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Thread: Castle Doctrine

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    Does anyone here know or have a line into VCDL to know if anything has been introduced to permit a castle doctrine law similar to North Carolina?

    While I don't think we need a law to say it's lawful to protect your auto from being robbed by using deadly force; the thread regarding an intruder in your home has got me thinking about the lawful use of force within one's own residence.

    Something along the lines of a person entering into your residence has declared a hostile intent and the use of deadly force is authorized. And, a cherry on top would be something stating that no homeowner could be charged in a civil court for having shot someone in defense of thier home.

    Maybe I'm dreaming.. but, I'd like to toss out that question.

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    I'd like to see something like this put into effect to help protect home owners....

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    It was introduced one or two years ago if I recall. The copout reason as to why the bill was killed was that a castle doctrine essentially already existed in case law - therefore no new law would be necessary.

    But the case law does not protect the homeowner from the million dollar civil suit filed by the scumbag's family.

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    I feel tempted to draft something up myself including a provision for no-civil suits, assuming that's even legal.

    Can't hurt and I'll just work it in my spare time. Thanks for the background.

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    I agree that it is absurd for anyone in VA, or the rest of the US for that matter, to have to go through a checklist of options before a justified home defense shooting can occur.

    <sarcasm>
    1) If the intruder is in your house, determine if they are alone.
    2) Determine if the intruder knows you are there.
    3) Determine if you can run away.
    4) If you can't, ask the intruder politely if you can leave through the front door. *You may want to suggest that the intruder use a lifting belt to move the large plasma TV. After all you don't want to be sued for an injury that occurs on your property.
    5) If the intruder refuses to let you by, try pleading.
    6) If the intruder still refuses, hold up your gun and look threatening, but don't shoot yet.
    7) If the intruder starts to pull a weapon, look meaner.
    8) Wow, you actually made it to this step? Ok, you may fire now.
    </sarcasm>

    If a stranger enter's my home without my permission, I should not have to try and read his/her mind in order to determine intent. I am not saying go in blazing, but given the immediate threat level and situational awareness, you should not have to be concerned about ascertaining intent or waste time finding a safe way to run away. For many people, home is the last bastion of safety from the rest of the world. There is no other place to retreat too IMHO.

    no homeowner could be charged in a civil court for having shot someone in defense of thier home
    The real hitch would be the legal definition of "defense". This would have to be clearly stated or else lawyers will twist the information presented to suit their needs. Would it be considered "defense" when they stand at your door picking the lock, standing within the door frame, holding your TV or standing in your bedroom? A point of no return would need to be established.



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    I agree the fact that someone just broke into your home should be enough justifacation to use any force needed to stop them or remove them from your home.
    After all they just broke into your house, obviously they are not selling girl scout cookies they have ill intent.

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    You'll have to ask PVC.

    The "industry standard" appears to be Oklahoma. That's what was discussed at the pre-December meeting anyway. However, once actually agreed to be submitted we once again got the watered down, "we'll arrest anyone we damn well please" bill that we had last year. The same one CoJ thought was worthless and voted down.

    I can't really say I blame them as much as it may have been a minor improvement.

    The major problem thatREAL castle doctrineis supposed to protect against is overzealous cops and commonwealths attorneys using they premise "a firearm was involved, arrest everyone involved and sort it out later". Castle doctrine shields the innocent party from prosecution for being in the right. Unlike the common law in which you must PROVE TO THEJURY beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used was either justifiable or excusable self defense.

    Self defense is an "affirmative defense" meaning that you admit to the crime. Once you do, you are guilty of the crime until you have proven to the jury that eitheryou were justified or excused. The former is reserved for atotally innocent party, suddenly attacked, who had a reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death and who had presumably no "participation" in bringing on the trouble. The latter is when the innocent party somehow participated in the escalation, and then retreated, expressed his / her desire for peace, but was then forced to apply sufficient force to repelthe attack.

    You can see that the deck is HEAVILY stacked against the Citizen here.

    Probably the best defense against these abusive lawsuits by criminal family "survivors" is to sue them for raising a burden on society first before they sue you as the defending person...





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    As I understand it there is no accepted overall "Castle Doctrine" and each state that has adopted some form has variances. Partly because of this the CD is misunderstood by the public, LEO, Lawyers, Legislatures and especially the media. I don't think it has been tested in court with enough variances to fully become the effective legislation that it was intended to be. However it is a great start and although common sense should make it unnecessary it doesn't and needs to be implemented in those states that don't have it and probably tweaked in those that do. One thing that it is not is a license to kill anyone who enters your home and that is going to get someone in big trouble. I think all states either include or infer the term "reasonable" and that varies with a multitude of factors. I hope most cases will be clear cut but there is going to be some that are on that grey line. Probably the biggest advantage of the CD is the civil lawsuit protection and if that is not included then you don't have very much that isn't already covered.

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    PT111 wrote:
    SNIP Partly because of this the CD is misunderstood by the public, LEO, Lawyers, Legislatures and especially the media.
    Not as a contradiction, but to elaborate further.

    The biggest reason it is misunderstood is because it is named "Castle Doctrine."

    The elements of Castle Doctrine are already present in most common law--right to self-defense, ability-opportunity-jeopardy, immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger...

    The big advantages of so-called Castle Doctrine laws results from the fact they codify statutorily what already exists in most common law. But, in my mind, they don't get much further. The ones I've read still contain verbiage about reasonable force, in self-defense, etc. The problem has always been prosecutors and civil suit attorneys twisting or omittingfacts. I can't see that they will be completely stopped from thateven witha Castle Doctrine law. The best I can see is that it will make itharder for them, thus protecting moreself-defenseshooting citizens. Which is GREAT! And it will give weight to the idea that self-defense and firearm ownershipare legitimate, which is also GREAT! Its just not the solution that Castle Doctrine seems to be sometimes represented--"makes it illegal to prosecute or sue for self-defense."

    Promoting it as Castle Doctrine just opens the door to sound-bites and anti-gun distortions. "The homeowner can just blow the teenage burglar away!" Etc., etc.

    It just needs to be called what it is. Something that reflects what it really accomplishes--tightening restrictions on inappropriate prosecutions and civil suits. Maybe something like, "The Lawful Self-defense Relief Act." And then that exact aspect needs to be promoted--it makes it harder for an inappropriate prosecution or civil suit to go forward.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. (Because that is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--for each other and everybody else--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.)

    Equality and consent of the governed: We're all equal. How can another legitimately govern me without my express consent?

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    In SC it was called the 'Protection of Persons and Property Act'.

    http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess116_...bills/4301.htm

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    PT111 wrote:
    In SC it was called the 'Protection of Persons and Property Act'.

    http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess116_...bills/4301.htm
    That is the legislative act.

    The Statute black-letter law is http://www.scstatehouse.net/code/t16c011.htm

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    PT111 wrote:
    In SC it was called the 'Protection of Persons and Property Act'.

    http://www.scstatehouse.net/sess116_...bills/4301.htm
    That is the legislative act.

    The Statute black-letter law is http://www.scstatehouse.net/code/t16c011.htm

    Either we are equal or we are not. Good people ought to be armed where they will, with wits and guns and the truth. NRA *******
    That is why I posted the link to the ACT and not tha actual code. Since most on here like to have verification of any statements I thought that I would show the lint to the actual act and what it was called. I don't think that the code references it by either Castle Doctrine or anything else other than the code of laws.

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    Xeni wrote:
    I feel tempted to draft something up myself including a provision for no-civil suits, assuming that's even legal.

    Can't hurt and I'll just work it in my spare time. Thanks for the background.
    HB 710, available here. Now's a good time to write both the Committee for Courts of Justice and your senator and delegate.

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    Citizen wrote:
    The elements of Castle Doctrine are already present in most common law--right to self-defense, ability-opportunity-jeopardy, immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger...
    Yes, those are the requirements, but what a codified Castle Doctrine does that is of greatest importance is shift the burden of proof where it should be. In claiming self-defense or other personal defense justification, you must first admit to the crime, and then prove it was justifiable. With Castle Doctrine as codified in most states, the shooter is presumed innocent even though they have admitted to the crime, and the prosecution if they wish to press chargesmust prove that the shooting does not meet the requirements for protection under CD.

    In Texas, which has a pretty good CD law, the shooting is justifiableas personal defenseif the shooter has reasonable belief thatforce or deadly forcewas necessary to protect the actor;a third person who would, if able, be justified in using force; or to prevent the commission of certain violent crimes such as kidnapping, murder, sexual assault or robbery. The shooter'sbeliefthat force/deadly forcewas necessaryis presumed to be reasonableif theperson shot wasunlawfullyand forcibly enteringthe shooter's home, vehicle or business,or if the shooter waswitness toan aboveviolent crime. A shooting is also justifiable in defense of property, if the shooter believes deadly force and nothing less is necessary to prevent the commission of arson, burglary, robbery, nighttime theft, or nighttime criminal mischief against the shooter, or to prevent the escape of a criminal with property gained by burglary, robbery, or nighttime theft against the shooter. Deadly force is justifiable to protect a third person's property if the third person would have been justified in using the same force, and if the shooter had permission or a legal duty to protect the third person's property, or if the third person is a close relative, live-in, or ward of the shooter.

    All that hoopla means is that in Texas you are PRESUMED to be justified when you shoot:

    • to protect yourself while in your homeor vehicle against forcible entry into or removal from said home or vehicle,
    • to protect yourself against robbery, rape, murder or kidnapping,
    • to protect a third party against any of the above being committed against them,
    • to protect your property from nighttime theft,robbery,burglary, arson or nighttime vandalism if there is no other way to stop the crime without exposing yourself to serious bodily harm,
    • to recover your property whilein immediate pursuit of a person who has committed nighttime theft, burglary, or robbery IF there is no other way to recover the property without exposing yourself to serious bodily harm, or
    • to protect or recover a third party's property from criminal theft, damage or destruction if thethird partyhas given you permission, you have a legal duty to do so, or the third party is your parent, child, spouse, or ward.
    The prosecution, in refuting this defense, must prove that the shooting was not justified because of a failure to meet the requirements of the statute; you are presumed to have met them upon asserting your defense, and therefore innocent until proven guilty.

    Additionally, common and case law generally require that the person attempt to retreat, because generally deadly force should be the very last option. Castle Doctrine as coded in Texas removes this obligation:

    [PC Sec 9.32] (c) A person who has a right to be present at the location
    where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person
    against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in
    criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not
    required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this
    section.
    (d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining
    whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed
    that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not
    consider whether the actor failed to retreat.
    if you are justified inusing deadly force to protect yourself or a third party personally,it holds regardless of whether you first tried to escape, and failure to attempt to escape cannot be considered against your reasonable belief that your use of force is justifiable.

    Lastly, Texas law protects defendants in civil cases.AlthoughPCChapter 9specifies:
    § 9.06. CIVIL REMEDIES UNAFFECTED. The fact that
    conduct is justified under this chapter does not abolish or impair
    any remedy for the conduct that is available in a civil suit.
    the Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 83 specifies:
    § 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or
    deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is
    immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that
    results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as
    applicable.
    CPRC Sec. 83.001 is the newer code and therefore should, for all actions after Sept 1, 2007,pre-empt PC Sec. 9.05.

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