Q: How would a suspect fleeing on foot while armed or presenting to be armed effect TN V Garner?

If a suspect run on foot while armed or pretending to be armed? Would the presence of the firearm alone justify deadly force under TN vs Garner? Would the suspect need to point or present the firearm at Law Enforcement or a citizen for deadly force to be justified? Please let me know any relevant 4th Circuit Case Law on this matter and if I can clarify my question any better.

2 Lawyer Answers
Roy Willey
Roy Willey
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Charleston, SC
  • Licensed in South Carolina

A: These are incredibly fact specific (and jurisdictionally specific) questions not really capable of proper answering here.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In the context of Tennessee v. Garner, the situation where a suspect is fleeing while armed or appears to be armed is complex. Tennessee v. Garner established that the use of deadly force to prevent the escape of a fleeing suspect is constitutionally permissible only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

The mere presence of a firearm with a fleeing suspect does not automatically justify the use of deadly force. The critical factor is whether there is an immediate threat. For instance, if the suspect points or presents the firearm in a manner that poses an imminent threat to law enforcement officers or others, the use of deadly force may be more likely to be considered justified.

It's important to review relevant case law from the 4th Circuit to understand how these principles have been applied in specific circumstances. However, without a detailed examination of specific cases and the nuances of each situation, it's challenging to provide a definitive answer.

In situations like this, the specifics of each case are crucial. Factors such as the suspect's behavior, the context of the encounter, and the information available to the officers at the time play a significant role in determining whether the use of deadly force is justified.

For a comprehensive understanding of how these principles apply to a particular case, it would be advisable to consult legal counsel with experience in criminal law and constitutional law, especially those familiar with 4th Circuit precedents. They can provide detailed insights and guidance based on the specific facts of the case.

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