QUESTION: CAN A PERSON DEFEND A THIRD PARTY?
ANSWER: YES. A PERSON MAY ACT IN DEFENSE OF ANOTHER, BUT MAY NOT USE
MORE FORCE THAN THE PERSON DEFENDED WAS LAWFULLY ENTITLED TO USE IN HIS
OWN DEFENSE RCM 916 (e) 5.
2. Use of nondeadly force. The elements here are: (1) that the accused apprehended, upon
reasonable grounds, that bodily harm was about to be inflicted wrongfully on him; and (2) that the
accused believed that the force used "was necessary for protection against bodily harm, provided that the
force used by the accused was less than force reasonably likely to produce death or grievous bodily
harm." RCM 916(e) (3) Self-defense, then, may be used against the lesser forms of assault. U.S. v.
Sawyer, 4 MJ 64 (CMA 1977).
The accused responded by hitting the assailant...who died. Although the accused didn't fear death or
grievous bodily harm, he was still acting in self-defense. Since the accused acted lawfully, by using
nondeadly force to repel an assault consummated by a battery, he could not be convicted of any offense
causing the victim's death. (click here for a discussion of 'defense of others' as a defense)
Ft. Hood – When his court martial for premeditated murder reconvenes today at noon, Major Abu Nidal Malik Hasan will be on the hot seat to explain his “defense of others” strategy in the murderous Nov. 9, 2009 assault that left 13 dead and 32 wounded at this sprawling military post.
Yesterday, on Tuesday, June 4, Major Hasan, a former Army psychiatrist, told Col. Tara Osborn, his judge, that he intended to defend the lives of the Mullah Omar, a leader of the Taliban in the Emirate of Afghanistan from troopers who were being readied to deploy to that troubled region.
He was also scheduled to deploy there, an assignment he loathed because of his deep religious commitments to the tenets of Islam and the jihadist regimen espoused by the Taliban. Their doctrine is to take the sword in one hand, the Quaran in the other, and give infidels the choice of conversion, a swift death, or the acceptance of a life of dhimmitude in which they may not own property, employ others, enter into contracts, vote or enjoy any of the benefits of full citizenship.
Judge Osborn was a pains to clarify his meaning. She elicited responses from him in which he affirmed that though his victims were in central Texas at a U.S. Army base, he took deadly aim with his Fabrique Nacional 5.7mm pistol and fired with an aim to kill them in defense of the lives of Mullah Omar and “a group of leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
The judge gave him 24 hours to write a “proffer” of the facts of the case relevant to his defense of others strategy after he at first demurred, saying he needed time to compose a response.
She remonstrated with him, reminding him that she had warned him on Monday, June 3, when she granted his motion to represent himself against the charges of premediated murder and attempted murder that all the same rules apply to him as they do to attorneys.