At 3 a.m., A is walking home from a late shift at work. Across the street, A sees movement in the mouth of an alleyway. A very disheveled woman, B, steps out of the alleyway, panting. B’s shirt is torn, spotted with what appears to be blood. A moment later, B looks over her shoulder and screams as a large figure, C, emerges from the shadows. C is wielding a large knife and wearing a white paper mask across his lower face. B tries to run away from C, but trips and falls.
Observing these events from across the street, A believes that B is facing an imminent threat that C will stab her. Seeing no police officers around, A pulls out a gun he had concealed in his jacket pocket and shoots C’s right leg. C collapses, and A sprints across the street to check C’s pulse. C is alive. A turns to comfort B, but B is already half a block away screaming, “You’ll never catch me!”
A is still confused when the police arrive, but he soon learns, much to his dismay, that B was a robber attempting to steal cash from C’s burger shop. Earlier, B had entered the shop’s front dining area brandishing a knife. At the time, C was flipping burgers in the kitchen. B’s arrival caused a commotion. C walked out to learn what was happening and, seeing B, quickly pounced upon her before she could steal any cash. As B and C wrestled with each other, they burst open a carton of ketchup, whose contents spattered all over B’s shirt. This is what made the shirt appear bloodstained.
C proved a formidable foe, so B had a change of heart. She dropped her knife, dove through an open window out onto the street, and started running down a nearby alleyway. C snatched up a nearby steak knife, yelled “I’ll kill you!” and then followed B in hot pursuit. He was still clad in his white food-safety mask as he followed C, flourishing his steak knife. A then shot C.
In a common-law jurisdiction, A is arrested and charged with one count of battery.
Assume the prosecution can prove the above facts at A’s trial.
- In a common-law jurisdiction, does A have a valid defense-of-others defense? Explain, applying only the common law, but do not analyze A’s liability for battery, do not apply the Model Penal Code, do not analyze defense of property, and do not analyze any other issue that may be raised by these facts.