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People v. Young

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Young was charged with assault after unknowingly attacking two cops who he thought were harming an eighteen-year-old boy.

     

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A person is guilty of assault when he intentionally causes harm to another. 

    Facts.

    Young saw an eighteen-year-old boy being attacked by middle-aged men and decided to attack the middle-aged men. The men turned out to be cops trying to arrest the boy and was charged with assault. 

    Issue.

    Can a person be found guilty of assault when he intentionally caused harm to another but had justifiable reason to do so?

    Held.

    No. Young cannot be convicted of assault for his actions when he has justification for causing harm to another person. 

    Dissent.

    (Valente, J.) Protecting an individual through assault is justified only where the person has a legal duty to do so. Young should be charged with assault because he had no legal duty to protect the boy.

     

    Discussion.

    Mistake of fact is sufficient defense for assault. 

     


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