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Citation. 66 III. 2d 333
Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Francis Unger (Defendant), escaped from a minimum security prison after he had been threatened by fellow inmates.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The defense of necessity is available to prison escape situations where the prisoner is choosing to break the law to avoid a greater evil.
Issue. Did the Defendant introduce sufficient evidence to support the affirmative defense of necessity?
Held. Yes. In prison escape situations, the defense of necessity shall be submitted to a jury where five conditions have been met: (1) the prisoner is faced with a specific threat of death, forcible sexual attack, or substantial bodily injury in the immediate future; (2) there is no time to complain to authorities or a history of futile complaints; (3) there is no time or opportunity to resort to the courts; (4) there is no evidence of violence against prison personnel or other innocent people in the escape; and (5) the prisoner reports to the authorities once he has reached a position of safety. The Defendant set forth sufficient evidence to establish these elements of the defense of necessity.
Discussion. Necessity is an available defense in prison escape situations, provided all of the elements of the defense are proved.