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How can they charge this man - MN has the Castle Doctrine?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by usmarine0352_2005, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Well-Known Member


    So he shot what he thought was an intruder entering into his house. And MN has the Castle Doctrine. The granddaughter was supposed to be inside the home and had snuck out, so this gentleman had no reason to believe she was outside of the home.

    How can they charge him, especially with MN having Castle Doctrine?


  2. Birch Knoll

    Birch Knoll Well-Known Member

    Castle Doctrine laws aren't hunting licenses. Minnesota law says:

    Would a reasonable person have considered himself to be in danger of great boldily harm or death, or was a felony being commited in his home? If not, BZZZT -- you've used leathal force without justification. You win a trip downtown.
  3. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "and fired two rounds after seeing what he thought was someone trying to open the deck door."

    Probably would have looked a little better if he'd let her open the door an inch or two before he shot her twice. I'm thinking that 'trying to open the deck door' might not be a shooting offense.

  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    As we've noted before, a Castle Doctrine Law is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, nor a license to kill.

    Every Castle Doctrine Law has conditions that need to be satisfied in order for one to come within its protection. Also the Castle Doctrine Laws, if you do come under their protections, generally only provide favorable evidentiary presumptions; and presumptions are rebuttable.

    Not much information here, but it is conceivable that the DA concluded from the available evidence that he can establish that the Minnesota's Castle Doctrine isn't applicable. Ultimately the court may need to decide.
  5. gego

    gego Well-Known Member

    Sounds like negligence to not try to identify who it was since the child was still outside the house and no immediate threat to him.

    This guy must walk around with his gun to be able to respond that quickly.
  6. climbnjump

    climbnjump Well-Known Member

    Since we weren't there we can only go by what the news reports say, but this doesn't sound like someone frantically trying to bash their way into the house.

    So Castle Doctrine or no, how many of us believe that it would be appropriate to take a couple of shots from inside your house at "someone" outside your house that you "think" is "trying" to open your door? As in shooting at an unidentified target???
  7. usmarine0352_2005

    usmarine0352_2005 Well-Known Member


    I'm not sure I want to let an intruder into my house, especially when I have the drop on them.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    I don't read that law as allowing someone to shoot at a noise without at least having reasonable cause to believe he was in personal danger. Also, the report doesn't give the time; I would presume it was night, but nothing says that for sure.

  9. SHR970

    SHR970 Well-Known Member

    Breaking and entering usually constitutes a felony. That would meet the test of the law cited.

    Based on the scant account from the article, it seems the D.A. does not believe that there is sufficient prima facia evidence that the shooter had cause to believe that B&E was in progress OR that fear was present. What we don't know is the content of the statement of the shooter to the police after the event. That may or may not have been the deciding factor.
  10. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    "Be aware of your target and what's beyond it."

    Shooting blind is stupid.

    Shooting blind and hitting a person is criminal.
  11. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    Castle Doctrine has a lot more legal pitfalls than most realize. You can't just open fire on someone and say "castle doctrine" to the responding officers and expect a polite wave and goodbye from them. I am guessing she was shot through the door. This is just another reason why one of the rules is "be sure of your target and what is beyond it." EDIT: Trent beat me to it :p
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2013
  12. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Well-Known Member

    Castle Doctrine was veto'd by the govenor in Minnesota.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  13. philobeddoe

    philobeddoe Well-Known Member

    Castle Doctrine or not, a stern 'get the heck off my porch' usually gets it done.
  14. LemmyCaution

    LemmyCaution Well-Known Member

    Fair enough. But perhaps the ability and effort to discern between an 'intruder' and one's own granddaughter would be prudent in an assessment of a reasonable fear that one is responding to a threat of lethal force against oneself , at least pursuant to Cooper's 4th Rule.

    Typically, the sanctioned use of lethal force is judged in accordance with the standard of reasonable fear.

    One may personally feel that one is unwilling to take any chances, but one will still be judged by others, not oneself, as to whether such a tactical stance is reasonable.

    It's that whole 'judged by 12 vs. carried by 6' cliché, which never seems to include a probabilistic assessment that the odds of being 'carried by 6' are actually vanishingly slim, whereas the odds of being 'judged by 12' are at about 100%.
  15. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Well-Known Member

    This sort of incident is a tragedy at both ends... all that was needed is a quick challenge before shooting. In most cases a real intruder will flee - if it's a family member they'll speak up. What your "intruder" does after being challenged will determine the outcome.
  16. gym

    gym member

    You need to identify your target before you fire your gun. You can't just shoot at shapes.
  17. Godsgunman

    Godsgunman Well-Known Member

    Like they say "You can't fix stupid". As has been pointed out he don't know every detail except what has been given us. From what we know, very very bad decision making in many aspects. 1) If you have children, especially teenagers in the house you have to know that every "bump" in the night could simply be them, not a BG. 2) This should give any resonable gun owner more reason to identify exactly who this person is. 3) She wasn't even in the house yet and he shot through a glass door! Negligence 101 right there. You have ample opportunity to identify the target through a glass door. Use your voice, yell out and tell the unidentified person to identify themselves quickly or face serious injury. I won't get into the whole "sweeping vs not sweeping the house" discussion. I don't have teenagers (yet) but I was once one not too long ago and a discussion about trying to sneak out and having guns in the house for intruders dont mix well sounds like a good convo to have. 4) Very strong and obvious case to be made that his life was not threatened in any way since he failed to identify the target and the "intruder" wasn't even in the house. Unfortunately to many mental errors for this to be justified. Thankfully they aren't having to deal with a funeral though.
  18. boom boom

    boom boom Well-Known Member

    Actually, Minnesota does have a form of the Castle Doctrine, See State v. Glowacki, 630 NW 2d 392, 402 (Minn. 2001). You do not have to retreat from confrontation within the home but you must still act reasonably. Thus, the prosecutor concluded that the minister did not apply deadly force in a reasonable fashion. Failure to identify target, failure to ensure entry was in a tumultuous fashion (e.g. breaking in), failure to turn on exterior lights etc. Generally speaking, shooting through exterior doors is generally troublesome for the shooter. My guess is the shooter will plead to lesser charges or case will go to trial. Then a judge and jury will decide whether he acted reasonably to prevent a felony in the residence 10 MNPRAC CRIMJIG 7.05 (jury instructions)
  19. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Some posts have been edited/delete as off topic. Let's please stay with the subject of this thread.
  20. floydster

    floydster Well-Known Member

    On the news tonite, he is going to be charged with a felony, his trial is to be set.


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