizes a professional skill set, the "reasonable person under the circumstances" test becomes elevated to a standard of whether the person acted how a "reasonable professional under the circumstances" would have, without regard to whether that actor is actually a professional, and further without regard to the degree of training or experience of that particular actor. Other factors also become relevant, such as the degree to which the professional is educated (i.e., whether a specialist within the specific field, or just a general practitioner of the trade), and customary practices and general procedures of similar professionals.
However, such other relevant factors are never dispositive. Some professions may maintain a custom or practice long after a better method has become available. The new practices, though less risky, may be entirely ignored. In such cases, the practitioner may very well have acted unreasonably despite following custom or general practices.
Please do not use this as an excuse not to train. Remember the first battle is to survive the encounter, the second is everything after.
Now there is a specific section for armed professionals but it addresses mainly police officers but does address other armed professions. I am of the opinion that this means employed as or in an armed profession but other legal entities may have a different idea as to what it means.
[QUOTE]The "reasonable officer" standard is a method often applied to law enforcement and other armed professions to help determine if a use of force was correctly applied. The test is usually applied to whether the level of force used was excessive or not. If an appropriately trained professional, knowing what the subject of the investigation knew at the time and following their agency guidelines (such as a force continuum), would have used the same level of force or higher, then the standard is met. If the level of response is determined to be justified, the quantity of force used is usually presumed to have been necessary unless there are additional factors.
For example, should it be determined that a trained police officer was justified in using deadly force against a suspect, the number of times he fired is presumed to have been necessary to stop the suspect's action that justified use of deadly force, as long as there aren't other factors such as a reckless disregard of other officers' or bystanders' safety, or it is clearly proven that additional force was used after the suspect was no longer a threat.
The bolded part to me answers the question that has been raised before. Whether you shoot one time or twelve if the initial use of force is justified it does not matter how many times you shoot unless there are other factors like recklessness or it is proven the suspect/bad guy was no longer a threat.
The last one I would like to bring to light goes along with posts about minimum standards for folks who carry. Now whether your state requires a course or not, again to me, this sets a minimum standard for all of us. The only question about it is whether the statement in bold would apply to the average gun toter.
Now before it is said the mere act of carrying a weapon is not a risk to others, I fully realize that but how will a judge, jury, or prosecutor look at it? I think there would be a good possibility that this section could/would have some bearing depending on how it is interpreted. Generally speaking the act of shooting a firearm is a skills based activity so would this set a minimum standard?
When any person undertakes a skills-based activity that creates a risk to others, they are held to the minimum standard of how a reasonable person experienced in that task would act, regardless of their actual level of experience
As I stated before I am not an attorney nor claim any super knowledge base I simply like to read and when I read it raises questions. Everything posted outside of the quotes is strictly my opinion. If someone with experience or direct knowledge please chime in.
The full link is here: Reasonable person - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia