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NCJ Number: 67301 Find in a Library
Title: LEGITIMATE DEFENSE AND SELF-DEFENSE
Journal: POLICE NATIONALE  Issue:109  Dated:(MARCH 1979)  Pages:17-24
Author(s): G DENIS
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: France
Annotation: THE CONCEPT OF LEGITIMATE SELF-DEFENSE AS IT HAS DEVELOPED IN FRANCE IS DISCUSSED.
Abstract: CITIZENS HAVE FOR CENTURIES HAD THE RIGHT TO RESPOND WITH FORCE WHEN THE AGGRESSION IS UNCALLED FOR, THE MENACE IS IMMINENT, AND THE REACTION IS IN PROPORTION TO THE ATTACK. THE LAW IS NOT INTENDED TO PROTECT THOSE WHO WANT TO TAKE VENGEANCE BY USING THE LAW TO THEIR ADVANTAGE. SELF-DEFENSE IS LEGAL AGAINST PERPETRATORS OF VIOLENT THEFTS, BUT THIS USE OF SELF-DEFENSE HAS BEEN ABUSED IN RECENT YEARS BY CITIZENS WHO OVERREACT TO GROWING VIOLENT CRIME. IN FACT, A SELF-DEFENSE INDUSTRY HAS SPRUNG UP, PRODUCING GADGETS AND ENCOURAGING FORMATION OF SUCH GROUPS AS THE ASSOCIATION FOR LEGITIMATE DEFENSE. IN THIS INSECURE ATMOSPHERE, TWO CAMPS HAVE DEVELOPED: THE JURISTS WHO SUPPORT LIMITS ON THE JUSTIFIABILITY OF SELF-DEFENSE AND THE IRRATIONAL SUPPORTERS OF CITIZENS' RIGHT TO KILL IN DEFENSE OF FAMILY AND PUBLIC ORDER AT THE SLIGHTEST HINT OF AGGRESSIVE INTENT. AS A RULE, JURIES REFUSE TO CONVICT INDIVIDUALS WHO BELIEVED THEMSELVES THREATENED EVEN WHEN THE PROVOCATION FOR SELF-DEFENSE WAS RELATIVELY MINOR; INDIVIDUALS CONVICTED USUALLY RECEIVE SUSPENDED SENTENCES. BECAUSE OF A RECENT BILL PASSED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, IT IS AT LEAST THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE FOR WOUNDED ROBBERS TO DEMAND DAMAGES FROM PERSONS WHO WOUNDED THE ROBBERS WHILE PROTECTING THEIR BESIEGED PROPERTY. FURTHERMORE, A BREACH HAS DEVELOPED BETWEEN JURIES OF THE PEOPLE, WHO TEND TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE VICTIM OF THEFT STRIKING BACK, AND PROFESSIONAL JUDGES, WHO FEEL THAT MURDEROUS INTENTIONS OF THIEVES ASCERTAINED BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT. THE GOVERNMENT HAS WARNED OF THE DANGERS OF INAPPROPRIATE SELF-DEFENSE, BUT CITIZENS ARGUE THAT THE POLICE ARE INEFFECTIVE. MORE EFFICIENT USE OF POLICE THROUGH IMPROVED TECHNIQUES AND MOBILITY AS WELL AS NATIONAL ACTION TO RESTORE THE POPULATION'S FEELINGS OF SECURITY ARE TO BE RECOMMENDED. NOTES ARE SUPPLIED. --IN FRENCH. (KMD)
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; France; Judges; Jury decisionmaking; Lawful use of force; Laws and Statutes; Personal Security/Self Protection; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Self defense
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67301

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