A non-criminal murder
, usually committed in self-defense
or in defense of another, may be called justifiable homicide
in some cases. A homicide may be considered justified if it is done to prevent a very serious crime
, such as rape, armed robbery, or murder. The victim's intent to commit a serious crime must be clear at the time. A homicide performed out of vengeance, or retribution for action in the past would generally not be considered justifiable, although in some cases such a crime is classed as being justifiable due to the impossibility of finding a jury who would convict under the case's circumstances. In cases of self-defense, there must have been no other way out for the defendant, or it is not justifiable. Pre-emptive self-defense, cases in which one kills another because they suspect the victim might eventually become dangerous, is considered criminal, no matter how likely it is that they were right. Justifiable homicides are always initially assumed to be criminal until the evidence
warrants a change, as justifiable homicide is one of the most common defenses for homicides both justified and criminal. Justifiable homicide is a legal grey area, and there is no real legal standard for a homicide to be considered justifiable. The circumstances under which homicide is justified are usually considered to be that the victim was clearly likely to kill an innocent if the defendant did not kill them.