Defense of anothercourtmartialdefenselawyers11.02.11 2

A defendant may act in defense of a third person in a situation where the third person could use self-defense to protect him or herself.  The defendant must show that the third person was under an immediate threat of harm, that the defendant reasonably believed that force was necessary to protect the third person from the harm, and that the amount of force used was in proportion to the amount of harm the third person would have suffered.

In United States v. Regalado, 33 C.M.R. 12 (C.M.A. 1963), the Court held that a person who acts in defense of another has no greater right than the party defended.   See also United States v. Hernandez, 19 C.M.R. 822 (A.F.B.R. 1955). In United States v. Cole, 54 M.J. 572 (Army Ct. Crim. App. 2000), the defendant who used deadly force against was not entitled to argue defense of another where the victim did not attack or make an offer of violence to the defendant’s wife.

Accident & Defense of Another

In United States v. Jenkins, 59 M.J. 893 (Army Ct. Crim. App. 2004), the Court found that when the defendant’s friend because unconscious and ceased to resist, he effectively withdrew, giving the defendant the right to exercise self-defense on his behalf. See also United States v. Lincoln, 38 C.M.R. 128 (C.M.A. 1967) and United States v. Smith, 33 C.M.R. 3 (C.M.A. 1963).