The Common Law is Dead; Long Live the Common Law!

In State v. McLymore, 380 N.C. 185, 868 S.E.2d 67 (2022), our Supreme Court held that Section 14‑51.3 “supplants the common law on all aspects of the law of self-defense addressed by its provisions,” and “the only right to perfect self-defense available in North Carolina [is] the right provided by statute.”  Id. at 191, 868 S.E.2d at 72-73.  At the same time, it interpreted the felony disqualifier provision of Section 14-51.4 – consistently with “common law principles” – to require a causal nexus between the felony and the use of force.  Id. at 197, 868 S.E.2d at 77.  The common law is apparently not so easily dispensed with.  This post – my first contribution to this forum – addresses the persistence of the common law in the area of self-defense.  My colleague Phil Dixon provided color commentary on McLymore here.  My colleague John Rubin discussed the felony disqualifier provision (and anticipated the holding in McLymore) here.

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