Justifiable Homicide

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Justifiable homicide is a legal term used in criminal law to describe a killing that is considered lawful and justified under certain circumstances.

The exact definition of justifiable homicide may vary depending on the jurisdiction. Still, generally, it refers to a killing that is committed in self-defense or defense of others or the performance of certain duties, such as those of a police officer or a soldier.

In cases of self-defense or defense of others, justifiable homicide may be allowed if the individual reasonably believed that they or someone else was in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death and that deadly force was necessary to prevent the harm. The force used in self-defense or defense of others must be proportionate to the threat faced.

In cases where the killing is committed in the performance of duties, justifiable homicide may be allowed if the individual acted within the scope of their authority and used force that was necessary and proportionate to the situation.

It is important to note that while a killing may be considered justifiable under certain circumstances, this does not necessarily mean that no legal consequences will follow. The individual who committed the killing may still be required to demonstrate that their actions were justified in a court of law and may be subject to investigation and prosecution to ensure that the use of deadly force was lawful and appropriate.

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Last Modified: 03/09/2023


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