The Law Of Self Defense Essay

993 words - 4 pages

The Law of Self-defense

We concur with Justice White's interpretation of Tennessee State law. However, we propose that more restrictive standards should be used by policemen when dealing with imminently dangerous circumstances.
The necessity standard that White proposes for governing the use of lethal force strikes the right balance in regulating violence. He insists that the police act reasonably by evaluating whether the felon's interest in life outweighs the state's interest in seizing the felon by lethal force. Because we honor the supreme value of human life, lethal force should only be used when there is a reasonable belief that the felon poses a significant threat to the policeman or society.
More restrictive standards of policing will minimize discretion and prevent unnecessary violence. The decision to impose death on a criminal should be left to the discretion of the judges rather than the police. A slight error in the judgement of the policeman can impose a death penalty on someone who does not deserve it. Furthermore, policemen can be driven to use lethal force because of personal biases and reluctance or incapability to seize the felon through non-violent methods.
White's standard is less restrictive than the standard governing self-defense and the death penalty. The doctrine of self-defense requires the presence of the four conditions- imminence, necessity, proportionality and no intent to punish- whereas White's standard only requires necessity for the use of lethal force. White's standard should be less restrictive than the standard of self-defense because the police have legitimate authority to use violence to maintain order and safety in society. Law asks us to be better than we would otherwise be. Hence the victim of self-defense is required to follow a very high standard before using any sort of violence. The standard of self-defense would be too rigid for the police to follow as it hinders them from performing their primary duty of protecting society. The conditions for imposing the death penalty require guided jury discretion and the fulfillment beyond a reasonable doubt of at least one of the ten statutory aggravating factors. The rules of the jurisprudence of death are different from any other rules of jurisprudence. This is because 'death is different.' Death takes away a person's right to have rights.
Discretion is essential for the effective functioning of law in controlling private violence and judging individuals subjectively. If discretion is expunged from the judicial system, then law would become an automatic gun and fail to take into account the totality of circumstances. However, police discretion should be limited because policemen must make quick decisions while jury discretion is far more calculated and logical.
White's standard allows for too much police discretion. By only using necessity as the standard for the use of lethal force, White gives too much leeway to the police. ...

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