1. logandanger10
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    logandanger10 New Member

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    How to have a character kill and not get arrested.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by logandanger10, Apr 30, 2012.

    So I have a character, he is an everyman type of guy. The story is a modern day western dealing with duels, bandits and treasure and all the good ole' western stuff. At some point my character is going to be deputized due to a kidnap situation. I figure this would let him off the hook if he had to defend himself. Is there any other way to have my character not be a murderer, or be labeled a criminal himself? I thought the deputization would fit with the western theme, but I was wondering if anyone had any other ideas.
     
  2. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    you chould have it be a self defense shooting. its not murder to kill someone in defense of life and limb. this verys by state and nation, but in most free contries the right to self defense is reconized.
     
  3. logandanger10
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    logandanger10 New Member

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    I thought about that as well, I did not know how well that would hold up, nor do I want him to have to go to court or anything to clear his name...although that might actually work to tie up the ending. Thanks for your input!
     
  4. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    He could always hide the body. Then no one will ever know...
     
  5. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    true, self defense shootings do not alwase go to court. some of it depends on the location and how clear and dry it was. also for police their is almost alwase an investigation of the shooting too.
     
  6. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    If he's "just a guy" he might not have the credentials to be a sworn police officer. However, he could be a bounty hunter. That just involves licensing, aand there are special protections that come with that job.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Are you asking how to get away with murder, or are you asking what kinds of untimely death at the hands of another would not be considered murder?

    Self defense has already been mentioned. Death that is accidental and not due to criminal negligence would also not be murder. For example, if your protagonist ran out in front of the fleeing kidnapper's car, and the kidnapper swerves into a tree, it's not murder.

    In many states, any death that results from the commission of a felony is charged to the perpetrator(s) of the felony.
     
  8. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I'm unclear as to the time period in which your story is set. Is it set in the present, or a standard Western period, say 1840 to 1890. If the former then the brief description doesn't sound plausible, if you are setting it in the real world or a close analog. People don't just get deputized these days, even in pretty remote, rural jurisdictions, the hiring a sheriff's deputies is a long, rigorous process.

    Laws governing lethal use of force vary by state, but most hinge on some sort of definition of reasonableness. What often varies is if there is a duty to retreat, which dictates at what point you can stop running away and responding to a threat with force. Law enforcement have no duty to retreat; private citizens often do.

    Now if you are setting it in a traditional Western time period, shootings happened, and the difference between a fair shooting and a murder was pretty much if they were armed and facing you.
     
  9. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    In modern times they do not really "deputize" people in most states anymore. Even the concept of citizen's arrest varies from state to state. Many states do not have it, permitting citizens detainment instead. The main difference being detainment means you can stop and HOLD a suspect until the police arrive while arrest means you can actually MOVE the suspect (take them to the police station). Licensed bounty hunters are bail bondsmen and are not chasing an individual. They are chasing the MONEY put up for his bail, which he represents and signed a legally binding contract for. This is the loophole that lets them do things police ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO such as entering some private residences without a warrant. And in many states they are watched like hawks, while other states tolerate them. But you can be damn sure there will be a thorough investigation if a bondsman shoots a bunch of guys.

    All these interesting facts aside, the original post mentioned a deputization in a kidnap scenario. In my state that WOULD NOT HAPPEN. Private citizens would never be called in to a kidnap situation and would be expected to stay out of it and let the professionals negotiate (or snipe) the criminals. People are called in sometimes to form search parties to help find missing people or bodies, and can be armed (I live in an open carry state) to fire shots to help signal their location. But that is passive assistance. The cops would never expect private citizens to help them storm a terrorist held building.
     
  10. ShortBus
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    I think you have to put the laws of the english speaking countries (I assume your writing in english ☺) into consideration even if those rules don't really apply in your story. We all know murder is wrong (here in the real world) but in your story murder could be ok in many cases. Perhaps the law is that it is ok to kill someone if they stole something from you. If the laws in your story are different from the laws here in the real world then you can kind of manipulate around him being arrested.

    With that being said, you also have to think about morals. Sometimes murder is vindicated morally even though it is still illegal. Say that an assailant hurt or killed your characters daughter and you character retaliated by kill the person who assaulted your characters daughter. Your audience might be ok with the murder because "the guy had it coming".

    Really it's your story and you make the rules. There is almost an unlimited array of possibilities you can go about this. Just make sure you have fun doing it ☺
     
  11. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    if someone is trying to kidnap him, then lethal force is perfectly fine in the civilized world. also most states you can use lethal force to aid someone that is being kidnaped.
     
  12. logandanger10
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    logandanger10 New Member

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    The story takes place in modern day Arizona, it looked it up and it is definitely possible for a citizen to be deputized. I really wanted to use that because I am trying to put all the traditional ideas in old westerns and put them in the modern day. The character's partner in crime gets kidnapped by some thugs. A couple scenes later he ends up with the Sheriff, who is an old cowboy type knows the character due to past differences and knows he knows the mountains so deputizes him. That is the gist. The story isn't intended to be the most realistic portrayal of law today, it is supposed to be fun, and like I said, I am trying to bring all the western tropes into the modern day.
     

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