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People v. Quesada

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Quesada (defendant) was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after shooting and killing another individual who had previously burglarized his home.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A defendant cannot use use deadly force in self defense during the commission of a non violent felony that poses no threat of bodily harm.

    Facts.

    Quesada’s house was burglarized while he was not home, with several items being taken. Quesada learned that the person who burglarized his home was a man named Edie. Quesada and his neighbor, who had informed him the culprit may be Edie, devised a plan to recover the property. Edie brought the stereo he had stolen from Quesada’s home over to the neighbors house to sell. Quesada and a friend were there to confront Edie about stealing the stereo and Edie proceeded to flee to his vehicle. Quesada’s friend pursued, grabbing inside the vehicle. Quesada, in fear that Edie would hurt the friend, fired several shots at the vehicle, striking Edie in the chest. Quesada was charged with murder and ultimately convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Quesada argued that his defense was necessary because it was during the commission of a dangerous felony, the burglary.

    Issue.

    Whether a defendant can use use deadly force in self defense during the commission of a non violent felony that poses no threat of bodily harm.

    Held.

    No. A defendant cannot use deadly force in self defense during the commission of a non violent felony that poses no threat of bodily harm.

    Discussion.

    A defendant cannot use deadly force during the commission of a non violent felony such as the burglary of an unoccupied dwelling at night. The defendant cannot apprehend or use force against the burglar suspected of stealing his property because there is no risk of bodily harm for a burglary of an unoccupied dwelling. Here, Edie did not, and could not, pose any harm to Quesada during the burglary because Quesada was not home at the time of the burglary. Deadly force cannot be justified for the simple purposes of apprehending a person suspected of stealing from another person's home.


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