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State v. Green Illustrates Need for Self Defense in New York City Criminal Cases

A case out of Georgia recently highlighted the importance of a strong theory of defense for a person charged with a crime in New York.

In State v. Green, a man who was simply defending himself was charged with murder and could have faced severe penalties had the charges not been appealed and the indictment dismissed.
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While self-defense is most commonly considered usable in cases of murder on Long Island, it can apply to any violent crime, such as assault and battery.

Many states have a “Stand Your Ground” or “castle doctrine” law that allows for people to defend themselves if they are in fear for their lives. In most cases, if a suspect initiates physical violence, the victim can use force in return. The laws in some states are more conservative than others.

In New York, a person may defend themselves, but also has a right to retreat rather than use deadly force. Deadly force can be used if the person reasonably suspects the offender is using or about to use deadly force on them. It requires more calculation that other states’ laws.

There are many situations in which self-defense is necessary and in Green’s case, this is one of them. According to court documents, Green was in the kitchen of a house he rented from a couple. He was preparing dinner with a butcher knife while having a conversation with the wife.

When the husband saw this, he was enraged and told Green he was kicking him out and stormed off to get his money to refund it. In obvious fear, Green held the knife by his side, not knowing what the man would return with.

When he came back into the kitchen, he grabbed Green’s wrists and head-butted him before the knife went into his leg. It punctured the femoral artery, causing him to lose massive amounts of blood en route to dying.

As a result, Green was indicted on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and using a knife during a felony. His attorney filed a motion to dismiss the indictment based on a self-defense theory that seems evident. A judge agreed, but the state appealed.

The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the trial court’s decision and dismissed the indictment, agreeing that Green acted in self defense, was in fear for his safety and didn’t even attempt to stab the man, who was the aggressor.

Cases like this happen every day. Or a person breaks into a victim’s home in an attempt to rob the homeowners, but they use force to protect themselves and end up injuring or killing a suspect and end up charged themselves. It’s ludicrous and that’s why defendants in this situation in Great Neck require a dedicated attorney to stand by their side in order to ensure justice is done in every case.

The Law Offices of Ira S. Newman provides criminal defense legal counsel in New York City, Long Island, Great Neck and throughout the area. Call 516-487-7375 or contact us through the website.

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