Following the 24-28 49ers victory over the Falcons, witnesses claim a Falcons fan punched a 49ers fan who then stabbed the Falcons fan in the neck. The fan was rushed to the hospital and his status is currently unknown.
Will the fan take legal action?
If he does it is likely he will charge the other fan with Attempted Murder. To prove attempted murder the following two elements must be met beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) that you took at least one direct (but ineffective) step towards killing another person, and
2) that you intended to kill that person.
Is there a legal defense?
The 49ers fan will likely claim Self Defense, because the Falcons fan punched him prior to the stabbing. Self Defense allows you to use reasonable force to defend yourself or another person if you reasonably believe that you or that other person is about to suffer imminent bodily harm. Here the underlying question is whether or not the neck stabbing was a reasonable force. In my opinion it is unlikely for a court to determine the stabbing was a reasonable response to a punch. However if the court determines that the punch was so great it could be defined as deadly force-and in that case the neck stabbing would be an appropriate counter force to constitute self defense.
The 49ers fan may likely be charged with attempted murder without an appropriate claim to self defense, since a stabbing to the neck was deadly force compared to the initial punch which was not. The sentence could vary from 1 year in jail to a life sentence, I suppose time will tell. Regardless I think these 49ers fans need to calm down, especially after earning a trip to the Super Bowl.
Enjoy this youtube clip of a 49ers fan beating up a Giants fan in 2012