On Monday, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided an important case relating to the gun community and criminal defense; it decided and what is deadly force by a “deadly weapon”. In Indiana, the affirmative defense of self-defense may be raised when a person uses deadly force in response to infliction of serious bodily injury from a “deadly weapon”, a forcible felony or to defend one’s home or curtilage.
There is no definition of a “deadly weapon”. However, its use must be threatened or used in a way that could lead to serious bodily injury or death. In most self-defense cases, a number of tools come to mind: screwdrivers, hammers, bats. Further, most any object used the “wrong” way, could be a deadly weapon, such a broken off beer bottle. And then there are the items that have inherently dangerous aspect by design, such as a firearm or bow and arrow.
Most of us don’t think about the more obscure items that may be “deadly weapons”, such as cars or a can of gasoline and match. With a little thought, hopefully, this makes sense to you as to how these items may be misused and become “deadly weapons”. Think you have mastered what is a deadly weapon? If you were asked to describe the range of a deadly weapon, almost everyone would list movable objects. Think again.
In Gabrielle Adams v. State, 71A05-1611-CR-2659 (June 23, 2017), the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed (upheld) a Level 5 felony for having been committed with a felony based on an asphalt parking lot. In this case, the victim who interceded in a parking lot fight had her head hit into the asphalt six times. The case was enhanced from a battery to a felony because the “deadly weapon” was the asphalt parking lot. This is consistent with the statutory definition of “deadly weapon” which is material as it is used “is readily capable of causing serious bodily injury.”
Thus, a piece of asphalt or the entire parking lot can be “deadly weapon” because as it was used by the defendant was readily capable of causing serious bodily injury. Serious bodily injury is equally an undefined term, but in this case, the victim suffered a concussion from having her head slammed into the parking lot so many times. This case provides key insight into what may be a “deadly weapon” and “serious bodily injury”.1 No more should an “object” be thought of as the sole tool constitution a “deadly weapon”.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handles criminal and related cases through the state. This is written for general educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is advertising material.