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Understanding the Role Values Play (and Should Play) in Self-Defense Law
American Criminal Law Review  (IF3.455),  Pub Date : 2021-03-01, DOI:
T. Markus Funk

Self-defense is a right so fundamental that the scholarly literature regularly refers to it asthe ancient rightorthe first civil right. But despite the right’s bedrock status in criminal law, legislators, academics, and every-day citizens alike all have strongly held—and, in fact, often strongly divergent—opinions about when it is legally (and morally) appropriate to exercise self-preferential force. Some favor “tough-on-crime” approaches, according broader leeway to those defending themselves against attacks. Others advocate for a more “humanitarian” construction of the law, providing greater protections even to culpable attackers who threaten their victims with serious injury.