More Objective Law in Arizona

 Posted by on 13 July 2010 at 8:20 am  Firearms, Law
Jul 132010

Our friend William E. Perry is an attorney in Arizona who has worked as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. He recently helped establish a new legal standard for being able to invoke self-defense within the state of Arizona.

As he explained to us at OCON:

The Arizona Supreme Court recently decided a case in which they explicitly ruled that self defense is tested by an objective standard, rather than a subjective one. The case is called State v. Adam Scott King. They also made rulings about the amount of evidence necessary to have the jury instructed on self defense, and overturned a decades long line of cases that required that self defense be the sole motivation of someone who acts to defend himself.

This decision applies only in Arizona, but could be a model for other states with similar statutes.

Objectivist lawyer William E. Perry wrote the briefs for the defense in the case and argued it before the Arizona Supreme Court.

The key passage of the AZ Supreme Court decision can be found here (“State v. Adam Scott King”) in Paragraph 12:

We conclude that the sole motivation requirement no longer applies because § 13-404(A), by its terms, does not require that self defense be the defendant’s sole motivation for employing self defense. The statute no longer turns on the defendant’s subjective motivations, but instead focuses on the reaction of an objective “reasonable person.” Thus, the sole question is whether a reasonable person in the defendant’s circumstances would have believed that physical force was “immediately necessary to protect himself.” A.R.S. § 13-404(A).

Although I am not a lawyer, the shift away from the prior subjective standard to the more objective “reasonable man” standard looks like a very good move in the direction of more objective law.

Congratulations, Bill!

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