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There are now 7 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Andrew M. Farrell says

    Suppose I’m in a car fleeing a road-rager that is shooting at me and I strike and kill a pedestrian in my flight. Does my attempt to save my life absolve me from the recklessness of my driving? Is the person trying to kill me guilty of felony murder?

    • If I’m remembering right, necessity means you *didn’t* actually commit a crime – assuming you had no better option, you wouldn’t be guilty of murder.

      The road-rager *would* be guilty of felony murder, yes, given that shooting at someone driving recklessly will generally be considered a felony.

      • Actually I was confusing myself on the term necessity, it doesn’t exactly cover that.

        You *might* be able to claim duress depending on the wording – clearly if you didn’t flee or take other action, you’d be killed, so that might apply.

        If not, I would expect that if you could justify lethal self-defense, you could also justify getting the hell out, but I don’t know if that’s codified. You might have to rely on prosecutorial discretion.

        • From what I recall of previous chapters, it’s not considered acceptable to kill someone to save yourself by reason of necessity or duress, and self-defense would only apply if you killed the guy attacking you, not bystanders.

          • I’m super late here, but in the previous chapters, the intent was to kill the other person to save their own life. Here the intent would be to get away by driving fast, which incidentally lead to the death. I imagine that this distinction is important.

            • The important question is: Did you hit the pedestrian to avoid being shot, or did you hit the pedestrian on accident? If you saw them blocking an offramp from the highway, and you thought it was your only chance of escape, so you ran them down, you’re going to jail. If you hit them by accident, you’re not. Your fast driving is not considered reckless when you do it by necessity. So as long as you had no intent to hit the pedestrian, it falls all on the head of the road-rager.

    • I know this is way late, date wise, but the answer is, the road rager committed felony murder, if it occurred in a state that recognizes felony murder.

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