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What is justifiable homicide?

What is justifiable homicide?

Criminal charges were recently dropped against the Bronx cab driver who beat his wife’s would be rapist to death last May. Mamadou Diallo initially faced assault and weapons charges after bludgeoning Earl Nash to death with a tire iron. Nash was a career criminal who had knocked on the door and pushed his way into the Diallo apartment in the Claremont Village neighborhood. He proceeded to punch Diallo’s wife, Nenegale, several times in the face, telling her he wanted to rape her as he tore clothes off of her body. A Diallo cousin who was also in the apartment at the time, helped fight off Nash and he eventually fled the apartment.

Diallo’s wife had immediately called her husband after the attacker fled and told him what had happened. Diallo, who had been out parking his car, rushed in and met Nash at the elevator. When his wife pointed at Nash, saying he was the attacker, Diallo proceeded to beat Nash for two minutes. Nash later died from his wounds in a hospital, which led to the death being ruled a homicide in August.

Happily for Diallo, this was all caught on security video. The story was corroborated by witnesses and investigators also spoke with the Nash family. Once the investigation was complete and all the evidence was presented to the court, Diallo was eventually cleared of all wrongdoing.

There are actually many different categories of homicide in New York, including murder (the most serious charge), manslaughter, felony murder and justifiable homicide.

What is justifiable homicide?

  • Justifiable homicide is an act of self-defense or situation of similar circumstance. In these cases it is not considered a criminal act. Generally, the person who kills another must be reasonably sure that killing that person is absolutely necessary.
  • Justifiable homicide may apply to police, other lawmen or the military. In this case is a homicide commanded or authorized by law. These killings should be considered justifiable, without prejudice and within the scope of their duty – this point has become controversial in recent years because of the increased profile of cases where citizens have been shot by authorities during traffic stops and other non-felony situations.
  • It also includes judges who hand down sentences and a public official who carries out a death sentence.
  • This is not to be confused with a crime of passion, a plea of insanity, a plea of intoxication, or a plea of negligence.

There is no current data from New York State on the number of justifiable homicides that occur each year, but, historically speaking, the number is higher among law enforcement officials than private citizens. If you or someone you love ended up involved in a situation where a death occurred or you had to defend yourself, make sure you are working with a skilled attorney with experience in criminal defense.

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