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Thread: What legal defense did we have pre-Castle law?

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    Regular Member self preservation's Avatar
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    What legal defense did we have pre-Castle law?

    KRS 503.055 tells us that if an intruder comes into our home or tries to pull us from an occupied vehicle that we may use deadly force against them . This law was put into place July, 12th 2006. I don't see where this law has ever been amended, so that leads me to believe that this law is truly only 7 years old and hasn't been changed since first put into place. I know prior to this law that we had defensive style shootings in KY., but I'm curious to what legal defense folks used back then? I know they all didn't go to prison. So how did things work back then? (some of you old heads may have to answer this one)
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

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    2. The instinct for individual preservation; the innate desire to stay alive.

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    Try google scholar ... should be some fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by self preservation View Post
    KRS 503.055 tells us that if an intruder comes into our home or tries to pull us from an occupied vehicle that we may use deadly force against them . This law was put into place July, 12th 2006. I don't see where this law has ever been amended, so that leads me to believe that this law is truly only 7 years old and hasn't been changed since first put into place. I know prior to this law that we had defensive style shootings in KY., but I'm curious to what legal defense folks used back then? I know they all didn't go to prison. So how did things work back then? (some of you old heads may have to answer this one)
    Think way, way, way back to 9th grade history. You remember those funny maps of America? The one where VA extended all the way to the Ohio or Mississipi Rivers?

    As late as 1790--after ratification of the constitution--Kentucky was still a part of VA.

    I'll bet Kentucky has a colonial common law heritage not unlike VA. Meaning, KY's self-defense law prior to the statute was rooted in English common law, I'm betting.

    ETA: Yep. Kentucky was a part of VA, and joined the union in 1792. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky
    Last edited by Citizen; 12-27-2013 at 10:53 PM.
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    Regular Member DrakeZ07's Avatar
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    Gutshot is up to bat for the Home team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gutshot View Post
    While it is true that Virginia was the parent state of Ky., when statehood was granted in 1792 the new 15th state of Ky. adopted a constitution modeled after the constitution of Pennsylvania. Naturally, as time passed the statutes of Pa. and Ky. developed independently of one another, but rulings of Pa's courts are often cited in Ky. courtrooms. I have never heard a mention of common law in a Ky. case, but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.


    It would be a little unlikely for common law to be mentioned anymore because the common law was long ago articlated in court decisions. Today, courts would just cite whichever previous case applied.

    This relationship between common law and court opinions/case law started centuries ago.

    Once upon a time, the common law was understood, but not necessarily written down in court opinions because for the most part, courts and written opinions didn't exist in the countryside. It wasn't until Henry II (1154-1199?) that government judges started riding into the country on circuit.

    Over time, judges wrote down their understanding of the common law in their opinions. Thus, today except maybe for colonial era law books and scholarly works, the common law is recorded in court opinions. So, for example, here in VA, we might say "the common law protects our right to use lethal force against a burglar committing a violent and tumultous entry into an occupied dwelling" but we know we're going to have to find the actual textual expression of that common law in a court case.

    Since KY goes way back and its history includes a time when English common law was in force, and since the law on self-defense pre-dates the Norman Conquest, I'm betting that aspect of common law carried forward for some time.

    Now, I did find by google a reference to a previous statute--prior to the one in the OP--that wasn't as generous to the defender as the current one. It was in a discussion on proper jury instruction and didn't go into detail, so I didn't copy it here. But, it looks like there was at least one previous statute on the subject.

    Here in VA we have very good self-defense protections already in the common law. A couple years ago some dim bulbs in the gun world got the bright idea we needed a castle doctrine statute and a stand-your-ground. Whoa!!!! As soon as the state legislature gets a hold of a bill, they can amend it, chop it up, add duty to retreat, and all kinds of mischief---and the statute would pre-empt and nullify the common law. So, what if the common law is already great, but the new statute that pre-empts the common law reduces the protections offered by the common law. The short story is that in VA our common law is already every bit as good as any statute the legislature might create. So, we raised a big fuss and finally sank those proposals for statutes. Now, I mention all that because I'm thinking it would be very interesting to see what kind of common law protections the KY statutes nullified/pre-empted. Was the common law on self-defense in KY even better than the existing statute? Worse? Those sorts of questions.
    Last edited by Citizen; 12-28-2013 at 04:50 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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