"I was only
following orders" is referred to as the "Nuremberg
As all those who were judged
guilty for Crimes
Against Humanity found out, "I was
only following orders" is NOT a valid defense. Brought to
the world's attention then and there, is the concept that one has a
moral and legal DUTY to
disobey an illegal (immoral) order.
Defense" phrase could have just as easily been:
How many times do government
employees justify their actions that are clearly violative of
Unalienable Rights by stating:
- "We've always done it this way;"
- "My boss said so;"
- "It was the law."
News Flash for all government employees,
agents, officers, and police officers!
we've always done it this way";
- "Because my boss said so";
- "Because it's the law";
- "I'm only following orders"
The Nuremberg concept says
YOU are responsible just as if you chose to violate those rights on
your own. You can NOT indemnify
yourself by putting the blame on others. IT WAS YOUR ACTION and YOUR
action alone that violated the Unalienable Rights of the Citizen.
If you attempt to arrest a
Citizen when you have NO authority to do so, (like when a law has no
authority), The Citizen is JUSTIFIED in resisting your attempts to
arrest him. How much force is the Citizen allowed to use in
resisting your unlawful attempt at quashing his or her Liberty?
|JOHN BAD ELK v. U S, 177
U.S. 529 (1900)
It is plain from this
review of the subject ... that the
policemen had the right to arrest
this plaintiff in error, without
warrant, and that, in order to accomplish such arrest, they had
right to show and use their pistols so far as was necessary for that
purpose, and that the plaintiff in
error had no right to resist such
Police have NO authority to
arrest without a warrant, or direct observation of misdemeanor
crimes. Without authority, plaintiff was within plaintiff's
rights to resist arrest.
|That it was a material
error, it seems to us, is
equally plain. It placed the transaction in a false light before the
jury, and denied to the plaintiff
in error those rights which he
As the charges of the crime
were given the jury by the lower court, the charges denied the
plaintiff his right to resist unwarranted arrest.
|The occasion of the
trouble originated in Gleason's orders
to arrest him, and in the announced intention on the part of the
policemen, which they endeavored to accomplish, to arrest the plaintiff
in error that night and take him to the agency, and all that followed
that announcement ought to be viewed in the light of such proclaimed
intention. And yet the charge
presented the plaintiff in error to the
jury as one having no right to make any resistance to an arrest by
these officers, although he had
been guilty of no offense, and it gave
the jury to understand that the officers, in making the attempt, had
the right to use all necessary force to overcome any and all opposition
that might be made to the arrest, even to the extent of killing the
individual whom they desired to take into their custody.
The plaintiff was "guilty of no offense."
| Instead of
saying that plaintiff in error
had the right to use such
force as was
absolutely necessary to resist an attempted illegal arrest, the
were informed that the policemen had the right to use all necessary
force to arrest him, and that he had no right to resist.
Plaintiff "had the right to use such force as was
absolutely necessary to resist an attempted illegal arrest."
Force in resisting illegal arrest is justified if commensurate with the
force used in an attempt at illegal arrest.
| He, of course,
had no right to unnecessarily injure, much less to kill, his assailant;
but where the officer is killed in the
course of the disorder which
naturally accompanies an attempted
arrest that is resisted, the
looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer
had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had
no such right.
If the officer had no right
(warrant) for the arrest, resisting arrest is not a crime.
| What might be murder in the first case
might be nothing more than manslaughter in the
other, or the facts might show
that no offense had been committed.
If an officer uses enough
force in an illegal
an officer is justified.
|The plaintiff in error was
undoubtedly prejudiced by this error in the
charge, and the judgment of the court below must therefore be reversed,
and the case remanded with instructions to grant a new trial.
The court did not instruct
the jury properly upon the plantiff's right to resist illegal arrest.