Self-Defense legislation -- a proposal
I have a proposal for self-defense and "castle" legislation. The usual standard for self-defense is reasonably belief that the other person is going to do something (use deadly force, etc.). The key is the defender's belief and whether that was reasonable.
As a result, you generally can't introduce evidence that the use of force really WAS reasonable, unless the defender knew of that information when he/she acted. Say they shot a knife-wielder outside arm's reach. The defender cannot introduce evidence as to how fast a knife attack can be launched, unless they knew of the evidence at the time. Or in cases where there is much proof the attacker is dangerous -- he had convictions for violence, had seriously maimed others in the past, etc. -- again, not relevant unless the defender had learned of this prior to the defense.
Why not modify statutes so that the defense can be proven either by proof that use of force was justified OR that it was reasonably believed to be so? Self-defense is, after all, justified because no honest citizen should have to die at the hands of a thug -- why now allow proof that that was exactly the case? The reasonable belief standard was meant to give the defender leeway where they have to act quickly. Keep that, but also allow proof that the person snuffed genuinely was a social menace.
I suspect such a bill would have the backing of law enforcement, since LEOs also wind up using force and having to prove justification under the same statutory standards. The local prosecutor might gripe, but the cops would be all for it.