Unformatted text preview: aptain justifies the action as necessary to prevent the boat from capsizing, thus saving the passengers and other cargo. Protestors arrested for criminal trespass argue that the action was justified to help end the CIA's secret foreign policy, which they claim was designed to murder, mutilate, and torture civilian populations and to destabilize the government of El Salvador. Before abortion became legal, it was held that the necessity of saving an expectant mother from serious injury was a defense to abortion. A patient who is in dire need of an organ transplant seeks to buy the needed organ on the black market in violation of the National Organ Transplant Act. A rancher kills a grizzly bear in violation of the Endangered Species Act and seeks to justify the action based on necessity to protect himself from bodily harm. A defendant charged with theft of two dolphins from a marine laboratory seeks to defend the action based on the necessity of giving the dolphins freedom by returning them to the ocean. A defendant destroys a span of a bridge that has been swept onto his property in a severe storm and seeks to defend an action for damages based on necessity. What these situations have in common is that they are real-life cases in which people who are faced with a situation of imminent danger violate the law to avert the greater of two evils and, as a result, cause damages that otherwise would not have occurred. If violating the law is the lesser evil, and if certain other criteria are in place, the actor may successfully defend the action based on necessity. SLHS Value File Necessity defenses require that actors should reasonably believe their actions necessary
John Alan Cohan, STETSON LAW REVIEW, Spring 2006, p. 942 One of the main hurdles in the necessity doctrine is that in order to justify violating the law, the courts almost always scrutinize the facts based on the balance of human reason in light of all the relevant circumstances. The actor must entertain a reasonable belief in the necessity of his conduct. The rea...
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- Fall '13