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Criminal Law Conversations$
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Paul H. Robinson, Stephen Garvey, and Kimberly Kessler Ferzan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199861279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199861279.001.0001

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Self-Defense and the Psychotic Aggressor

Self-Defense and the Psychotic Aggressor

(p.364) (p.365) 17. Self-Defense and the Psychotic Aggressor
Criminal Law Conversations

George P. Fletcher

Luis E. Chiesa

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an authoritative overview of self-defense against the psychotic aggressor. More specifically, it examines whether one can justifiably kill a faultless, insane assailant to save himself or another from imminent and serious harm. It considers the disagreement among scholars as to whether the defensive response should be considered justified or merely excused, or whether the specific ground of acquittal should be self-defense or necessity. The chapter includes comments by some of the nation's top legal scholars from the field of criminal law, tackling topics such as proportionality, self-defense against wrongful attack, justification of homicide against innocent aggressors without denying their innocence, and problems with the autonomy theory of self-defense.

Keywords:   self-defense, psychotic aggressor, necessity, criminal law, proportionality, wrongful attack, justification, homicide, innocence, autonomy theory

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