This lesson covers the subject of defense of others. In many respects an actor's right to defend another parallels his or her right to defend himself or herself. However, there are some specific exceptions and nuances that must be understood. It is the purpose of this lesson to cover those specifics and nuances in the context of some classic scenarios.
The justification defense of defense of others derives from two or three analogous old common law defenses: defense of self, prevention of crime, and perhaps protection of property. This lesson seeks to inform the student on the relationship of the defense of others to those other defenses. Although familiarity with those other defenses might assist a student working the lesson, one could learn about these other defenses from the lesson in the first instance.
The lesson contrasts the common law rules relating to the defense of others with the Model Penal Code provisions, as applied in recurring scenarios. The lesson also looks at jury instructions on defense of others. And, finally, the lesson focuses on the special rules relating to the duty to retreat in the context of the defense of others.