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Old 09-21-2008, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Texas
433 posts, read 390,022 times
Reputation: 136

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You're selected for a jury trial of a defendant who uses deadly force and kills someone inside their house; would you vote to convict on any charge?

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas recognize your right to 'Stand your Ground' and protect your home from intruders. Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wyoming are currently considering laws of their own.
Most of these States include an immunity to prosecution, is this a good thing?

IMHO, this is why the debate about private ownership of handguns has nothing to do with hunting or shooting sports. Someone protecting life,safety and property against an intruder should absolutely be protected from any type of prosecution.
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:52 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,455 posts, read 21,473,314 times
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If it's clear the person shot was there unlawfully, I'd not convict them on any charge. If the person reasonably felt their life was in danger (outside of their own property), that makes it legally self-defense.
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:12 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,316,975 times
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There are a couple of hurdles to be jumped.

The first is "Was the person actually an intruder, or a guest?" Leader of gang A owns his home. He invites leader of gang B to his home and shoots him. Husband finds out wife is cheating with best friend, invites best friend over and shoots him. Castle doctrine might not apply.

The second hurdle is reasonable force and measured response. A parapalegic wheels up to the house in a wheelchair, knocks on the door, and the homeowner shoots through the door. Again, the castle doctrine wouldn't be enough. Paranoia is no license for random gunfire by a homeowner, any more than it is for a LEO.

Anyone at all familiar with defensive arts knows that the LAST resort is only to be used in extreme situations, and that once applied, that force is meant to be deadly. That said, anyone breaking into our secluded house after dark will face a 10,000 candlepower light and at east one loaded revolver.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:39 PM
 
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Harry C., I think you last sentence tells it all. I too have considered the problem of a possible murder in the guise of home defense. Murder disguised as home defense would not be legitimate home defense, and the perpetrator should face the legal consequences. In such a case, it would be up to the police to do a thorough investigation and uncover the truth of what had happened, just as they must do in any other case where a murderer attempts to disguise his crime as something else, such as suicide or an accident.

As far as legitimate home defense is concerned, every situation has its own pertinent details, which need to be examined to determine the level of defense needed. Because of this, I would hesitate to consider it an absolute that a paraplegic or anyone else outside the house should not be shot, but I would say that usually this would be excessive force. Now back to that last sentence of Harry C.'s. Once someone crosses that line and breaks into another person's house, this situation is so inherently dangerous to the occupants of the house that I believe any level of force at that point is appropriate, and should be legal.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Aiken S.C
765 posts, read 1,680,876 times
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In my opinion if a strangers enters my home uninvited in the middle of the night ...i will consider that enough threat to kill them... will i go to prison ? probably not ,though it will more than likely cost me a small amount of jail time and legal fees.but god forbid you wound him then you could be sued.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Texas
433 posts, read 390,022 times
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Well Said.
Something I forgot to ask however; Since gun rights are about hunting, do I need a hunting license to use this defense?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There are a couple of hurdles to be jumped.

The first is "Was the person actually an intruder, or a guest?" Leader of gang A owns his home. He invites leader of gang B to his home and shoots him. Husband finds out wife is cheating with best friend, invites best friend over and shoots him. Castle doctrine might not apply.
I agree the Castle doctrine would probably not apply if the person was invited into the house. If said visitor then turned violent and threatening and was shot an ordinary self defense plea would have to be proved. I think one of the precepts in most states is illegal/forcible entry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The second hurdle is reasonable force and measured response. A parapalegic wheels up to the house in a wheelchair, knocks on the door, and the homeowner shoots through the door. Again, the castle doctrine wouldn't be enough. Paranoia is no license for random gunfire by a homeowner, any more than it is for a LEO.
Shooting through the door because someone knocked is way out of line. However if someone is on porch yelling threats and attempting to enter, I don't think the wheelchair enters the equation; rather do the occupant(s) of the home reasonably believe that the intruder intends intends to inflict serious bodily harm or perhaps commit arson.
I was also under the impression that a LEO was under a different constraint as well- something about appropriate level of force? ie an ordinary citizen (90lb woman?) wouldn't be expected to attempt to subdue a suspect using lesser levels of force? I'm not sure on this, just aware that there seem to be some constraints on the LEO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Anyone at all familiar with defensive arts knows that the LAST resort is only to be used in extreme situations, and that once applied, that force is meant to be deadly. That said, anyone breaking into our secluded house after dark will face a 10,000 candlepower light and at east one loaded revolver.
I am in total agreement with the basic sentiments. I'd simply have to add that "after dark" is criteria only for the HI light.
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:49 PM
 
5,763 posts, read 13,326,187 times
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To get into a little detail regarding the issue DanoTex raised about differences regarding use of force by LEOs and civilians, I'll speak as a former LEO--quite a few years ago, but I believe the basic principles still apply. The general guideline on use of force is that the degree of force needed to accomplish the goal is what the law allows. This means that in a self-defense situation you may use as much force as necessary to protect yourself from harm, but no more force than necessary. It's possible that details of a situation may be examined very closely in court, to determine what the threat was, and what degree of force was needed to neutralize the threat, but this is the basic principle. The key distinction between LEOs and civilians is what the goal is. In both cases, the law allows for the use of as much force as necessary but no more. However, a civilian is allowed to use this degree of force to accomplish the goal of self-defense and only self-defense, while an LEO making an arrest may be more the aggressor, actually pursuing or physically subduing a suspect trying to escape.

These are just general guidelines. The way these guidelines are applied to different kinds of situations can get complicated. As I understand it, castle doctrine is based on case law in states that do not have legislation specifically addressing the issue, and mainly on legislated law in those states that do have such legislation. However, I'm sure it can get complicated. With any area of law, sometimes it takes new court cases, leading to new case law, to determine how new legislation relates to old case law, whether the new legislation supercedes all previous court rulings or is in some way still regulated by them. I would imagine that this would be the case at times with castle doctrine and stand-your-ground laws as well as with any other area of law.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Aiken S.C
765 posts, read 1,680,876 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
To get into a little detail regarding the issue DanoTex raised about differences regarding use of force by LEOs and civilians, I'll speak as a former LEO--quite a few years ago, but I believe the basic principles still apply. The general guideline on use of force is that the degree of force needed to accomplish the goal is what the law allows. This means that in a self-defense situation you may use as much force as necessary to protect yourself from harm, but no more force than necessary. It's possible that details of a situation may be examined very closely in court, to determine what the threat was, and what degree of force was needed to neutralize the threat, but this is the basic principle. The key distinction between LEOs and civilians is what the goal is. In both cases, the law allows for the use of as much force as necessary but no more. However, a civilian is allowed to use this degree of force to accomplish the goal of self-defense and only self-defense, while an LEO making an arrest may be more the aggressor, actually pursuing or physically subduing a suspect trying to escape.

These are just general guidelines. The way these guidelines are applied to different kinds of situations can get complicated. As I understand it, castle doctrine is based on case law in states that do not have legislation specifically addressing the issue, and mainly on legislated law in those states that do have such legislation. However, I'm sure it can get complicated. With any area of law, sometimes it takes new court cases, leading to new case law, to determine how new legislation relates to old case law, whether the new legislation supercedes all previous court rulings or is in some way still regulated by them. I would imagine that this would be the case at times with castle doctrine and stand-your-ground laws as well as with any other area of law.
The miltary trained me to "shoot to kill" not wound ..two to the chest one to he head was their motto , and the made us do this over and over and over in training until it was natural,do you think that would have any bearing if presented at a trial?
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:39 PM
 
455 posts, read 1,328,408 times
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Possibly. But I also think the motto "Anything worth shooting once, is worth shooting twice" applies too.

Assuming that an individual (or individuals) entered a home unlawfully, the resident of the home cannot make any assumptions as to the intentions of the intruders (are they there 'just' to steal, or inflict grievous bodily harm upon the owner?). In that case, the resident has the right to kill the intruder using any means necessary. "If you can't do the time (death), don't do the crime."

If all states were to adopt this law, the number of home invasions would drop to a foolhardy few. If criminals knew that every homeowner had the right (and were armed) to kill them should they enter, not many would continue that path.

And what about the criminals who were injured breaking in and have sued the homeowners? More dead criminals = fewer lawsuits won on technicalities.

Heck, maybe it would even limit the not-quite-legal no-knock warrants and searches conducted by LEOs, if they knew there was a good chance of being mistaken for an intruder.
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica
4,708 posts, read 7,561,996 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowingMunkeyCU View Post
If all states were to adopt this law, the number of home invasions would drop to a foolhardy few. If criminals knew that every homeowner had the right (and were armed) to kill them should they enter, not many would continue that path.

That's an interesting thought. Remember that Americans in many American cities are dealing with police forces, operating under a military model, who can shoot-to-kill citizens with impunity in broad daylight. Take a look at the incidents in the last couple of years in Las Vegas. Waving a short knife at a police officer at a distance of 30 yards or more and not responding to a polcieman's orders in a short enough period of time is grounds for the police to shoot and kill, not disable, the knife wielder. Regardless of whether the wielder is mentally ill, deaf, having a diabetic seizure, etc. Same thing has been happening all over the country as tasers are being rolled out for use by more and more police forces. If the citizen doesn't respond to an order by the police in a "suitable" manner and period of time, you can/will be tased regardless of any evidence ascertainable by the police at the scene of one's mental and physical health, ability to speak and understand spoken English, evidence of deafness, etc.
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