Self-Defense

Statutory Duty to Aid People You've Injured May Apply Even in Self-Defense Cases

So holds a New Jersey appellate court.

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A New Jersey statute, 2C:12-1.2 ("Endangering an injured victim") provides,

[a.] A person is guilty of endangering an injured victim if he causes bodily injury to any person or solicits, aids, encourages, or attempts or agrees to aid another, who causes bodily injury to any person, and leaves the scene of the injury knowing or reasonably believing that the injured person is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for himself….

[c.] It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the defendant summoned medical treatment for the victim or knew that medical treatment had been summoned by another person, and protected the victim from further injury or harm until emergency assistance personnel arrived. This affirmative defense shall be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence.

In State v. Sanders, decided yesterday by the N.J. intermediate appellate court, the court (in an opinion by Judge Greta Gooden Brown, joined by Judges Jack Sabatino and Heidi Currier) held this applied even when the person had injured "another" in self-defense. Julian Sanders was prosecuted for first-degree murder, weapons possession, and endangering an injured victim:

The charges stemmed from defendant fatally stabbing Kendall Anthony on May 19, 2017, following an altercation during which Anthony forbade defendant from entering a store, threatened to beat defendant up, and threw a punch at defendant when he refused to heed his warnings. Defendant dodged the punch and stabbed Anthony once in the chest with a knife. Anthony staggered around, continued to yell at defendant, and collapsed on the ground twice, remaining on the ground after he collapsed the second time. Defendant left the scene without calling for medical assistance and went home. Anthony, who was breathing but unconscious when police responded, was transported to the hospital where he died the following morning from the stab wound….

The judge instructed the jury on self-defense as applied to all charges except the endangering charge. Following the trial, the jury convicted defendant of endangering and acquitted him of the remaining charges, apparently accepting defendant's self-defense claim. On November 9, 2018, defendant was sentenced to four years' probation.

The court concluded that,

[T]he endangering statute does not require the use of unlawful force or the commission of a crime by the defendant for liability to attach. As the [New Jersey Supreme Court explained in the earlier Munafo case], all that is required is for the defendant "to cause bodily injury [and] flee the scene [with] knowledge or a reasonable belief that the injured person was in a vulnerable state." Thus, whether the use of force was lawful is irrelevant for purposes of the endangering statute.

The court noted that sometimes the statute wouldn't apply, because of the "necessity" defense:

Arguably, other circumstances not present here, such as Anthony continuing to pose a threat after he had been stabbed by defendant, are addressed by other defenses, like the defense of necessity. Similar to "use of force," necessity, also referred to as the "choice of evils" defense, is a justification included in the third chapter of the Code, and provides:

[c]onduct which would otherwise be an offense is justifiable by reason of necessity to the extent permitted by law and as to which neither the code nor other statutory law defining the offense provides exceptions or defenses dealing with the specific situation involved and a legislative purpose to exclude the justification claimed does not otherwise plainly appear….

Similarly, had Anthony continued to pose a threat after the stabbing, defendant's conduct in "leav[ing] the scene" without summoning medical assistance could have arguably been consonant with his legal duty [set forth by New Jersey statutes] to retreat in lieu of continuing to use deadly force. In that sense, retreating by leaving would not only have been "permitted," but required by law.

Defendant argues anecdotally that "[i]t would be absurd for a person, after acting justifiably in self-defense, to have to stay and check if his attacker was 'physically helpless.'" While the argument is appealing, it presumes facts not in evidence. Here, after defendant stabbed Anthony in the chest, both parties immediately stopped fighting as Anthony, realizing that he had been stabbed, stumbled around before collapsing to the ground. As defendant watched Anthony bleed profusely from the stab wound, stumble, and collapse to the ground, he backed away, eventually walking home without any attempt to summon medical assistance.

Rather than imposing an obligation on defendant to secure the safety of his attacker while endangering himself, the application of the endangering statute in this case sought to preserve a life after the threat or need for force had been neutralized. Thus, self-defense does not apply to these circumstances….

Judge Sabatino joined the majority, but also added:

I wish to underscore our unanimous recognition that concepts of self-defense, necessity, or other principles of legal justification may appropriately pertain in some factual settings to relieve a crime victim, who has repelled and injured an attacker, of criminal liability … for failing to render aid to that wounded attacker.

A few illustrations might be instructive. Consider, for instance, a situation in which A and B are together on the first floor of A's home. Without provocation, A begins to punch B repeatedly. B tries to resist A, but A continues to pummel B. B manages to pull away momentarily and shoves A. A falls backwards down a flight of stairs, with A's head striking the basement floor below. Dazed and bleeding, A appears to B from the top of the stairs to be at least temporarily subdued. Worried that A might recover and resume the attack, B does not run down to the basement to check on A's vitals and instead flees immediately from the premises. Fearful that A might recover and retaliate against B for calling the police, B does not call for emergency aid.

Under a literal reading of [the statute], B could be charged with the crime of third-degree endangering if B reasonably believed, after pushing A down the stairs, that A was "physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for himself [or herself]." Such a prosecution would run counter to principles of self-defense and a would-be victim's associated obligation to engage in a "safe retreat" instead of using or resuming the use of lethal force to repel an attacker. In addition, B's decision to not call 9-1-1 and thereby risk being harmed by A at a later time in retaliation might arguably be consistent with the public policies underlying the protection and safety of victims of domestic violence.

As a second illustration, imagine that C, a stranger, suddenly accosts D on a sidewalk at night, brandishes a knife and pulls D into a dark alleyway, and begins to sexually assault D. D grabs the knife away from C and plunges it into C's neck. C staggers to the pavement and utters, "I'm gonna get you for this!" Traumatized, D runs away for safety. Assume that D reasonably does not report the episode to the police, in order to maintain anonymity. D's conduct is arguably a logical follow-through of the reasonable use of force to repel an attacker in self-defense. Even if C may appear to be mortally wounded, D may be justified in not remaining at the scene or summoning medical treatment under a reasonable belief that such a call somehow might be traced to D's cell phone and deprive D of anonymity.

Neither of these hypothetical situations are comparable to the facts of this case that are detailed in the majority opinion and soundly analyzed. Nor, apart from the literal wording of [the endangerment statute], does it appear that the Legislature would want persons such as B and D punished as criminals for not calling 9-1-1.

These scenarios illustrate that we should be cautious in adopting an over-expansive reading of [the statute]. Although the statute is aimed at laudable humanitarian objectives, it must be construed and applied sensibly within the broad context of general principles of legal responsibility and criminal justice.

UPDATE: Prof. Joshua Dressler pointed out a similar case, State ex rel. Kuntz v. Montana 13th Jud. Dist. Ct. (Mont. 2000), which discussed a common-law "duty based on creation of the peril" and concluded,

[W]hen a person justifiably uses force to fend off an aggressor, that person has no duty to assist her aggressor in any manner that may conceivably create the risk of bodily injury or death to herself, or other persons. This absence of a duty necessarily includes any conduct that would require the person to remain in, or return to, the zone of risk created by the original aggressor. We find no authority that suggests that the law should require a person, who is justified in her use of force, to subsequently check the pulse of her attacker, or immediately dial 9-1-1, before retreating to safety.

Under the general factual circumstances described here, we conclude that the victim has but one duty after fending off an attack, and that is the duty owed to one's self — as a matter of self-preservation — to seek and secure safety away from the place the attack occurred. Thus, the person who justifiably acts in self-defense is temporarily afforded the same status as the innocent bystander under the American rule….

[T]he duty to summon aid may in fact be "revived" as the State contends, but only after the victim of the aggressor has fully exercised her right to seek and secure safety from personal harm. Then, and only then, may a legal duty be imposed to summon aid for the person placed in peril by an act of self-defense. We further hold that preliminary to imposing this duty, it must be shown that 1) the person had knowledge of the facts indicating a duty to act; and 2) the person was physically capable of performing the act….

We [further] hold that a person, who is found to have used justifiable force, but who nevertheless fails to summon aid in dereliction of the legal duty as defined here, may be found criminally negligent only where the failure to summon aid is the cause-in-fact of death, rather than the use of force itself.

Furthermore, it is important to emphasize that even where such a duty "revives" under the foregoing analysis, the breach of this duty should not be construed as constituting criminal negligence per se. To the contrary, it is entirely conceivable that in circumstances where such a legal duty may rightfully be imposed, a failure to summon medical assistance — due to fear, shock, or some other manifestation resulting from the confrontation — would not be a gross deviation from an ordinary standard of care as required by Montana's negligent homicide statute. Thus, a breach of the legal duty to summon aid may be the cause-in-fact of death, but is still not necessarily a crime …. Moreover, as in ordinary negligence cases, the existence of a legal duty to act — whether at the time of injury or later by "revival" — is a question of law, while the breach of the duty is for determination by the fact finder.

But note again that has to do with the common-law duty, not an express statutory duty such as that in New Jersey.

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  1. The lawyer wants to keep its client, the vicious criminal, alive for money.

    1. All law abiding citizens should conceal carry. Gun safety can be taught in high school. If a person fails to fire on a violent criminal, they get a fine of $100.

      1. Again, no. You can only respond with deadly force if the other party reasonably threatens imminent death or great bodily injury. That means that your violent criminal needs to be threatening imminent death or great bodily at the time you shoot them. Preemptively or prophylacticly shooting him doesn’t work.

        1. Let me add that requiring everyone to conceal carry would be very dangerous. Concealed carry is a responsibility. It can be dangerous, if you aren’t careful. For example, I don’t drink alcohol when I am carrying concealed. You need to be confident that you can carry safely, before you start doing it. And you won’t get that if you mandate that everyone carry concealed.

        2. Preemptively or prophylacticly shooting him doesn’t work.

          Unless you’re a police officer, of course.

          1. Different rules of engagement. My guess is that they try to keep their shootings within the lines of self defense. But many states give them broader powers.

            On example was the shooting of Big Mike Grown by Officer Owen Wilson in Ferguson, MO. Wilson was apparently acquitted on the bass of self defense. BUT there is apparently a special rule for police that allows them to shoot escaping suspects if they would prove dangerous to the community. Wilson had that, with Brown having tried to take his gun away – a violent, forcible, felony committed in the presence of the police officer (since it was Wilson’s gun that Brown had tried to take). But that became unnecessary, when Brown turned around and started trying to attack Wilson, and the jury found that justified the use of deadly force in self defense.

        3. That is the current stupid doctrine of the pro-criminal lawyer profession. The idea is to get rid of the violent criminal, not self defense. The aim is incapacitation, not even deterrence. The deceased have a low rate of recidivism. That would end the criminal law.

          Self help is the sole factor that is common to all jurisdictions with a low crime rate. Rich/poor, urban/rural, religious/secular, democratic/authoritarian. They are all over the place save for one. The criminal is more afraid of the neighbors than of the police.

  2. Apparently it is legal for me to wait for the guy to die, then leave.

    Calling for help could be incriminating. As a juror I am going to be hesitant to convict somebody for violating a law that expects self-incrimination.

    1. Calling for help if you have an actual self-defense defense is NOT incriminating.

      Quite aside from this case, there’s no legal privilege to conceal an action taken in self-defense.

      1. The right to avoid self-incrimination applies to the innocent as well. There is at least a burden of production and possibly a burden of proof to argue self-defense. When you say “I shot the man in self-defense” the jury can believe the first half and disbelieve the second half.

        1. That doesn’t mean there’s a Fifth Amendment privilege.

          You don’t have a constitutional right to conceal non-illegal conduct. Here’s an example. Let’s say you run a legal poker game, under your local laws. If a government regulation requires that you disclose its existence and information about it, you can’t refuse to do so because some runaway prosecutor might prosecute it as an illegal game.

          Here’s another example: taxes. You definitely have the right to assert the Fifth Amendment by saying something like “illegal activity” on your tax returns and disclosing income from illegal activity while not saying exactly what it is.

          But you can’t refuse to disclose LEGAL activity with specificity on your tax return on the grounds that some prosecutor could construe it as potentially illegal.

          If the government makes self-defense legal (which it has), it can require you to disclose it, as it can any lawful conduct not protected by some other privilege (such as religion or association). There’s no Fifth Amendment privilege here.

  3. Yet another reason why if you have to shoot someone in self-defense, always shoot to kill. “Shoot to wound” is stupid for many, many reasons – and NJ just gave us one more.

    1. Yes, you get sued for expenses. The value of the life of a criminal is negative. Everyone, especially the family, is better off when dead. A reward should be given to the self defense citizen.

    2. Nope. Standard is generally until they no longer reasonably pose a threat of imminent death or great bodily injury.

      1. That is the standard. And you cannot achieve it with a “shoot to wound” philosophy. Even cops who are (theoretically) trained to deal with the distorting effects of adrenaline and stress cannot reliably shoot to wound. The idea of shooting a gun out of someone’s hand or “just winging them” is Hollywood drivel.

        But to the point of the article, even if you were that well trained and so inclined to attempt a “wounding shot”, this NJ law gives you yet another incentive not to even try.

        1. You could use less powerful firearm, like a .22, but that’s still kinda lethal. Or rubber bullets? There are some options.

          Recently at the shooting range with my actor friend, he took a shot at the paper target, hit him in the arm, and concluded the police are full of shit when they say they can’t shoot to wound. Of course, his groupings were so spread out he basically got lucky not hitting the guy in the heart, but that’s the general logic.

          1. You really, really, don’t want to use .22 LR for self defense. Yes, it is typically legally considered lethal force, it rarely stops attackers, unless the shooter gets very lucky, or is very good. The holes made are just two small. Of course, if you are either, and you get a round into the skull, you have a decent chance. Except that is very difficult. You are taught to shoot center mass because that is the easiest part of the body to hit, unless you are dealing with body armor. The head, on the other hand, is thick bone and has a lot of angles that often deflect bullets. Moreover, heads move uphill more than torsos , making them that much harder to hit.

            Last weekend I was in a class where we each shot > 400 rounds. I shot maybe 300 rounds of .22 in a G44 (same size and form factor as a G19), and 100 rounds of 9 mm in a G17. The other members of the class were shooting just 9 mm (ammunition has gotten very expensive). What was shocking was how much smaller the .22 holes were than the 9 mm. And these were target, and not self defense, rounds, that typically mushroom causing much larger wound tracks.

  4. The law here seems perfectly reasonable. All the defendant had to do here was call for medical help, and only in a case where the deceased no longer posed a threat.

    A license to defend oneself is not a license to continue to bear the assailant to death once he’a down. Once the assailant is no longer a threat, ordinary legal duties step in.

    New Jersey’s duty to summon help does not seem especially onerous.

    And summoning help does not constitute self-incrimination. The right to avoid self-imcrimination does not include a right to kill possible witnesses against one. Neither does it include a right to let possible witneses against one die.

    1. He was the victim and is being punished for defending himself. Just probation luckily.

      1. The pro-criminal scumbag profession needs to be visited. This scumbag judge needs to be run out of the state. A campaign of regulatory and shaming should be opened on the subhuman scumbag judge.

        A database of enemies of our nation should be started. They find the name at the cashier, you get tossed out the store without the groceries.

      2. With the evidence that he wasn’t the victim eliminated, it was a lot harder to prove that he wasn’t the victim.

        1. In this case there was video evidence too.

    2. No, the law is not reasonable.

      If I am walking by, and see you dying, no one can prosecute me for doing nothing, and letting you die.

      And that’s in a situation where you did not try to harm me, have not done anything criminal, etc.

      Under any rational legal and / or moral system, you in the above case are owed far more, especially by me, than in a situation where you attacked me and I was forced to violently defend myself.

      I’m not the cause of your bleeding out, you are, because you attacked me. This law treats me as if I’m responsible for your injury. I’m not, because if I was, then my self defense claim would have been found wanting and I would have been found guilty for the attack.

      This is a BS attempt to do an end run around self defense

      1. What’s the least bit unconstitutional about laws imposing a duty to provide help of some some sort?

        In this case, if the deceased had lived to testify, the jury might well not have bought the self-defense claim and convicted on the other charges. It was very convenient to the self-defense claim that the other side didn’t survive to testify against it.

        The fact that one one side of the story benefits when that side’s evidence is eliminated is alone sufficient to rationally justify requiring people who want to make a self-defense claim to make some sort of effort to preserve the life of their supposed attacker, to put some cost to self-servingly eliminating evidence inconsistent with their claim.

        1. So do you disagree with Judge Sabatino that a woman who kills the man sexually assaulting her shouldn’t be excused from punishment because if he lived the jury might not have agreed that he was assaulting her?

        2. Whether the law should command it, I’m not sure, but its probably the right thing to do. I might feel pretty bad killing a guy for trying to punch me, but who knows. Fear of legal trouble for calling help probably would be a concern.

        3. “What’s the least bit unconstitutional about laws imposing a duty to provide help of some some sort? ”

          13th Amendment:
          “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

          Imposing a “duty to provide help” on me is imposing “involuntary servitude”.

      2. If I am walking by, and see you dying, no one can prosecute me for doing nothing, and letting you die.

        [Citation needed.] Several states have “duty to rescue” laws on the books. (Famously depicted in the Seinfeld finale.) I am not aware that any of them have been declared unenforceable.

        I’m not the cause of your bleeding out, you are, because you attacked me. This law treats me as if I’m responsible for your injury.

        You are confusing moral fault for cause in fact.

        1. Several states have “duty to rescue” laws on the books. . . . I am not aware that any of them have been declared unenforceable.

          That’s some mighty careful wording. How about ones that are presently enforced?

        2. “You are confusing moral fault for cause in fact.”

          I’m stating the cause in fact, and in law, of my shooting him was that he was trying to rape a woman in front of me.

          Once the jury agrees that my shooting him was legal, then as a matter of law it only makes sense that hsi actions caused his injury.

          Not my problem

        3. https://www.enjuris.com/blog/questions/good-samaritan/
          >>>
          Generally speaking, there is legally no duty to rescue another person.

          The courts have gone into very gory details in order to explain this. In Buch v. Amory Manufacturing Co., the defendant had no obligation to save a child from crushing his hand in a manufacturing machine. The court suggested an analogy in which a baby was on the train tracks – did a person standing idly by have the obligation to save him? Legally, no. He was a “ruthless savage and a moral monster,” but legally he did not have to save that baby.

          An interesting and solid case to the contrary is Soldano v. O’Daniels, where the Court of Appeals of California bucked convention and stated that an employee did have a duty to help.

          In that case, a Good Samaritan requested that a store employee use the phone to call the police, as a person was being threatened in a bar across the street. The employee denied the use of the phone to the Good Samaritan and refused to place the call himself. The person ended up dying, and the Court said, enough is enough. This person would not have died if that call had been placed, and someone has to take responsibility. They felt it was time to reexamine the traditional relationship of responsibility.

          Normally, however, there is no duty to rescue. Soldano is a unique quirk in the legal system that has not overcome the four categories of duties, which we shall now discuss.
          <<<

          So, kindly provide us with a link to a State law that imposes a "duty to rescue" on random bystanders, that has actually been enforced any time this millennia.

          1. So, kindly provide us with a link to a State law that imposes a “duty to rescue” on random bystanders, that has actually been enforced any time this millennia.

            You mean, other than the one that’s the subject of this post?

            1. Oh, I suppose you’re going to say that this post doesn’t involve a random bystander. But I gave you several such state laws below, in my 9:12 p.m. post.

        4. Only in Vermont, where the Seifeld episode took place.

          1. Massachusetts, but I guess they all look alike.

    3. Maybe it would make sense to pair the duty to call with a prohibition on entering the call to EMS into evidence. Kind of a variation on the bar to admitting subsequent remedial measures in a negligence case. I don’t think

      1. Scratch the last clause. Half-formed thought.

        1. Freudian slip

      2. You see here and there investigations where the target is expected to testify under a grant of use immunity in a proceeding to figure out what happened. Investigations of police officers can work like that, and I’ve heard of it in military and aviation. In the police case I’m trying to remember the use immunity might have been granted after the fact on the theory that the testimony was coerced.

    4. “The right to avoid self-imcrimination does not include a right to kill possible witnesses against one.”

      Boy that sucks, they got to fix that loophole.

  5. Even in a case of deadly self-defense I could well see a requirement to inform the authorities. Similar to requirements to not leave the scene of an auto crash causing more than some threshold damage.

    1. The law is quite similar to hit-and-run laws and those make me uncomfortable as well. Tip to prosecutors in eastern Massachusetts: choose your voir dire questions carefully in cases involving forced reports to the authorities or you might end up with me on the jury.

    2. When the police & prosecutors switch back to arresting, trying, convicting, and asking for harsh punishment against left wing rioters, do let me know.

      Until then? Out “justice” system is broken, and untrustworthy.

      Regardless of what they want, they don’t deserve to get it

  6. “The charges stemmed from defendant fatally stabbing Kendall Anthony on May 19, 2017, following an altercation during which Anthony forbade defendant from entering a store, threatened to beat defendant up, and threw a punch at defendant when he refused to heed his warnings. Defendant dodged the punch and stabbed Anthony once in the chest with a knife.”

    This is a very poor summary of the situation. “Anthony forbade defendant from entering a store”. Whose store? On what grounds was Anthony issuing this order?

    Because if Anthony was acting legally when giving that order, i don’t understand how the jury found for the defendant in the self defense case.

    OTOH, this is a bad law, and I’d argue an unconstitutional one.

    If you attack me, if you put me in a place where self defense becomes necessary, then I owe you nothing.

    If I was a bystander, and saw you injured / dying, I would owe you no legal duty of care. As someone you attacked, I owe you far less than said bystander.

    So, as the other commenters said, what this ruling says is that I should do my best to kill you as part of my legal self defense.

    And no, I’m not going to wait around, or call 9-1-1, or do anything else that would identify me to the police so that some rogue prosecutor who’s opposed to self defense can make my life hell. That’s not a “sign of guilt”, that’s a sign that the legal system is horribly screwed

    1. OTOH, this is a bad law, and I’d argue an unconstitutional one.

      The Constitution says nothing about this.

      1. The 13th Amendment bans involuntary servitude, which such a duty qualifies as.

    2. And no, I’m not going to wait around, or call 9-1-1, or do anything else that would identify me to the police so that some rogue prosecutor who’s opposed to self defense can make my life hell.

      You can take this position, but it’s not constitutionally privileged. Indeed, the state can require you to report ANY act of self-defense that causes injury, so long as state law is clear that self-defense is not a crime. There’s no Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to report innocent conduct.

      1. “There’s no Fifth Amendment privilege to refuse to report innocent conduct.”

        Just a First Amendment right.

        Plus, if self-defense isn’t a crime, and Julian Sanders acted in self defense, why was Julian Sanders on trial for murder? Maybe things are more complicated than your simplistic narrative.

        Finally, I don’t see any relevant difference between the facts of this case and Judge Sabitino’s second illustration. If a victim doesn’t want to get involved in the legal system, they shouldn’t have to.

        1. There is no first amendment right not to report a dangerous sutuation, and the state has a compelling interest in any event.

          Are you seriously arguing that laws mandating reporting of child abuse violate the First Amendment?

          What makes this any different from a First amendment perspective!

          1. There are thousands of much more mundane laws mandating reporting and disclosure to authorities or prosective customers of al kinds of things. Taxes, corporate filings, child abuse, nutritional content of foods, cigarette warnings, all sorts of special laws when selling automobiles, real estate, medical services, all sorts of things. This is no more unconstitutional than the thousands of mandatory reporting and disclosure laws that cover all kinds of businesses and processionals.

            1. And all of those are subject to First Amendment review. And many of those types of laws have been struck down for violating the First Amendment.

          2. “There is no first amendment right not to report a dangerous sutuation”

            Sure there is.

            “and the state has a compelling interest in any event.”

            No it doesn’t.

            “Are you seriously arguing that laws mandating reporting of child abuse violate the First Amendment?”

            Show me a law requiring an ordinary person to report suspicions of child abuse or any other crime and we can discuss it. Those generally happen in highly regulated industries where courts provide less protection for free speech.

            Do you honestly think the government could pass a law requiring everyone to inform on each other and there wouldn’t be any compelled speech implications?

            1. I don’t think the mandatory reporting statutes depend on it being a specialized, regulated industry. Indeed, religious officials, who have MAXIMUM First Amendment protection and NO regualtion, can be required to report.

              Yes, I think the government could make not reporting serious crimes a crime, as long as it allowed a Fifth Amendment exemption for actual criminals. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits it.

              Indeed, based on the tax cases, I think it would even be constitutional to apply such a statute to actual criminals, as long as there was a way of reporting the crime without disclosing their role in it.

              I think the auto accident statutes are an example of this- if you drove drunk and caused an accident by violating the Vehicle Code, you have to report the accident and call the cops’ attention to it, even though you can then assert the Fifth Amendment to questions about what happened.

              You guys seem to think the Fifth Amendment privilege is far broader than it is. The cops can’t require that you give testimony as to criminal acts without giving you immunity. But they absolutely don’t have to grant you a legal privilege to conceal or fail to disclose information that in theory might become evidence in a later prosecution.

              1. See my comment to you below.

                But, for another example: If I see you driving in a dangerous manner, and don’t call 9-1-1 to report you, under your claims I’m guilty of a crime.

                Driving is a privilege, not a right.

                Walking around IS a right, as is self defense.

                So no, you can not legitimately analogize from “laws that apply to drivers” to “laws that apply to everyone.”

                For a simple example: I need a driver’s license to drive. I don’t need a “walker’s license.”

          3. 1: “There is no first amendment right not to report a dangerous sutuation”

            The First Amendment protects against compelled speech. What you’re arguing for is compelled speech. So yes, the 1st Amendment protects against it

            2: “Mandated reporter” laws all apply to people who hold specific jobs, and who agree to receive that burden in order to hold those jobs.

            To the best of my knowledge, there are no generalized “mandated reporter” laws that apply to all American adult citizens. Do you know of any?

        2. Plus, if self-defense isn’t a crime, and Julian Sanders acted in self defense, why was Julian Sanders on trial for murder? Maybe things are more complicated than your simplistic narrative.

          I have no simplistic narrative. I am merely stating what the Constitution privileges and what it doesn’t.

      2. I think you’re wrong here.

        The 5th Amendment protects against self incrimination, and we take this to mean that you can’t be forced to testify against yourself, even if your testimony is “I didn’t do it.”

        The only way I know of to overcome that protection is to give immunity from prosecution for anything you say.

        So, if a State wants to pass a law saying “you must call and report any self defense, but we can not prosecute you for, or even investigate you for, any action you call about”, that would clearly be constitutionally safe.

        But I don’t believe your “you must call the State and tell them about your potential crimes” law will qualify

      3. It’s also smart to call 911. If you call them first, you can get your side of the story on tape, first. Getting it in tape may relieve you of the necessity of testifying in court in order to bring your self defense claim into issue, thus opening themselves up to cross examination (defendants typically have the burden of showing some evidence supporting self defense, at which time in 49 states, the burden shifts to the state to disprove SD beyond a reasonable doubt) (and yes, defendants have had to make that decision).

        Another aspect is that cops are human. That means that they often come to altercations with predispositions about what happened. Getting your story to them first can help your case immensely.

        Finally, failure to call 911 in a SD use of lethal force can often be deemed evidence of consciousness of guilt. You really don’t want the prosecutor arguing that you didn’t call 911 because you knew that what you had done was wrong. Instead, you really, really, want the 911 tape telling the operator that you were in fear of imminent death or great bodily, and you shoot your assailant in self defense.

    3. From the decision:
      ” An argument ensued during which defendant, then forty-seven years old, protested being “disrespect[ed]” by someone who was his junior and barred entry by someone who had no ownership interest in the store.”

      I was thinking the same thing, but this was a Newark strip mall, at night, and sounds like a punk looking for trouble, not the store itself.

    4. In this case, the other party had only his bare hands. The defendant had a knife. His story that he was the completely innocent victim of an attack and is by no means so clear. It appears he was the one who escalated something that was at most a simple non-life-threatening physical altercation into a death.

      If the deceased party had survived to testify, would the jury have believed the self-defense story?

      1. Bare hands can be lethal — FBI records indicate 595 people killed with them in 2015.

        See: https://www.breitbart.com/2nd-amendment/2016/09/26/fbi-twice-as-many-killed-with-bare-hands-than-rifles-in-2015/

    5. If I was a bystander, and saw you injured / dying, I would owe you no legal duty of care.

      You may want to argue that you owe no moral duty of care, but your feelings don’t establish legal duties. The law — not handwaving — determines what legal duties one owes.

      1. I would note that the framing of “owe you a legal duty of care” is wrong. This isn’t a tort action in which the injured person is bringing a claim. This is a criminal offense, in which the state declares that you owe a legal duty to the law, not to the injured person.

      2. No, as a bystander to an innocent injured individual, I DO owe a moral “duty of care”, and would be a vile person not to give it.

        But, as a legal matter, I know of no State that REQUIRES people to give aid in such a situation.

        The most I know of is “Good Samaritan” laws which protect a bystander who chooses to help from negligence lawsuits.

        If you know of something different, do provide a link

        1. MINN. STAT. ANN. § 604A.01

          Subdivision 1.Duty to assist. A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.

          VT. STAT. ANN. Tit. 12, § 519

          A person who knows that another is exposed to grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the same can be rendered without danger or peril to himself or without interference with important duties owed to others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person unless that assistance or care is being provided by others.

          R.I. GEN. LAWS § 11-56-1

          Any person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to, or has suffered, grave physical harm shall, to the extent that he or she can do so without danger or peril to himself or herself or to others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person.

          WIS. STAT. ANN. § 940.34

          Any person who knows that a crime is being committed and that a victim is exposed to bodily harm shall summon law enforcement officers or other assistance or shall provide assistance to the victim.

          1. WIS. STAT. ANN. § 940.34
            Any person who knows that a crime is being committed and that a victim is exposed to bodily harm

            Well, I shot him in self defense. That is not a crime. He was committing a crime, for which I was the potential victim. And I provided assistance to the victim (me) by shooting him.

            So no need to report there

            As for the others:
            So, the MN statute is a Petty misdemeanor:
            § Subd. 4a.Petty misdemeanor.

            “Petty misdemeanor” means a petty offense which is prohibited by statute, which does not constitute a crime and for which a sentence of a fine of not more than $300 may be imposed.

            VT. STAT. ANN. Tit. 12, § 519
            (c) A person who willfully violates subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not more than $100.00.

            R.I. GEN. LAWS § 11-56-1
            Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months, or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.

            RI makes this an actual crime. No one else does. I tried to find anything on RI actually enforcing the law, but my quick search didn’t bring anything up, other than this:

            https://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/good-samaritan-maryland.html

            “It is a well-established rule that ordinarily, in the absence of some special relationship, no legal duty rests on a member of the public to render services to an injured person. So you can immorally but legally let someone you could help suffer and die.”

            “Five states have created an affirmative duty that requires bystanders in emergencies to render assistance. These five states, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire.”

            Other than the RI laws, the other ones you cited have so small an impact that, even if the State tried to enforce them, it would take a special person to challenge the laws, because the cost of appealing would be far greater than the cost of paying teh stupid little fine.

            So I maintain those laws are invalid, absent someone showing that they’ve been appealed up the line and upheld.

            1. I just checked MN law about disabled parking spots:

              >>>
              Subd. 2a.Parking space free of obstruction; penalty.
              The owner or manager of the property on which the designated parking space is located shall ensure that the parking space and associated access aisle are kept free of obstruction. If the owner or manager does not have the parking space properly posted or allows the parking space or access aisle to be blocked by snow, merchandise, or similar obstructions for 24 hours after receiving a warning from a peace officer, the owner or manager is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $500.

              §Subd. 3.Misdemeanor; enforcement.

              A person who violates subdivision 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be fined not less than $100 and not more than $200.
              << 24 hours is $200 more, and the max fine for parking in that spot is only $100 less.

              The reality remains:
              1: It’s a widely accepted principle that absent a prior specific legal duty, you don’t owe someone anything
              2: That is the correct way to do things
              3: Even those who try to change that, aren’t trying very hard
              4: This is a crappy law, a crappy ruling, and I hope it’s appealed, and overturned
              5: Because it is an imposition of involuntary servitude, and so a Constitutional violation

  7. If a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse or EMT was attacked and employed lawful self-defense, they would be required to not only call 911, but actually provide direct aid to save the life of someone who tried to kill them. That’s offensive, particularly because a medical professional wouldn’t normally treat someone close to them due to a conflict, and it opens the professional up to additional negligence and related claims.

    1. I was thinking of the exact same thing, and why MDs don’t have MD plates anymore.

      1. I remember these lessons from my EMT medical legal lectures 40 years ago as why I never applied the Star of Life.

        Apparently it is not well taught anymore for the virtue signaling responders.

  8. Could someone explain why the hypo “As a second illustration, imagine that C, a stranger, suddenly accosts D on a sidewalk at night, brandishes a knife and pulls D into a dark alleyway, … Assume that D reasonably does not report the episode to the police, in order to maintain anonymity. D’s conduct is arguably a logical follow-through of the reasonable use of force to repel an attacker in self-defense. Even if C may appear to be mortally wounded, D may be justified in not remaining at the scene or summoning medical treatment under a reasonable belief that such a call somehow might be traced to D’s cell phone and deprive D of anonymity.” is different from the original case?

    Is the idea that the defendant here wasn’t concerned with anonymity? If the defendant had testified ‘I walked away and didn’t call 911 later because I wanted to remain anonymous’, how is that different from the hypo?

    1. The fact remains that the police were called — someone called them.
      My defense would be that I observed a bystander calling 911.

      1. I understand the law to say you have to remain at the scene. Anybody can call for help, but you and only you have to protect the guy until “emergency assistance personnel” arrive. And if you’re in the middle of nowhere with no phone or no reception, you have to stay there with him until you both are discovered. I imagine most applications of this New Jersey law would be in well-populated places with a potential rescuer within earshot. If the events really did happen in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses, a smart defendant could avoid giving prosecutors enough evidence to prove that the victim was alive but helpless when abandoned.

      2. “My defense would be that I observed a bystander calling 911”
        That would have been a suitable, acceptable, defense. Trouble is, it would have required the defendant to testify. The defendant did not testify. It’s a gamble: putting the defendant on the stand to testify that he knew someone had called 911 would open him up to cross examination, possibly blowing the rest of the case.

        1. 911 calls are logged. Unless the cops were completely crooked, they’d admit they received a call at that time, from that location, for a stabbing. At least in Eastern Massachusetts, location is updated every 30 seconds.

          Besides, the cops showed up — how’d they know to?

          1. Point is, under the statute, the defendant has to show that they observed the 911 call, or somehow knew about it (Say for example someone testified “yes the defendant asked if I called 911”).

            1. The law is badly written. It handles common cases well leaving odd situations at the edges. What if I can’t get help without leaving the scene? What if help is there without having been summoned following the procedure in (c)?

              1. > It handles common cases well leaving odd situations at the edges.

                That tends to be what laws do.

      3. Since that wouldn’t be a valid defense under the statute, that seems like a pretty stupid idea.

        So actually pretty plausible that it’s what you’d do.

  9. I sincerely doubt that in a state where owning a BB gun is a felony, statues can be “construed and applied sensibly within the broad context of general principles of legal responsibility and criminal justice.”

    It’s NJ after all.

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