The Limits to a Citizen's Use of Deadly Fore in The Value of Life: The Constitutional Limits of Citizen's Use of Deadly Force by Patrick F. Hubbard

A pressing issue that has been increasing its prevalence in modern day society is the limits to a citizen‘s use of deadly force This topic is further explored in the law review article “The value of life: The constitutional limits of citizen’s use of deadly force” by Patrick E Hubbard.  Hubbard discusses the constitutionality of the use of deadly force, and how it applies to the prevention of crime, protection from intrusion into ones “castle”, and protection in regards to a confrontation with an attacker.

The law review starts with discussing the value of life progressing into the states monopoly of deadly force, constitutional limitations, the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and fourteenth amendments etc. Hubbard’s discussion provides readers with an in-depth discussion of a modern issue plaguing society

The article begins with brining the Treyvon Martin and George Zimmerman case to attention. Hubbard explains that it is important to clarify and understand when it is appropriate for a citizen to exercise deadly force, He states that all too often, people will exercise deadly force when the individual being targeted did not possess a threat to the shooter or others.

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In addition, the article explains that there is a “monopoly of legitimate use” of deadly force, meaning that if the state authorizes the use of deadly force as legitimate, then it is not unconstitutional. However, since most individuals highly value their life, a given society must put effort into protecting it. Hubbard brings up an interesting point, one connecting the monopoly of legitimate use, and valuing life.

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He traces back the philosopher Thomas Hobbes‘s social contract theory, stating that we as American citizens give up some of our “rights” to be in turn, protected by Our government. After providing some background knowledge on said subject, the law review later delves into “the right to life”. This is pertinent because “life is the most fundamental constitutional right of all” which makes death, by default, the ultimate deprivation of freedom Hubbard explains that if an individual is dead, then none of the amendments hold any value The law review suggests that since the right to life is so imponant, one must strictly limit the use of violent force and that the second, fourth, fifth, sixth, eight and fourteenth amendments support that life is the most constitutional right and that the use of deadly force must be limited. The second amendment provides individuals the right to bear arms (for self-defense), the fourth prohibits “unreasonable seizures”, the fifth, sixth and fourteenth amendment ensures due process of the law, and finally, the eight amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment.

As stated previously, the home is often regarded as one‘s “castle” a place that is immune from societal and governmental intrusion (unless a warrant is filed), People are often advised to retreat when put into a serious confrontation, rather than use deadly force However, it is not realistic to ask someone to retreat from their home, a place where they thought they would be safe. The laws in regards to home intrusion are varied across the nation, and are indigenous among the states. Many states have adopted statutes that state that and individual may use deadly force if it is reasonable and lawful, meaning that their life (or others) is at stake and that they could be facing an imminent, peril death if the use of violence is not exercised Some states have also adopted statutes stating that if an individual forcibly enters another’s dwelling, that in itself is unlawful, and provides the intent to commit an unlawful act, or the use of violence.

The lines become blurred when states have different interpretations of the law, leaving this matter as varied as it is. For example some states accept the unlawful intrusion into the home as a reason to use deadly force. In State v, Duncan, the man who was shot (Spicer) did not present a threat, or any type of imminent death, however he ignored the homeowners (Duncan) request to leave the property, and continued to advance closer to the homeowner who was hearing a shotgun. These types of statutes enacted in states such as Florida and South Carolina essentially give individuals the right to choose the option of deadly force in the situation where they are faced anywhere from a serious- a nonviolent offender. Hubbard believes that statutes like these “undervalue” the lives of intruders.

He also explains that it enhances defunct views that state that the use of deadly force is always permitted in the instance of burglary/robbery, or that by committing the act of intrusion, the criminal gives up his or her right to be considered a law-abiding persons For states that do not have statutes like Florida and South Carolina, the application of deadly force is scrutinized because in many cases the use of force did not match the amount of threat being presented In conclusion, the constitutionality of a citizen’s right to exercise deadly for is still unclear, and is varied nationally. Throughout this law review Hubbard took an approach more in favor of the individual committing the crime, emphasizingjust how important it is to hold the right to life in high value.

Though I am generally a person who would not advocate violence, and would like to avoid it at all costs, I cannot say that I completely agree with him, rather I side more with societies “defunct” views, Though I believe that Duncan v State was unconstitutional, and was an example of the use of violence exceeding the amount of threat presented, I tend to be more in favor of statutes enacted in Florida and South Carolina If I was in the situation of Duncan, I would not have killed Spicer, rather I would have called the authorities. However, ifI was alone, sleeping in my dwelling only to be woken up to a man in my room, I would not hesitate to point a gun in his direction, If the man did not heed my warnings of leaving my house, and advanced toward me, I would most likely shoot even if] did not see him carrying a weapon

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The Limits to a Citizen's Use of Deadly Fore in The Value of Life: The Constitutional Limits of Citizen's Use of Deadly Force by Patrick F. Hubbard. (2022, Jul 19). Retrieved from

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