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Myself
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Postby Myself » Sun May 19, 2013 2:30 am

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

BlueDiamond
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby BlueDiamond » Sun May 19, 2013 3:28 am

I feel that now is as good a time as any to remind everyone how much I despise law students.

Ness Lee
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Ness Lee » Sun May 19, 2013 4:07 am

What the heck?

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HBBJohnStamos
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby HBBJohnStamos » Sun May 19, 2013 5:11 am

ajax adonis wrote:So I was watching this movie, and I heard this quote from the courtroom scene.

Matt Damon: There is a lengthy legal precedent, your honor, going back to 1789, whereby a defendant can claim self-defense against an agent of the government, if that act is deemed a defense against tyranny, a defense of liberty.

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Is that right? What cases say anything like that? I know 1789 is when the U.S. adopted the Constitution.


i'm welling up right now bro, thank you

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Bronte
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 5:13 pm

The question is basically whether you can resist an unlawful arrest by force. There are some old-ass cases that say, yes, the regular law of self-defense applies if the arrest is unlawful. But I'm talking like wild-west old. Newer cases seem not to be so down with this theory, but it's a state-by-state issue.

In Massachusetts, where I believe the movie took place, it appears to be the rule that you can claim self-defense if the police use unreasonable force. But you cannot claim self-defense merely on the basis that the arrest was unlawful. I don't remember the facts in the movie though.

Yes, that's right, I have nothing to do. I also have an incredibly nerdy weak spot for law hypos from movies. If anyone has seen the movie Fracture, the question whether the double jeopardy shit at the end of that is correct is pretty interesting.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon May 20, 2013 5:32 pm

Bronte wrote:If anyone has seen the movie Fracture, the question whether the double jeopardy shit at the end of that is correct is pretty interesting.


Fracture is awesome. It just might be my favorite law related movie.

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Bronte
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 5:39 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:
Bronte wrote:If anyone has seen the movie Fracture, the question whether the double jeopardy shit at the end of that is correct is pretty interesting.


Fracture is awesome. It just might be my favorite law related movie.


It's definitely underrated. I would probably go Michael Clayton first but yeah good legal thriller.

Total Litigator
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Total Litigator » Mon May 20, 2013 5:39 pm

I don't what happened in 1789 [how embarrassing, I remember now...], but Mr. Damon probably should have just cited Bivens v. Six Unkown Agents. Bivens is 'federal common law', so it would have its basis in the Constitution.

Additional edit: Wait, wasn't Damon talking about the state government? He is correct. There is a ton of confusing jurisprudence about it that you would study in a Federal Jurisdiction class. I think the right is based on the fact that the US Constitution states that federal diversity jurisdiction includes cases between "a person and a state".

Myself
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Postby Myself » Mon May 20, 2013 7:14 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bronte
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 7:23 pm

ajax adonis wrote:
Total Litigator wrote:I don't what happened in 1789 [how embarrassing, I remember now...], but Mr. Damon probably should have just cited Bivens v. Six Unkown Agents. Bivens is 'federal common law', so it would have its basis in the Constitution.

Additional edit: Wait, wasn't Damon talking about the state government? He is correct. There is a ton of confusing jurisprudence about it that you would study in a Federal Jurisdiction class. I think the right is based on the fact that the US Constitution states that federal diversity jurisdiction includes cases between "a person and a state".


Bivens is a civil case. Will Hunting was a criminal defendant.


Yeah Bivens just says there is an implied civil action against federal government employees for certain constitutional violations. I believe the issue here is whether a criminal defendant can assert self-defense when he used force against a police officer making an unlawful arrest.

This is a matter of state criminal law--mostly statutory law. It sounds like that defense, on its own, is no good in Massachusetts but can work if the cops were using excessive force. But I don't remember the facts of the case in Good Will Hunting.

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Bronte
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Bronte » Mon May 20, 2013 7:29 pm

Here's the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1Y6QvIdCBY. The judge says, "You hit a cop, you're going in." So, yeah, he assaulted a police officer and then tried to claim self-defense in "defense of liberty," which is an unlawful arrest claim, based on some old case. The case probably exists but is also probably bad law, and the judge called bullshit. So my assessment is that the scene is reasonably accurate if a little hokey.

Ness Lee
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Ness Lee » Tue May 21, 2013 12:36 am

Has anyone ever actually won using a defense of liberty defense?

Total Litigator
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Total Litigator » Tue May 21, 2013 1:20 am

Whoops, my bad. Everything I said has little to nothing to do with criminal law.

Sound like the other responses are on target.

My contribution will be linking to the scene where Matt Damon punches the cop... It was more of a sucker punch than a defense of liberty though (punch is at 1:35), so while he may have had the law right, the facts of his case weren't necessarily on point....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6zhqOcfqQA

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Bronte
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Re: Was Good Will Hunting right?

Postby Bronte » Tue May 21, 2013 10:10 am

Ness Lee wrote:Has anyone ever actually won using a defense of liberty defense?


You can find old cases where they charge the jury that if the arrest was unlawful and the defendant used proportionate force against the police officer, the defendant committed no crime, even if he killed the police officer.




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