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Thread: Castle doctrine puts power in victims' hands

  1. #1
    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    Castle Doctrine law expansion proceeds apace in the U.S. Here's a nice example of it. Courtesy of your freindly neighborhood N-R-A.

    And the Brady Bunch seems to be losing every battle lately.... Ain't life grand?

    Eat yer heart out, mark.






    Advocates: Castle doctrine puts power in victims' hands


    [*]Shootings in Jackson have renewed debate

    By Chris Joyner




    Kathy Adkins moved from target to target, using a .38 revolver and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with deadly efficiency, putting holes in the dead center of paper targets meant to look like people.

    Adkins, 48, owns a real estate firm in Jackson and has been taking firearms training since March. Instructor Cliff Cargill said he has had many new students since the Legislature passed a bill last year giving residents expanded legal rights to protect themselves in their homes, cars or businesses.

    The so-called "castle doctrine" law removes the requirement that residents must first seek a safe retreat from an intruder before using deadly force. Similar laws have passed in 20 states in just two years, thanks to an intense lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association.

    "Citizens' homes are no longer their castles," NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre said. "And we want to make sure that in America the right to self-defense continues to exist and that the American citizen's home remains his castle."

    Adkins said the law is a "godsend" for people fed up with feeling helpless to protect themselves against criminals. Last month, one of her neighbors was robbed at gunpoint.

    With the new law, Adkins said she feels empowered to protect herself or her family from an intruder before it is too late.

    "In the past, you had to wait until you were attacked," she said. "When I enter a state that doesn't have a castle doctrine law, I don't feel as safe."

    While Mississippi's castle doctrine law was met with wide popular acclaim in this conservative, gun-friendly state, a spate of shootings in the capital has renewed public discussion.

    In one week in late September and early October, four Jackson homeowners fired shots at four alleged burglars. Two of the alleged intruders, 21-year-old Jerrod Peters and 20-year-old Kenneth Stewman, were killed. The homeowners in those shootings have not been identified by police except for 28-year-old Fredrico Hamblin, who because of a prior felony record is the only one to face criminal charges.

    Jackson Police spokesman Cmdr. Lee Vance said he does not know whether the homeowners had ever heard of the law before they squeezed the trigger.

    "I'm sort of curious about it myself," he said. "There are a lot of people who go through life and don't watch the news or pick up a newspaper."

    They certainly are aware of it now, since many local news accounts of the shootings mentioned the castle doctrine, he said.

    "Whether it was a factor in that homeowner's thinking or not, it's getting a lot of credit," he said.

    Credit for the law is being extended in shootings in other states as well.

    In September, popular Dallas musician Carter Albrecht was shot and killed when he tried to kick in the door where his girlfriend's neighbor lives. The neighbor, who shot through a door and hit Albrecht in the head, has not been charged.

    A number of convicted murders are attempting to get their cases reheard by claiming the castle doctrine laws in their states should retroactively apply to them.

    Arizona lawmakers passed a bill this summer allowing the state's 2006 castle doctrine statute to apply in earlier cases, but Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed the bill on the grounds it would reopen too many cases.

    Advocates for retired Arizona school teacher Grant Fish were behind the measure. Fish was convicted in 2004 of shooting a hiker Fish said attacked him on a rural trail.

    The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence opposed the laws, and spokesman Peter Hamm said they buck a long trend in American law toward reduced public violence dating to the taming of the West.

    "As a system of laws, we have always acted first and foremost to discourage people from taking a life," he said. "There are profound human policy efforts at play in these statutes."

    Hamm said the laws trivialize human life.

    "Do we want to kill every 16-year-old kid we find stealing a car stereo?" he said.

    The Brady Campaign is keeping a list of shootings they believe to be inspired by castle doctrine laws or prosecutions complicated by them.

    In one 2006 Kentucky case, where James Adam Clem beat to death a man whom he owed drug money, prosecutors opted to offer him manslaughter plea because Clem claimed he felt threatened by the man after he let him into his apartment. Prosecutors said they feared the state's castle doctrine law could confuse a jury.

    LaPierre said critics like the Brady Campaign are using the same fear tactics tried when the NRA pushed for right-to-carry laws at the state level two decades ago.

    When Florida's castle doctrine law went into effect in 2005, the Brady Campaign issued a news release advising tourists going to the state not to "argue unnecessarily with local people" and to "keep your hands in plain sight" if they got involved in a traffic accident.

    Castle doctrine laws move the law back onto the side of crime victims by not requiring them to look for an alternative to self-defense when faced with an intruder in the dark of night, LaPierre said.

    Retreat "may sound fine at a cocktail party sipping wine and cheese," he said. "But it doesn't work very well for crime victims at the point of attack."

    LaPierre said the organization will not rest until every state has a similar statute on the books. Some states, including New Mexico and Maryland, turned back castle doctrine bills, but those have been the exception.

    LaPierre said the laws target what the NRA sees as an international trend toward criminalizing the principal of self-defense.

    Most European countries already have much tougher gun control laws than any American state. LaPierre and other gun advocates point to a 2006 United Nations human rights report that equivocates on the individual's right to own guns for self-defense as evidence of a creeping international movement to disarm citizens around the world.

    It may be too early to see whether the laws have an appreciable impact on justifiable shootings. FBI statistics show 241 justifiable homicides by private citizens in 2006, a 23 percent increase over the prior year, but that is less than the 247 killed in 2003 before the NRA push began.

    Overall, Department of Justice records show a 13 percent decrease in justifiable homicides over the past decade.

    George Washington University law professor Robert Cottrol said the castle doctrine statutes are more of an incremental change than either side of the gun control debate admits.

    Realistically, prosecutors across the nation were not eager to prosecute people who truly acted in self-defense, no matter where they were.

    "There is fundamental feeling on the part of many that the aggressor should not profit and the person who is defending should not be held in legal jeopardy," he said.

    [line]

    http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pb...NEWS/711050337

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    From what I have read, we have NEVER had a "duty to retreat" in Mississippi. I have read every statute related to firearms and weapons, and there is no mention of retreating. I have read other state laws where the duty to retreat is very plainly mentioned, you must retreat, then when all means of retreat are exhausted then you can shoot.

    The main thing that this law gives is imunity to civil law suit if the shooting is ruled justifiable. This prevents the assaliant or his/her family from playing jackpot justice with the court system.

    Double J

    P.S. The author of the article is not a family member of mine. (at least that I am aware of)



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    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    Double_J wrote:
    The main thing that this law gives is imunity to civil law suit if the shooting is ruled justifiable. This prevents the assaliant or his/her family from playing jackpot justice with the court system.


    This is a HUGE advancement in the law over what previously existed. Absolutely huge. This is part of the NRA template to fundamentally change the culture in America (or Amerika for MEM) for people who must use deadly force.

    Before, a responsible gun-owner and citizen could do everything right--and have his life RUINED by civil litigation. That is unlikely to happen any more with immunity.

    Thank the NRA and state level advocates for this growing trend toward immunity, not only in the castle but in Stand Your Ground laws too.

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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    Did you ever see the movie based on the real life story, Bridge on the river Kwai? In it, the Japanese POW camp leader promised the American/British pow's gifts if they achieved a certain milestone in completing the bridge. When it came time to pay off on his promise, the Japanese commander gave them Red Cross packages already sent to them. NRA (negotiate rights away) is pretty much doing the same thing. Mississippians already have the right to use weapons in "defense of home, person and property. All the NRA is doing is trying to grab headlines or, as it's commonly known, grandstanding. Hoorah.

    Citizens homes have always been their castles. Nothing the NRA does has changed that.
    mark edward marchiafava

    Go crawl back in your hole.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    Double J,

    There are, and always have been, a certain type of "folk" who have taken the bait from the NRA (negotiate rights away). These "folk" really, truly, sincerely believe the NRA is a gun RIGHTS organization. Lots of these "folk" even send their hard earned cash to the NRA. That's the beauty of this once-great nation. Anyone can do anything until it violates the rights of others. If you want to believe the press releases of the NRA and send your money to them, by all means, do so. Send them as much (or more) than you can afford. What this NRA propaganda piece DOESN'T mention is if you're carrying a weapon in your car, without a permit, according to the totally ridiculous Mississippi attorney general's "opinion," you're subject to arrest, despite what the state constitution clearly states. Wonder why the NRA doesn't address that question?








    Tarzan

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    mark edward marchiafava wrote:
    On the surface, to the uninformed, this sounds great !!!! But think about it. If you or yours is the victim of a bogus shooting, and some politically connected shooterhas a judge in their pocket, rules a totally bogus shooting is "justified," you have no civil recourse.

    What's needed is not MORE laws, but honest judges. Let someone file a bogus lawsuit against a citizen. First time it gets to court, BAM !!!! Out the door it goes. Basically, what the NRA (negotiate rights away) has done is deprive potential litigants of due process, a VERY dangerous concept, something embraced by Amerikans. Change the culture of Amerika? Absolutely. For the worse. If the NRA wants to do something constructive, let them restore the rights LOST due to their involvement.
    Again



    Tarzan

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    Well, this is turning into a personal attack thread.

    Which is sad, because Mark has a very valid point about the litigation thing. It's your legal right to sue somebody if you feel you have been wronged, and castle doctrine laws infringe on that right.

    Usually, the right to sue is being abused by criminals, and the law is designed to stop that, but it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the law could also be squelching legitimate civil actions.

    This is why you should always think long and hard before endorsing a new law.

    I still like the spirit of castle doctrine laws, of course, but the devil is in the details.

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    Well have the casle law in Alabama, but cops say it doesn't seem to apply
    if the attacker is a juvy.

    Cop: You can be charged with assult for detaining them.
    Homeowner: Can't I defend my property?
    Cop: But there just children!
    Homeowner: Don't we have castle doctrine?
    Cops: Yes, but there just children!







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