Intruder Shot in Back = Murder? in CA


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Life During Wartime
January 19, 2014, 07:54 AM
So I have read on ccw sources that in the state of California if you shoot anyone in the back, even if it is self defense it is automatically considered murder under the flawed guise that shot in the back means that the threat was running away and not a threat. What does it come to in home defense
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlrGfhErqlg
watch this video to see what I mean. In the first scenario, the man takes 1 intruder down and the second intruder immediately runs away. Now if the man had hit him in the back as the intruder broke cover would that be murder under Calif law? Because just because the dude ran doesnt mean he isnt hiding in the corner of that room just waiting to pop the man as he comes around it.

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herrwalther
January 19, 2014, 11:35 AM
In other states it would be difficult to prove that an intruder shot in the back is still a threat. In California it would be a slam dunk case for a 2A hating prosecutor to label us as blood thirsty vigilantes.

Art Eatman
January 19, 2014, 01:08 PM
Let's stick with California law, okay? Other states' laws are not relevant.

An intruder who runs away might be armed and therefore could be seen as an ongoing threat to the community--and has already demonstrated a willingness to kill.

tepin
January 19, 2014, 01:13 PM
Shooting someone in the back does not automatically equate to murder. It would depend on how you explain things....
1. Someone walking backwards towards you... a reasonable and prudent person should conclude that the perp believes they have the skill to disarm you and that you would be unwilling to shoot them in the back. The perp is going for the gun in your hand.
2. Furtive Movement... holding the perp at gunpoint, facing away from you, their arm or hand slowly moves to his waist. Given the context of the situation, a reasonable and prudent person should conclude that the only reason for the movement was to gain access to a weapon.
3. Prosecutor/LE Question: "Why on earth would someone walk backwards or go for a weapon while you are holding them at gunpoint. It makes no sense! You murdered him!".... Your Answer: "According to the FBI over 80% of the people breaking into homes are high on something. In addition, reasonable and prudent people don't break into homes. What jury would believe the dead person on my livingroom floor was a reasonable person with normal thought processes?"

torqem
January 19, 2014, 01:15 PM
"might" be armed? You'd better NOT be shooting any fleeing person, dudes. Especially if they don't have a gun. if they had some other weapon, or dropped the gun, then they are little to no threat and you'd better just let them go.

9mmepiphany
January 19, 2014, 01:27 PM
in the state of California if you shoot anyone in the back, even if it is self defense it is automatically considered murder under the flawed guise that shot in the back means that the threat was running away and not a threat.
Can you cite a source for that flawed information?

I will say that all shooting deaths are investigated as homicides. Murder is a legal finding which is determined in a court of law.

torqem
January 19, 2014, 01:30 PM
Criminal charges are just part of it. Just ask OJ Simpson if you can be found innocent of murder, but guilty of a 100 millon $ "wrongful death civil suit, IN CA, of course.

mljdeckard
January 19, 2014, 01:37 PM
KA may well have a serious disasvantage to defenders, but it is no more absolute than anywhere else. That is just as flawed as guaranteeing that in gun friendly states, the defender will ALWAYS get the benefit of the doubt. The phrase everyone should get ingrained into their heads is: "the totality of the circumstances".

Trent
January 19, 2014, 01:52 PM
There's a valid scenario.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuCEeQgYCws

As the bad guy is exiting the building he's still shooting over his shoulder (with most of his back turned) at people.

Just because their torso isn't facing you doesn't mean they are not a serious threat to you or another.

HexHead
January 19, 2014, 01:56 PM
Maybe he turned around to distract you while reaching for a weapon?

Life During Wartime
January 19, 2014, 02:02 PM
@9mm

I would love to cite a source just to re-read it myself, but I can't remember wheer the freak I read it. I'm thinking it was on calccw forums but can't remember which thread :(

Sam Cade
January 19, 2014, 02:15 PM
On a related note, the Force Science Institute finds that the "average" 180 deg turn takes .58 seconds.

http://www.forcescience.org/tablet/180degreeturn.html

coolluke01
January 19, 2014, 03:28 PM
Shooting someone in the back has been successfully defended in court. It has been proved that a person can turn in the amount of time it takes for the brain to process the threat and actuate the trigger.

The situation: A attacker is running away from you after you drew your gun. They turn and point a gun at you while still moving away. In the amount of time it takes to process and fire, the attacker could turn back around.

I tell all my students that if anyone ever tells you that something is always one way or another, they are wrong! Every situation is different. You need to understand the laws of your state and ensure that you act in a way that's consistent with what a reasonable person would do in that same situation.

fastbolt
January 19, 2014, 04:41 PM
Have you read the updated (2013) California Firearms Laws Summary at the state DOJ website?

You might browse pages 8-9.

http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/pdf/cfl2013.pdf?

orionengnr
January 19, 2014, 04:49 PM
On a related note, the Force Science Institute finds that the "average" 180 deg turn takes .58 seconds.
And if the BG is standing "bladed" to you, as in a Weaver stance, then he only needs to turn 90 deg...not 180.
It might be reasonable to assume that this would take about 1/2 the time stated above.

One quarter of a second. Think about that for a bit.

I think that a good lawyer could bring all of this out in court. Of course, we'd all hate to be in that predicament...and hopefully, none of us will be.

But it is an interesting mental exercise...and probably worth considering, if not worth obsessing about (unless you live in CA...which I no longer do, thanks be to God).

JohnKSa
January 19, 2014, 05:38 PM
Here are some circumstances under which I would think it would be legal to shoot an attacker in the back.

1. The attacker is shooting at you over his shoulder.
2. The attacker is shooting/attacking another innocent while having his back to you.
3. You are in the process of returning fire and the attacker turns abruptly and without warning.
4. You are in the process of returning fire and the attacker falls and twists/turns while falling.
5. The attacker has engaged you and then turns to run in a direction that doesn't suggest retreat but instead would put him in a position with an obvious and significant tactical advantage over you.
6. The attacker has engaged you and his weapon is now empty or neutralized and he turns to retrieve another weapon.
7. In a protracted engagement, although you find you can not retreat, you do manage to maneuver behind the attacker without his knowledge while he is still actively attempting to engage you in your former position.

There are probably others.

Steve in PA
January 19, 2014, 06:05 PM
I second the research by Force Science. Excellent research and material.

col_temp
January 19, 2014, 06:42 PM
JuohnKSa,

Good list.
Either way we have to be able to articulate to the Jury and others about why we did what we did and then be able to back it up that it was reasonable and necessary.

By default shooting someone in the back will bring about additional scrutiny so either way we better be able to articulate why we had to act as we did.

Frank Ettin
January 20, 2014, 12:23 AM
I would love to cite a source just to re-read it myself, but I can't remember wheer the freak I read it....Then there's no reason to pay any attention to it. As Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

And contrary to popular myth, California self defense law is fairly good. California has had a form of Castle Doctrine for years (Penal Code 198.5):Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred. As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

As provided in California Jury Instructions (CALJIC No. 5.50), there's no duty to retreat:CALJIC No. 5.50, Self-Defense—Assailed Person Need Not Retreat: A person threatened with an attack that justifies the exercise of the right of self-defense need not retreat. In the exercise of [his] . . . right of self-defense a person may stand [his] . . . ground and defend [himself] . . . by the use of all force and means which would appear to be necessary to a reasonable person in a similar situation and with similar knowledge; and a person may pursue [his] . . . assailant until [he] . . . has secured [himself] . . . from danger if that course likewise appears reasonably necessary. This law applies even though the assailed person might more easily have gained safety by flight or by withdrawing from the scene.

And see one California lawyer's outline (http://www.shouselaw.com/self-defense.html) of the rules.

Of course shooting someone in the back will not help your self defense claim -- in California or anywhere else. But you would still have an opportunity to try to make your case.

mgkdrgn
January 20, 2014, 04:22 PM
One man's "retreat" is another mans "maneuvering for position".

If I shoot an intruder in my home in the back, it just means my tactics were better than his.

Kleanbore
January 20, 2014, 05:19 PM
Posted by mgkdrgn: One man's "retreat" is another mans "maneuvering for position".

If I shoot an intruder in my home in the back, it just means my tactics were better than his.Of course, depending upon the circumstances and the evidence, it could mean something else entirely.

And your having posted those words on a public forum could help establish that.

wlkjr
January 20, 2014, 05:44 PM
He could be attacking another family member or advancing toward another room with a family member in it, perhaps a childs room.

Kleanbore
January 20, 2014, 05:52 PM
Posted by by wlkjr: He could be attacking another family member or advancing toward another room with a family member in it, perhaps a childs room.And of course if he were, it would make little difference whether he were shot in the front, back, or side, or from upstairs.

rromeo
January 20, 2014, 07:39 PM
In sum, California may have some DAs that are more willing to press charges in such cases, but nothing is written in the law. Is that how I should read this?

Frank Ettin
January 20, 2014, 08:10 PM
...California may have some DAs that are more willing to press charges in such cases, but nothing is written in the law. Is that how I should read this? No, that's not how you should read it. In fact there's no reason to read it at all. It really doesn't mean anything.

It's just an uncorroborated, undocumented statement from some unknown source is cyberspace. So it's just meaningless drivel.

9mmepiphany
January 20, 2014, 08:19 PM
I haven't researched the numbers of cases, but I'll offer a couple of observations:

1. Usually when I read about a case of a person using a gun in self defense being wrongly charged by a local DA...it isn't in CA.

2. I live in a metropolitan city in CA and we've had numerous cases where homeowners have used guns in self-defense where I thought it was questionable...and DA gave them a pass

Life During Wartime
January 20, 2014, 11:52 PM
Thank you guys for your discussion and the proven twist rate findings that makes me feel much more at peace with that situation.

NMPOPS
January 21, 2014, 05:41 AM
"An intruder who runs away might be armed and therefore could be seen as an ongoing threat to the community--and has already demonstrated a willingness to kill."

In a self defense situation, especially in your home, it is not your job to decide is he is still a threat to the community. If he is running away, he is no longer a threat to you. That's all the courts will be concerned with, were you still in danger? NO

Art Eatman
January 21, 2014, 12:32 PM
NMPOPS, while your opinion is possibly the case in California, Texas law is quite specific as to assessment of ongoing threat to the community.

State laws vary. What holds true in one does not necessarily apply to others.

Sav .250
January 21, 2014, 12:37 PM
Not being a lawyer, my opinion is of little value!

mgkdrgn
January 22, 2014, 10:27 AM
Of course, depending upon the circumstances and the evidence, it could mean something else entirely.

And your having posted those words on a public forum could help establish that.
Not in this state.

An intruder in my home, while I am there, is assumed to be there to do me or my family grievous bodily harm and I may act accordingly.

Kleanbore
January 22, 2014, 12:01 PM
Posted by mgkdrgn: An intruder in my home, while I am there, is assumed to be there to do me or my family grievous bodily harm and I may act accordingly.The word is presumed, and as in the case of all presumptions afforded under the law, that presumption is rebuttable.

Evidence that an intruder had been departing, or attempting to depart, would certainly render that presumption ineffective.

Frank Ettin
January 22, 2014, 12:02 PM
...Not in this state.

An intruder in my home, while I am there, is assumed to be there to do me or my family grievous bodily harm and I may act accordingly...The operative word is "presumed." It's a legal term relating to evidence and proof; and presumptions are rebuttable, which means that one may lose the benefit of it under certain facts.

All of this is explained in this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=718860), this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=721597) and this thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=722692).

The law of South Carolina is not unique. It is similar to Castle Doctrine laws in many States -- including California.

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