Duress and Necessity

  • Exclusions:
    • Under common law, intentional murder excluded from duress (but maybe not felony murder).
    • Voluntary exposure to situation also not duress.
  • Duress must be imminent.

The Queen v. Dudley & Stephens

  • Killed and ate the cabin boy(!) to stay alive.
  • Mostly cannot excuse killing by necessity.
  • But MPC says can be, depending on weighing the circumstances.
    • 5 lives might be better to save than 1.
    • But no real cases that sustain that, just some dicta.
United States v. Kabat
  • Broke into missile silos
  • Not an imminent threat, plus some political choice likely being made.
  • But might well apply if you new something was going wrong, and stopped it in time.
  • But attacking military/political offices as a protest, usually the courts do not find necessity.
Basically: can commit one crime to prevent another crime, must be reasonably perceived to be that way (Reasonable Mistake OK). Political choices iffy. Closely causal and imminent threat.
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