State Representative Roy Burrell, D-Shreveport, is the sponsor of a bill that would rewrite the state’s justifiable homicide law to no longer allow self-defense to be claimed when someone kills with pursuit.
The proposals stem from the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, by George Zimmerman a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida. Florida authorities chose not to prosecute Zimmerman because of the state’s “stand your ground” law, which does not require someone to retreat during a conflict.
Under Burrell’s bill, if there was pursuit, then there could be no claims of self-defense. For example, Zimmerman would be unable to claim justifiable homicide if a conflict occurred, Martin walked away, and Zimmerman pursued and killed him.
Currently, in Louisiana a homicide is justifiable:
(1) When committed in self-defense by one who reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of losing his life or receiving great bodily harm and that the killing is necessary to save himself from that danger.
(2) When committed for the purpose of preventing a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or of great bodily harm by one who reasonably believes that such an offense is about to be committed and that such action is necessary for its prevention. The circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fear of a reasonable person that there would be serious danger to his own life or person if he attempted to prevent the felony without the killing.
(3) When committed against a person whom one reasonably believes to be likely to use any unlawful force against a person present in a dwelling or a place of business.
(4) When committed by a person lawfully inside a dwelling, a place of business, or a motor vehicle, against a person who is attempting to make an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, or who has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle, and the person committing the homicide reasonably believes that the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the entry or to compel the intruder to leave the premises or motor vehicle.
Furthermore, a person lawfully inside a dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle held a reasonable belief that the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent unlawful entry thereto, or to compel an unlawful intruder to leave the premises or motor vehicle, if both of the following occur:
(1) The person against whom deadly force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering or had unlawfully and forcibly entered the dwelling, place of business, or motor vehicle.
(2) The person who used deadly force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring or had occurred.
(3) A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and who is in a place where he or she has a right to be shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force, and may stand his or her ground and meet force with force.
Another law that relates to justifiable homicide concerns the defense of others. The law states that it is justifiable to use force or violence or to kill in the defense of another person when it is reasonably apparent that the person attacked could have justifiably used such means himself, and when it is reasonably believed that such intervention is necessary to protect the other person.
Also, Louisiana law says that the aggressor cannot claim self-defense. To illustrate, a person who is the aggressor cannot claim the right of self-defense unless he withdraws from the conflict in good faith and in such a manner that his rival knows or should know that he desires to withdraw and discontinue the conflict.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
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