DEL CODE § 468 : Delaware Code - Section 468: JUSTIFICATION -- USE OF FORCE BY PERSONS WITH SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARE, DISCIPLINE OR SAFETY OF OTHERS

Search DEL CODE § 468 : Delaware Code - Section 468: JUSTIFICATION -- USE OF FORCE BY PERSONS WITH SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARE, DISCIPLINE OR SAFETY OF OTHERS

The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable if it is reasonable and moderate and:

(1) The defendant is the parent, guardian, foster parent, legal custodian or other person similarly responsible for the general care and supervision of a child, or a person acting at the request of a parent, guardian, foster parent, legal custodian or other responsible person, and:

a. The force is used for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the child, including the prevention or punishment of misconduct; and

b. The force used is intended to benefit the child, or for the special purposes listed in paragraphs (2)a., (3)a., (4)a., (5), (6) and (7) of this section. The size, age, condition of the child, location of the force and the strength and duration of the force shall be factors considered in determining whether the force used is reasonable and moderate; but

c. The force shall not be justified if it includes, but is not limited to, any of the following: Throwing the child, kicking, burning, cutting, striking with a closed fist, interfering with breathing, use of or threatened use of a deadly weapon, prolonged deprivation of sustenance or medication, or doing any other act that is likely to cause or does cause physical injury, disfigurement, mental distress, unnecessary degradation or substantial risk of serious physical injury or death; or

(2) The defendant is a teacher or a person otherwise entrusted with the care or supervision of a child for a special purpose, and:

a. The defendant believes the force used is necessary to further the special purpose, including the maintenance of reasonable discipline in a school, class or other group, and that the use of force is consistent with the welfare of the child; and

b. The degree of force, if it had been used by the parent, guardian, foster parent or legal custodian of the child, would be justifiable under paragraph (1)a. and b. of this section and not enumerated under paragraph (1)c. of this section; or

(3) The defendant is the guardian or other person similarly responsible for the general care and supervision of an incompetent person, and:

a. The force is used for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the incompetent person, including the prevention of misconduct, or, when such incompetent person is in a hospital or other institution for care and custody, for the maintenance of reasonable discipline in such institution; and

b. The force used is reasonable and moderate; the size, age, condition of the incompetent person, location of the force and the strength and duration of the force shall be factors considered in determining whether the force used is reasonable and moderate; and

c. The force is not enumerated under paragraph (1)c.; and

d. The force is not proscribed as abuse or mistreatment under Chapter 11 of Title 16; or

(4) The defendant is a doctor or other therapist or a person assisting at the doctor's or other therapist's direction, and:

a. The force is used for the purpose of administering a recognized form of treatment which the defendant believes to be adapted to promoting the physical or mental health of the patient; and

b. The treatment is administered with the consent of the patient or, if the patient is a minor or an incompetent person, with the consent of a parent, guardian or other person legally competent to consent in the patient's behalf, or the treatment is administered in an emergency when the defendant believes that no one competent to consent can be consulted and that a reasonable person, wishing to safeguard the welfare of the patient, would consent; or

(5) The defendant is a warden or other authorized official of a correctional institution, or a superintendent, administrator or other authorized official of the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Service, and:

a. The defendant believes that the force used is necessary for the purpose of enforcing the lawful rules or procedures of the institution; and

b. The nature or degree of force used is not forbidden by any statute governing the administration of the institution; and

c. If deadly force is used, its use is otherwise justifiable under this Criminal Code; or

(6) The defendant is a person responsible for the safety of a vessel or an aircraft or a person acting at the responsible person's direction, and:

a. The defendant believes that the force used is necessary to prevent interference with the operation of the vessel or aircraft or obstruction of the execution of a lawful order; and

b. If deadly force is used, its use is otherwise justifiable under this Criminal Code; or

(7) The defendant is a person who is authorized or required by law to maintain order or decorum in a vehicle, train or other carrier or in a place where others are assembled, and:

a. The defendant believes that the force used is necessary for such purpose; and

b. The force used is not designed to cause or known to create a substantial risk of causing death, physical injury or extreme mental distress.

11 Del. C. 1953, § 468; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 442, §§ 1, 2, 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;