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Brown v. Martinez

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 68 N.M. 271, 361 P.2d 152

Brief Fact Summary. Brown (Plaintiffs) brought an action for injuries sustained when shot while stealing watermelons. The District Court for McKinley County (New Mexico) ruled in favor of Martinez (Defendant), the property owner. Plaintiffs appealed.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. There is no privilege to use any force calculated to cause death or serious bodily injury when only property is threatened.

Facts. The property owner shot and injured Plaintiff when he and several other boys had trespassed onto the Defendant’s land to steal watermelons. The Defendant testified that he only intended to scare the boys when he fired the rifle. Upon firing the weapon, however, he struck one of the fleeing boys in the back of his left leg causing considerable injury.

Issue. Was the use of a firearm to prevent trespass or theft a reasonable one?

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