Price of Liberty

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Plummer v. State was an 1893 court case decided by the Supreme Court of Indiana. The case overturned a manslaughter conviction, ruling that the convicted defendant had been protecting himself from the illegal use of force by a police officer. It is widely quoted on the internet, under the theory that it gives citizens the right to resist an unlawful arrest by force, including deadly force.

Wilson v. State discusses Plummer, depicting it as saying that it applies to the situation where the arresting officer is using excessive force such that unless the arrestee defends himself or flees, he is likely to suffer great bodily harm or death. The Wilson court was careful to note that a person may not resist an unlawful arrest where the officer does not use unlawful force.

Other cases citing Plummer likewise noted that while a person may defend himself against an officer’s unlawful use of force, they may not resist an unlawful arrest being made peaceably and without excessive force. In 1995, the Seventh Circuit Court cited Plummer, noting that the privilege exists “not because its use is necessary to protect him from an unlawful arrest, but because it is the only way in which he can protect himself from death or serious bodily harm.”

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    God I hope nobody thinks this actually applies to anyone outside of Indiana. Or misinterprets it.
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