Urban survival syndrome

From Academic Kids

In American jurisprudence, urban survival syndrome is a so-called "innovative defense" (which is perhaps better classified as an excuse or justification), via which a defendant may argue that they should not be held criminally liable for actions which broke the law, as they were trying to survive within a violent urban area. This is similar to the excuses of provocation and temporary insanity; and the justification of self-defense.

Urban survival syndrome was used as part of Daimion Osby's defense, after Osby shot two people in 1993. In the Washington Post (May 18, 1994), one of Osby's lawyers, David Bays, was quoted, "[Urban survival syndrome is] being realistic. [It is a state of] hypervigilance." Osby's lawyers were further quoted in the Post, "[The syndrome is] a sort of "mind fix" that comes over [someone] living in an urban neighborhood when [they've] been threatened with deadly force." In USA Today (November 22, 1994), Robert Davis stated, "I...don't like the idea of using some syndrome to get someone off...but I've met enough people who use bathtubs as bulletproof beds to know that urban survival syndrome is real. How long can people live in fear before they snap?" Osby was found guilty of murder. The term urban fear syndrome was used in the 1995 murder trial of National Hurt, who shot a 13-year-old after someone threw rocks at his car. Although the court ruled that this syndrome is not "medically recognized", Hurt was convicted on mitigated charges.

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