Deadly force and Castle Doctrine

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Bulletski, Sep 13, 2022.

  1. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    NC Coast
    Bottom line for me is (laws be damned), I'll do whatever it takes to not kill anyone.

    I've stated here often... our home defense plan retreats us to a location affording a highly advantageous narrow shooting lane. Intruders can clean out my house... that's what home owners insurance is for.

    But if they step into that lane they can have only one other intent. We've enough munitions and advantage to keep multiple assailants at bay until the law arrives.

    Outside the home I've no advantage save awareness, avoidance and courtesy.
  2. plainsdrifter

    plainsdrifter Member

    Jun 3, 2021
    Just like outside and inside of your home here in AZ "imminent fear for your life and others" are the key words. I would say outside try to retreat if at all possible and you should have a good story why you couldn't retreat. Inside is another story.
    RetiredUSNChief likes this.
  3. Madcap_Magician

    Madcap_Magician Member

    Apr 8, 2009
    Neither of you are right. If someone breaks into your house uninvited, you may have the right to use force, up to and including deadly force, in justifiable self defense. But there are also circumstances in which you would lose this right or not have had it in the first place, it is not a carte blanche right to kill someone. On the other hand, the simple fact that someone is unarmed after having broken into your house does not automatically mean you are not privileged to use deadly force in justifiable self defense, either.
    RetiredUSNChief and RickD427 like this.
  4. RickD427

    RickD427 Member

    Dec 25, 2010
    King County
    A former Commander from my agency summarized things quite well. He said "You kill somebody because you have to, not because you can." That simple sentence summarized a ton of case law into just a single sentence that can easily understood.

    Please keep in mind that the "Castle Doctrine" is established in the statutory law of each state. There can be fifty different versions of the "Castle Doctrine" and one needs to be careful to keep in mind which flavor of the doctrine exists in their state, or if it does not exist in their state.

    California does not have a "Castle Doctrine", but it does have a statute that provides some limited protections of a "Castle Doctrine" in Penal Code section 198.5. That section provides a rebuttable legal presumption that a person who uses deadly force against a non-family member who forcibly enters their home acted with the requisite level of fear to employ deadly force. But section 198.5 falls short of being a complete "Castle Doctrine" in that is provides no bar to a civil lawsuit and that the presumption can be rebutted.

    I followed a criminal case where a homeowner was convicted of murder for killing a burglar who forced entry into his home, despite his pleading the presumption of PC 198.5. The homeowner was a self-proclaimed community guardian who cited his five weeks of service in the Marine Corps (he was separated prior to the completion of Boot Camp) as imposing the duty on him to protect his neighbors from a rash of burglaries. The evidence showed that he essentially set a trap that baited the burglar into breaking into his home. In legal terms, the prosecution successfully rebutted the PC 198.5 presumption.
    RetiredUSNChief and alsaqr like this.
  5. Shanvanvocht

    Shanvanvocht Member

    Sep 7, 2021
    Upstate South Carolina
    Regardless of the law, which varies from state to state, the only reason for employing force, deadly or not, in self defense is to neutralize the perceived threat. As Jeff Cooper explained it: "The only reason for shooting at another human being is the overwhelming necessity to cause him to immediately cease what he is doing. This need must be so great that it does not matter, legally or morally, if he dies as a result of being stopped.
    TomVA likes this.
  6. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

    Jul 5, 2007
    South Western, OK
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