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Proof that Castle Doctrine Laws are not a Get out of Jail Free Card

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Jeff White, Jun 8, 2011.

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  1. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    It's often posted here and in threads in General and Legal that Castle Doctrine Laws are an automatic free pass if you should shoot someone in your residence.

    Everyone who thinks that should read this article:

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/...cle_e5733da4-9156-11e0-bec5-0019bb30f31a.html

    You might notice that the incident occurred in April and on June 7 they were cleared and the shooting was deemed justified under the Castle Doctrine Law. The two were arrested, had to post bond, hire attorneys and worry about their future for 2 months while the investigation was conducted and the prosecutors decided that it was in fact a justified shooting.

    The use of deadly force is always a very serious thing and you shouldn't expect a pat on the back from the authorities if you have to use deadly force. You can expect a thorough investigation and maybe to be arrested if things don't immediately look like a clear cut case of self defense.

    I suspect that the woman's prior relationship with the deceased had something to do with the investigation. Even though she had an order of protection against the deceased many couples get them when they are angry with each other and then when they reconcile ignore it, until they are angry again then protected party often wants it enforced.
     
  2. Unistat

    Unistat Member

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    I was told by a cop (who was teaching a pistol class) that if you are involved in a shooting, expect to lose 20 lbs. and spend 2 of the most stressful years of your life, even if you are found justified.

    This was his personal experience with an on-duty shooting and I have no reason to expect it would be better for a civilian.
     
  3. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    Shooting someone is never a good thing. We should view it that way.
     
  4. gdesloge

    gdesloge Member

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    Should'nt one expect to be detained and arrested by the police when one has fatally shot someone? Isn't that why there are so many admonitions against making any kind of statement to the police until one has one's own attorney present?

    Isn't it the role of the prosecuting district attorney to determine whether or not the case warrants charges to be brought against the individual, and not the role of the police on the scene?

    I do appreciate any clarification -

    gd
     
  5. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Yep, you will be part of an homicide investigation. Even if innocent and justified, the average person can expect mental and/or physical challenges.
     
  6. Overkilll0084

    Overkilll0084 Member

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    On it's face, it looks like fairly clear cut example of a self defense shooting. The prosecutors were simply being jerks for dragging it out that long. Last I looked, St. Louis is a bit, shall we say, progressive in it's politics. I'm guessing that would carry over into the prosecutor's office.
     
  7. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Not knowing MO law very well it's possible that the prosecutors had no choice. Here in my state, for example, any shooting like this that results in a death goes to a Grand Jury, the prosecutor has no choice but to send the homicide case there. That can be a lengthy process. Even if the prosecutor is 100% convinced it's a good shoot, he simply has no choice.

    That's the case in many other states too, wouldn't surprise me if it was that way in MO, but I'm not sure.
     
  8. HD Fboy

    HD Fboy Member

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  9. Akeva41

    Akeva41 Member

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    I think if you look at it from the other side of the fence you may not feel that way. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office has a lot of good people working there but are constantly overwhelmed by caseloads (this is St. Louis) so they can not devote all their resources to one case. Also they probably had to wait for evidence to come back from the state crime lab and that is always back logged. Then there is the fact that who ever got assigned the case, no matter how they felt personally about the shooting has a professional duty to make sure it is investigated thoroughly. So 2 months under those circumstances is not bad.
     
  10. possum

    possum Member

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    you should always take the "back door" exit if you have the ability to do so. if there is not back door, you should still try to "retreat" as much as you possibly can whatever the law is or isn't in your state. Of course every situation is different and in some circumstances and situations it is just not feasible to retreat for one of many reasons. How ever if you can, and have the ability to do so, you should.
     
  11. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Prosecutors in the state of OK are elected. Prosecutors in OK are not required to take a good shoot to the grand jury. If a prosecutor declines to take a shoot to the grand jury the friends and family of the late perp can take up a petition for a grand jury. Not many folks here are going to sign a petition on behalf of a deceased home invader. Our former prosecutor gave three passes on good shoots in an 18 month period. This is one of them. The shooter was not taken to jail.

    http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=071027_1__LAWTO58228


    Very few folks who shoot home invaders in OK ever see the inside of a jail. Unless the police have evidence that it was a bad shoot they can't legally arrest the shooter.

    This is a more recent shooting in our county: The shooter was not arrested.

    http://muskogeephoenix.com/statenews/x2095870512/Lawton-man-killed-in-shooting-at-Medicine-Park-bar
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  12. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    I would expect to be absolved of wrongdoing if I am forced to defend myself in my home from an intruder I have no relationship with. California gives a presumption of serious bodily injury or death from most people breaking into an occupied home.

    Business owners/employees that shoot armed robbers and have security footage that clearly shows the robber was an armed threat generally don't have much trouble either.

    In most other circumstances, such as any self defense in public, self defense on private property, etc I would anticipate a lengthy trial that may or may not go well even if entirely justified under the law.
    With exceptions for rare unlikely things such as stopping an active mass shooter (which tend to be in "gun free zones anyways") or assisting an officer being attacked in a manner that justified deadly force.





    alsaqr said :
    I would say that such situations are not the best examples.
    When a criminal opens fire, especially on a business with people inside, and is then shot with return fire there is little question that deadly force was more than appropriate.
    A guy outside shooting inside into a crowd of people obviously warrants deadly force.
    It is very different from your typical and much more likely confrontation that escalates into deadly force where the motive and escalation of events is more scrutinized and subject to interpretations and allegations. The majority of successful civilian cases of self defense happen before the defender already has lead flying in their direction.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  13. Jon_Snow

    Jon_Snow Member

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    Long-term, yes I would expect to be cleared in that circumstance, but in the short term it's still quite possible to be run through the legal ringer by an over-zealous or anti-gun DA. My understanding of the Ca law is that meeting the three criteria (1. BG is not a member of the household, 2. BG forcibly and illegally enter your home, 3. You have reason to believe that BG forcibly and illegally entered your home.) provides you with the assumption in court of being in fear for your life. A DA could still take you to trial if he/she doubted any of the above. In the meantime you might still be arrested, have to post bail, wait for the DA to decided whether or not to prosecute, go through the trial, etc, none of which sounds like a good time to me.
     
  14. Jeff F

    Jeff F Member

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    This is not always true, there are a few exceptions. I'll just leave it at that.
     
  15. mortablunt

    mortablunt Member

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    @ Jeff F: I'd say that shooting OBL was a good thing. Shooting fellow civilians is generally a very bad idea. Even if the shooting is completely justified, it's going to stick around forever.

    A castle doctrine isn't a law saying that you can kill anyone so long as they're in your house. I also recommend looking into less-than-lethal and nonviolent ways of preventing lethal confrontations; it's much easier to shake off an assault and battery case against a home invasion than it is to do the same against a homicide against a robbery.
     
  16. YammyMonkey

    YammyMonkey Member

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    In Denver last year a homeowner shot & killed a home invader (I think it was a group of 4 or 5 teenagers doing the invading) & ended up dumping $5000 while the prosecutor decided if he should be charged. It seemed like a pretty clear case from the news reports, but this guy still had to expend a fair bit of money, time & emotion thanks to this event.

    Castle doctrine was enacted in Colorado in the early/mid 90's if memory serves.
     
  17. Johnny_Come_Lately

    Johnny_Come_Lately Member

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    Nope. Arrests are most often made on the grounds of probable cause as determined by the investigating police officer or by warrant signed by a judge based on oath and affirmation of the investigating police officer.

    In far fewer cases, the prosecutors will refer information gathered by the police or their own investigator(s) in a case to a grand jury. The grand jury will either indict or return a no true bill. If they indict, the police will usually arrest the subject based on the indictment.

    In fact, absent a high profile case where everyone wants a little camera time, the prosecuting attorney is not even going to go to the crime scene until much later, if at all.
     
  18. ErikO

    ErikO Member

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    Arrests in Castle shootings from what I have been told by St Charles county LEOs (next county over from St Louis) are almost manditory unless the home owner has zero criminal history. It still will be very rough going for the defender. I hope to never have to shoot anyone and so far am doing great in that regard.
     
  19. Bubba613

    Bubba613 member

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    It depends entirely on the locale and attitude. In TN police are pretty good at figuring out who the good guys and bad guys are. I have talked to people involved in shootings and not one of them was charged or even held overnight.

    In other places apparently the attitude is the only people with guns are cops and criminals and if you aren't one then you are the other. Hate it for them.
     
  20. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    "Not knowing MO law very well it's possible that the prosecutors had no choice. Here in my state, for example, any shooting like this that results in a death goes to a Grand Jury, the prosecutor has no choice but to send the homicide case there. That can be a lengthy process. Even if the prosecutor is 100% convinced it's a good shoot, he simply has no choice."

    Which statute is this under? Is it mandatory that the shooter be taken in to custody or arrested?
     
  21. ranburr

    ranburr Member

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    In TX, it will go to a Grand Jury. That does not mean that you will ever see the inside of the police station, much less the jail. If you shoot someone on your property, especially at night, you are pretty much covered. Keep in mind cases like Joe Horn who never spent a moment in custody.
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    True.

    True.

    Not true. Nor does the castle doctrine in Texas extend beyond one's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment.

    The Joe Horn case had nothing to do with the castle doctrine.
     
  23. ranburr

    ranburr Member

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    Kleanbore, wrong on both counts.
     
  24. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    "In TX, it will go to a Grand Jury."

    That is the part that i find interesting. If there is no evidence that a crime was committed how does it go to a grand jury?
     
  25. Flfiremedic

    Flfiremedic Member

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    Points of issue here:
    We spend our time assuming worst case scenerios...flash mobs, armed robbers, home invasions, FTFs in our weapons,whats the best cartridge under various conditions, back up guns, etc...BUT we stop with those assumptions and preparations at the point where we've had to defend ourselves.
    Laws vary by state, but to be responsible CCW carriers, responsible home defense gun owners and and responsible to ourselves and our families we MUST prepare for and assume the worst post shooting. Anecdotal experiences and stories have no place in a post shooting plan...or in our self defense plan.
    Read and know the laws of your state, and any state you enter into in with a firearm. ASSUME THE WORST!
    As soon as the incident ends be prepared and plan around what COULD happen, NOT what you heard happened to someone else, or what you think is the right thing to happen.
    The police will come. You will be arrested. You will be charged. You will be indicted. You will go to trial. You will need an attorney. You will need expert wittnesses. You will be sued civilly. Your homeowners insurance will drop you. The media will hound you. Your professional life will be involved and badly damaged. Your family life will be damaged. There will be threats of and or retribution to you and your family. You will suffer PTSD.
    Am I trying to discourage anyone from defending themselves or CCWing? NO I AM NOT! I am merely concerned that some of us are determined ignore these possibilities and believe that because they feel they were justified, that nothing will happen.
    Some of us continue assume and prepare for a best case scenerio. I firmly believe that the training for and preparing for the worst cannot end at the point that the shooting stops.
    When an armed citizen is standing over a dead or dying suspect, the ONLY interpretation of Rule of Law that counts will be that of the commanding LEO on scene, and the local prosecutor. Yes it may well get sorted out in court later, but in the immediate aftermath, their decisions are the ones you will have to abide by.
     
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