Archive | Justifiable use of force

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State v. RSA

State v. RSA, 2015 MT 202 (July 21, 2015) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether RSA was subject to pretrial punishment in violation of his due process rights when the district court held a critical stage hearing at which RSA was not present; (2) whether sufficient evidence supports RSA’s conviction of felony robbery; and (3) whether the district court erred in ruling that RSA’s affirmative defense of justifiable use of force required RSA to testify at trial.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) yes; and (3) no.


Facts: RSA has a lengthy documented history of mental health issues, substantive abuse, and institutionalization. He has a juvenile record as well as an adult criminal history.

In September 2011, RSA stole a tool set from an Ace Hardware store.…

State v. King

State v. King, 2013 MT 139 (May 28, 2013) (5-0) (Wheat, J.)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court properly excluded evidence of justifiable use of force as a defense to the charge of deliberate homicide, and (2) whether the district court’s exclusion of evidence of the victim’s mental health history violated King’s Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.