Dario Rosati wrote:
In Italy this does not apply.
Even if you are one of the rare private person with a gun and the permission to use it, against a knifed attacker you CAN'T shoot to kill, no matter what, unless this is the last and only possible resort.
Even police should follow this general rule.
You must shoot in the air or in legs/arms first... or you'll be prosecuted for overreaction and intentional homicide.
In California, this does not apply. Even the police do not follow this "general rule." Police, security guards and private citizens should never fire warning shots or aim for limbs. They're taught to shoot at center mass, or the upper chest. Assuming the police officer, security guard or private citizen shoots and kills an attacker with a knife, common sense should dictate that it was an "intentional" homicide. However, the real question is whether or not it was a justifiable homicide.
A year or two ago, a man walked into a local supermarket and killed two people with a samurai sword. Others ran away. When the police officer showed up, he shot and killed the attacker with the sword. There was no warning shot nor did he aim for the arms or legs. It was an intentional and justifiable homicide. There was no public outcry about excessive police force or brutality.
Let's assume there was an armed security officer or private citizen who shot the attacker. Even if the District Attorney was foolish enough to bring charges against them for "intentional" homicide, its a safe bet that there isn't a jury that would convict them.
If you have the legal right to kill someone, it doesn't matter how you do it. You could snap their neck with your bare hands, shoot them or even run them over with your car.
He killed all three in a mess of blood, flesh and broken limbs, reporting only minor scratches himself; a whitness said that he pursued the third down the stairs and snapped his neck from behind when he was trying to escape, and this costed him 20 years of jail for overreaction and intentional homicide, even if he told his intention was to stop, not kill, the third, and that he was worrying for the life of his battered wife.
I never defended anyone in a courtroom, but I could fuck up and still do better than the kung fu sensei's lawyer. Again, it isn't an issue of intention, but whether or it was justifiable. And you could argue that it was justifiable because the third attacker was a fleeing felon. While not a direct threat to the sensei, he is still a threat to others (ie if he escapes this time, he could hurt someone else later).
You could also argue that it was technically manslaughter. The sensei didn't go home thinking that he was going to kill the people who tied up his wife and were demanding money. Since he didn't know they were there in the first place, there's no premediation on his part. He could have been caught up in the heat of the moment.
Even with his martial art skills, he still can't be held to a higher standard. If a judge tried to impose a higher standard, they'd have to define the minimum standard. And as we all know, the time honored "what does rank mean" debate rages on. People will still debate that topic until the cows come home.
And even if a judge were to determine what the minimum standard was, it would bring up a host of other legal issues. Not only would your rank be recognized in Japan or where ever, it would also be recognized by a government entity. Then they would have to dive into another mess regarding licenses and examiners.
Ultimately, you have to justify your actions. Unfortunately, it seems the kung fu sensei was not able to do so (that's another issue; if there's a language barrier, then he could always claim racial discrimination). The kung fu sensei should have done one of the following:
1. hire a better lawyer.
2. instead of fearing for the life of his wife who was tied up while the third attacker was fleeing, he should have said he was afraid for the life of the witness.
3. drag the body of the third attacker closer to his wife.
4. he should have killed the witness - that way, the police only get to hear his side of the story (see #2).
better to be judged by 12 than be carried by 6,