Iphone Assault or Defense of Property.

10 Jan

A San Diego resident had his Iphone stolen and utilized the “Find My Iphone” App to locate the whereabouts of his phone. When he found it, he confronted the man who had it, and the confrontation escalated into a physical altercation.

Do you have the right to obtain your property back at any costs, including physically assaulting someone? Should you have that right even if it is a phone??

While you do a have a right to defend your property, I am not quite sure that this man will be able to assert that defense in this situation. The California Jury Instructions provide that Defense of Property is a proper justification for a crime if:

“The owner [or possessor] of (real/ [or] personal) property may use reasonable force to protect that property from imminent harm.
Reasonable force means the amount of force that a reasonable person in the same situation would believe is necessary to protect the property from imminent harm.

When deciding whether the defendant used reasonable force, consider all the circumstances as they were known to and appeared to the defendant and consider what a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar knowledge would have believed. If the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the danger does not need to have actually existed. (California Crim 3476. Right to Defend Real or Personal Property)

Now I am not a DA, but what was the “imminent harm to the property” in this situation? I guess there would be an argument that the guy was possibly going to through the iPhone into the ocean where it could be destroyed, but again was this force reasonable??

I am not sure where to conclude.

Here’s a link to the article


And here is a link to the video….

Let us know what your thoughts are!


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