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Follow up from John Bad Elk.


Dale Eastman:
Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest
“Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting
officer's life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This
premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the
case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where
the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally
accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law 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 right.
What may 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.”
“An arrest made with a defective warrant, or one issued without
affidavit, or one that fails to allege a crime is within jurisdiction, and
one who is being arrested, may resist arrest and break away. lf the
arresting officer is killed by one who is so resisting, the killing will be
no more than an involuntary manslaughter.” Housh v. People, 75
111. 491; reaffirmed and quoted in State v. Leach, 7 Conn. 452;
State v. Gleason, 32 Kan. 245; Ballard v. State, 43 Ohio 349; State v
Rousseau, 241 P. 2d 447; State v. Spaulding, 34 Minn. 3621.
“When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a
right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel
by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense,
his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80;
Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.


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