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What's Reasonable?: Self-Defense and Mistake in Criminal and Tort Law
Lewis & Clark Law Review (2010)
  • Caroline Forell, University of Oregon

In this Article, Professor Forell examines the criminal and tort mistake-as-to-self-defense doctrines. She uses the State v. Peairs criminal and Hattori v. Peairs tort mistaken self-defense cases to illustrate why application of the reasonable person standard to the same set of facts in two areas of law can lead to different outcomes. She also uses these cases to highlight how fundamentally different the perception of what is reasonable can be in different cultures. She then questions whether both criminal and tort law should continue to treat a reasonably mistaken belief that deadly force is necessary as justifiable self-defense. Based on the different purposes that tort and criminal law serve, Professor Forell explains why in self-defense cases criminal law should retain the reasonable mistake standard while tort law should move to a strict liability with comparative fault standard.

  • self-defense,
  • reasonable person,
  • mistake
Publication Date
Winter 2010
Citation Information
Caroline Forell. "What's Reasonable?: Self-Defense and Mistake in Criminal and Tort Law" Lewis & Clark Law Review Vol. 14 (2010)
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