When it comes to a murder under California Penal Code 187 or a manslaughter case or any case, a person always has the ability to argue a defense. Really these defenses, when it comes to murder cases, attempted murder and manslaughter, spin around the facts of the case.
Self-Defense In a PC 187 Murder Charge
Self-defense can be utilized if you have the facts to support it. If a person blindly attacks someone and kills them, you are not going to be able to assert a self-defense without the facts to support it.
In self-defense, when someone is defending themselves, they are entitled to use force which is reasonably necessary to defend them. If they use too much force in their attempt to defend themselves then they have gone too far and could be charged with murder.
This is a question for the jury to decide in terms of whether or not someone has gone above and beyond what they are able to do under the circumstances. A perfect example would be if someone challenges another person to a fist fight and they pull out a gun and shoot them.
This is not self-defense and is not reasonable force. A person can only use deadly force to defend themselves if they are confronted with deadly force. A person has to sit down with an attorney, talk to them, give them all the details, be honest and let them help decide what defenses they might have available.
Alibi Defense for a Penal Code 187 Murder Charge
Alibi is definitely a defense in a murder case. A great case involved someone charged with murder with a million-dollar bail. The attorney found footage of his client at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game to show that during the time the murder supposedly occurred, his client was in the stands of the Dodgers game eating a hot dog.
The case was quickly dismissed. The only problem with an alibi is you have to have real clear and specific evidence that supports the alibi. If you try and make an alibi defense in a murder case and the prosecutor can poke holes in it and make it look like you are lying then that carries with it a big problem.
The rest of the case usually falls and the person will be found guilty of the murder just because they do not believe the alibi defense.
Defense of others is another viable defense in a case. Mutual combat is another theory where two people challenge each other to a fight and someone ends up dying and that could be a self-defense category case. If someone agrees to fight and they lose the fight then that is just too bad for them.
Does California Have A Stand-Your-Ground Law?
California does have a stand-your-ground law. Someone can stand their ground when it comes to defending themselves. If someone attacks a person, they can certainly defend themselves but they can only use reasonable force. They cannot go too far.
A person can protect their property, but they cannot use deadly force to protect their property. There are a lot of cases that came out where someone trespasses and breaks into a house and the owner uses deadly force. In circumstances where someone grabs their TV after they broke into their house and they are running away and the owner shoots them down the street, then that is going to be a problem for the owner because they are protecting property and not protecting life.
If, on the other hand, someone comes into their house in the middle of the night and they are scared for themselves and their family, and they arm themselves and shot that person then they are probably good with a defense of themselves and defense of others. Anyone would be scared in the middle of the night if someone broke into their property. It would be justified to use deadly force under those circumstances.
When it comes to this stand-your-ground concept, there are all kinds of cases on it. It comes down to common-sense and reasonableness. If it looks like a person is doing something reasonable in defending themselves based on the circumstances, the prosecutors are not going to prosecute. If they do, a good defense attorney is going to tear their case apart and they are going to lose.
Los Angeles Murder Defense Lawyer
If, on the other hand, a person is luring someone in, they are saying a bunch of crazy stuff to someone knowing that they are armed with a weapon so that they cause them to attack and they can shoot them, then that would be a case where they cannot stand their ground, where they are basically doing something that is not reasonable and does not make common sense. Contact our California criminal defense lawyers to review your case.
For more information on Potential Defenses To Murder Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.