Any real Star Wars fan knows that no matter how George Lucas edited the films later, Han shot Greedo before Greedo fired. But assuming Han Solo was able to get a fair trial and Mos Eisley operated under the same law system as California, would he be guilty of murder? Not unless the Hutts or the Empire rigged the proceedings.
What is Legal Self Defense?
In the criminal courts, self defense is often a great strategy for winning a case, whether you have been accused of killing a bounty hunter in space or a zombie during the apocalypse. But you can’t just say you felt threatened and expect to have any crime justified. Instead, you have to meet certain requirements to successfully use the defense -particularly if it involves the taking of another person’s life.
In cases involving killing another person, your defense lawyer must be able to show that your use of deadly force was the only reasonable course of action to protect you from the immediate threat of death, serious injury, kidnapping or rape. In this case, imminent means an immediate threat is present, so a person would have to believe right at that moment he or she was about to be attacked with deadly force.
Was Han Acting in Self Defense?
So did Han have reason to believe that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury at Greedo’s hands? Absolutely. In fact, during their conversation, Greedo kept a gun aimed at Han and when Han says “Over my dead body,” Greedo smiles and replies, “That’s the idea; I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
The fact that Han waited until after this threat to shoot Greedo means that he had every reason to believe his life was in danger. As to whether he could claim that shooting Greedo was his only reasonable course of action, well, the bounty hunter literally had him in a corner with a blaster pointed at him -meaning Han couldn’t run away or justifiably believe that shooting Greedo in a non-lethal way would keep him safe. That means that Han was absolutely justified in shooting first.
Find Yourself in Han’s Shoes?
Of course, even with ample justification, anyone attempting to use self defense as an excuse for a homicide needs to work with a skilled attorney. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Creative Commons Image by Cavin