A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial

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9780226253343: A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial

The popular press dubbed him "the subway vigilante": Bernhard Goetz, who on December 22, 1984, shot four black youths on a New York subway train when one of them asked for five dollars. Goetz claimed to have fired in self-defense, out of fear that the young men were about to rob him.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Those wanting a sensationalized account of the controversial case of Bernhard Goetz, who shot four young black men on a New York subway in 1984, are advised to look elsewhere. This study by a law professor at Columbia University is a measured examination of the case from its investigation to the sentencing of the defendant, with emphasis on the legal question involved. Fletcher supports the advocacy system used in American courtrooms and emphasizes its stress on reason in the law. He explains the law as it applies to self-defense: an attack must be imminent, the defender's response must be both necessary and proportional, and the defender must act with the intention of thwarting the attack. The author lays this groundwork carefully to show why the jury found Goetz innocent of the major charges against him. In the tradition of legal scholarship, Fletcher does not present his personal views on the case.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This thought-provoking analysis of legal issues concerns the Goetz case. Goetz, the so-called "subway vigilante," shot four black teenagers on the subway in New York City. His main alibi was self-defense. Fletcher, a Columbia University law professor, discusses the judicial history and interpretation of self-defense. He then leads us through the trial, which resulted in Goetz's acquittal on all charges except gun possession. Fletcher dwells at length on implications, balancing a person's right to self-defense vs. society's need to maintain order. Though the analysis is highly legalistic, Fletcher conveys his ideas in a style easily understood by lay readers. Highly recommended. Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib. Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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