9Mistakes express dissonance. Something looks one way to the actor
and another way to the society at large. The society insists that it has
the correct view--that the criminal result actually occurred, the victim
was really hurt. The suspected offender claims that he saw things differently, that he did not perceive reality the way other people do. The
way it looked to him, he was doing nothing wrong, or at least nothing
as serious as appears to have occurred. It might appear to others that a
suspect shoots and injures a police officer, but as the shooter sees the
situation, any of the following might be true:
|1. ||He might be engaged in target practice and think that he is
shooting at a cardboard display of a police officer.|
|2. ||He might think the officer is a private security guard when he
in fact is a federal officer.|
|3. ||He might think that the officer is a civilian who is attacking him
and that he must respond in self-defense.|
|4. ||He might think that the officer is corrupt and that it is his duty
to arrest the officer and to take him into custody by first disabling
All of these mistaken thoughts might be running through the actor's head as he is shooting at what appears to him as the form of an
officer in blue. Some of these thoughts--particularly the thought that
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Basic Concepts of Criminal Law.
Contributors: George P. Fletcher - Author.
Publisher: Oxford University Press.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 148.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.