Tags

, , , ,

It’s been said that a man’s home is his castle, but what rights does this afford a homeowner in defense of this castle?

The Castle Doctrine (also known as castle law or make my day law) gives citizens in their homes – and in some states – cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force – in some instances even deadly force.

The laws differ from state to state, and what may be considered self defense in one state, might be grounds for a murder or manslaughter indictment in another.

It’s been said that a man’s home is his castle, but what rights does this afford a homeowner in defense of this castle?

The Castle Doctrine (also known as castle law or make my day law) gives citizens in their homes – and in some states – cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force – in some instances even deadly force.

The laws differ from state to state, and what may be considered self defense in one state, might be grounds for a murder or manslaughter indictment in another.

– See more at: http://source.southuniversity.edu/castle-doctrine-from-state-to-state-46514.aspx#sthash.zwViQ4Ba.dpufIt’s been said that a man’s home is his castle, but what rights does this afford a homeowner in defense of this castle?The Castle Doctrine (also known as castle law or make my day law) gives citizens in their homes – and in some states – cars or workplaces the right to protect themselves, other people, and their property by force – in some instances even deadly force.

A Castle doctrine (also known as a castle law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is a legal doctrine that designates a person’s abode (or, in some states, any legally-occupied place [e.g., a vehicle or workplace]) as a place in which that person has certain protections and immunities permitting him or her, in certain circumstances, to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend themselves against an intruder, free from legal responsibility/prosecution for the consequences of the force used.[1] Typically deadly force is considered justified, and a defense of justifiable homicide applicable, in cases “when the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm to him or herself or another”.[1] The doctrine is not a defined law that can be invoked, but a set of principles which is incorporated in some form in the law of many states.

The legal concept of the inviolability of the home has been known in Western Civilization since the age of the Roman Republic.[2] The term derives from the historic English common law dictum that “an Englishman’s home is his castle”. This concept was established as English law by 17th century jurist Sir Edward Coke, in his The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628.[3] The dictum was carried by colonists to the New World, who later removed “English” from the phrase, making it “a man’s home is his castle”, which thereby became simply the castle doctrine.[3] The term has been used in England to imply a person’s absolute right to exclude anyone from his home, although this has always had restrictions, and since the late twentieth century bailiffs have also had increasing powers of entry.[4]

Another term, the “Make My Day Law, arose in the USA at the time of the 1985 Colorado statute that shielded people from any criminal/civil suits for using force – including deadly force – against an invader of the home.[5] The law’s nickname is a reference to the line “Go ahead, make my day” uttered by actor Clint Eastwood‘s character “Dirty Harry” Callahan (in the 1983 police film Sudden Impact).

Justifiable homicideJustifiable homicide[6] inside one’s home is distinct, as a matter of law, from castle doctrine’s no duty to retreat therefrom. Because the mere occurrence of trespassing—and occasionally a subjective requirement of fear—is sufficient to invoke the castle doctrine, the burden of proof of fact is much less challenging than that of justifying a homicide. With a mere justifiable homicide law, one generally must objectively prove to a trier of fact, beyond all reasonable doubt, the intent in the intruder’s mind to commit violence or a felony. It would be a misconception of law to infer that because a state has a justifiable homicide provision pertaining to one’s domicile, it has a castle doctrine, exonerating any duty whatsoever to retreat therefrom.

The use of this legal principle in the USA has been a matter of international controversy in relation to a number of cases, including the deaths of the Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori and the Scottish businessman Andrew De Vries.

Castle Doctrine from State to State

With all of the talk about Standyourground law laws and self-defense in the “media” lately, I thought that it would be a good idea to take a look at which U.S. states have those laws in place and the definition of what the law is, without all of the media hype.

First a general definition of the Standyourground law different states my differ slightly in their interpretation of the law:

Stand-your-ground laws allow someone to use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. Generally, these laws require the person to have a legal right to be at the location and not be engaged in an unlawful activity.

State with Stand Your Ground Laws in Place

Castle Doctrine Definition – again my differ slightly depending on each state.

States with Castle Doctrine laws in place

Strong Castle Doctrine

Today most states have some kind of castle law. The stronger laws do not require homeowners to attempt to retreat before using force to protect their domicile, and there are a select few states that have very strong stand-your-ground laws allowing citizens to use force in their car or at work without first trying to retreat.

States like Texas allow citizens protecting their homes, car, or place of business or employment to use force – including lethal force – when an intruder has unlawfully entered or is attempting to enter using force; is attempting to remove someone from the home, car, or workplace by force; or is attempting to commit a crime such as rape, murder, or robbery. An attempt to retreat is not required before a citizen is justified in using force against the invasive party in Texas.

The state of Florida has such a strong Castle Doctrine that the dwelling being protected does not need to have a roof; can be mobile or immobile; and can be as temporary as a tent.

Other states with strong Castle Doctrine and stand-your-ground laws include: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

Softer Castle Laws

Not all states give citizens as much leeway in protecting their personal property. States like California allow citizens to protect their homes with deadly force if they feel that they or another person are in physical danger, but does not extend to theft, and it only protects residents in their home, and not in cars or at work.

In New York you cannot use deadly force if you know with certainty that you can avoid an intruder by retreating. You can use deadly force if you are not the initial aggressor in an altercation within your home.

Other states with limited, little, or no castle law or case law giving citizens the rights to protect their homes using force include: Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.

Go Ahead, Make My Day Law

In addition to protecting citizens from criminal responsibility, many states, such as Texas, protect citizens against civil action being taken against them after they have used force to protect themselves or others in their home, automobile, or workplace.

As a homeowner and/or resident in the United States, it’s important to know the law in your state. So educate yourself.

As a criminal the only real question to ask yourself if you are a considering breaking into an unsuspecting victim’s home is, “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, Punk?

The information in this article is provided for general information purposes and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual legal advice. You are encouraged to consult with an attorney to obtain professional legal advice on Castle Doctrine in your state.

What do you think – are Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine law a good idea?

 

 

 

***********************************************************

the castle doctrine and stand-your-ground law

States with Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine Laws

Defense of Habitation (Common law & MPC)

Defense of Habitation Law & Legal Definition

The “Stand Your GroundLaw, brought to you by your friendly

Castle Doctrine from State to State – South Source A Publication of

Doorway Killing Brings No Indictment – Los Angeles Times