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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
here is a link to a shooting story where Missouri's Castle law comes into question.
14-year-old feels responsible over death of teen shot by man protecting vehicle | kplr11.com
basically it's a teen got shot while robbing a car parked on private property, in a typically crappy north St.Louis neighborhood kind of story. the police and the prosecutor are looking at the somewhat vague and untested castle law to see if the shooter should be prosecuted.
castle law is not nation wide and you have to know how the law was written and interpreted for your location. good luck.
 

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castle law is not nation wide and you have to know how the law was written and interpreted for your location. good luck.
All states and the Federal government have a Castle Doctrine base to the laws (dates to English common law). Not all laws are written, or interpreted the same, especially in regards to firearms.

In Missouri, as in most states, a car is covered by castle doctrine when you are in it. If it's in your driveway, it usually is not. Castle doctrine does not protect property, you still need to be defending yourself against imminent threat of death or grave bodily injury. In most states, forcible entry into an occupied dwelling is a defacto threat and justification of deadly force.

The question in this case is whether the car, being outside the primary residence, is covered. It really looks like, from the loose "evidence" presented by the media that Missouri's castle doctrine doesn't apply anyway. It was an unoccupied vehicle and there was no threat that justifies the use of deadly force. It won't test the law, which actually is pretty well tested in the courts, because that law really doesn't apply.

You can't shoot someone for stealing your stuff and running away. There has to be a credible threat.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jeff,
it's going to be interesting to see how this plays out. lots of "unknown unknown's" here in Mo.
if I had just got home and left the car unlocked with the interior light on, wouldn't somebody assume I was coming right back to unload more goods and then lock it up?
why would somebody open fire on kids rummaging around in an unlocked car? why shoot up the car?
I'm not shooting at anybody unless they're coming at me and "I'm afraid for my life".
(since this story only involved black folks, I doubt the BLM people will have any marches or protests.)
 

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An addition to this story is that the young man who was killed had a screwdriver in his hand, but no one knows if he brandished it at the car owner. Another variable to this will be how a jury views it....the prosecutor may go ahead and prosecute the homeowner, however I'm not sure he can guarantee a conviction. Even in St Louis, juries aren't known for giving criminals a break.

A few years ago a man in St Louis shot and killed a man trying to steal his car out of the driveway. The car owner said the thief acted like he was going to run him over....to the best of my knowledge there never has been a prosecution.
 

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As far as I know, every state (all 58 of them!) has provisions in their Constitution and/or statutes that give you the right to use deadly force in self defense. Over the years, many states developed a crust of case law over these self defense laws, requiring you to "retreat" from an attacker as far as possible before using deadly force. The "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand your ground" laws simply specify that you don't have to retreat from an attacker; it doesn't give you any new rights to use deadly force to protect your property.

Some states have laws that seem to give you the right to use deadly force to protect property even when your life isn't in danger, but the reality is that the case law and legal precedents pretty much negate those rights. If you kill somebody breaking into your car, you'd better be able to show that they threatened you. A "Stand your ground" law can help in those cases because otherwise you would be expected to retreat back into your house when the car burglar threatened you.

No matter if your state has a "Castle Doctrine" or a "Stand your ground" law, your best bet to stay out of prison is to retreat enough (if possible) to show that you were willing to avoid a confrontation and to only use deadly force when it is clear that you are in danger of death or serious bodily harm. Shooting a kid who's breaking into your car with a screwdriver isn't going to look good to a jury, even if it is a perfectly "good shoot".


Jim
 

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They say that shooting someone, justified or not, will usually cost you 20K by the time you finish with lawyers, jail time, time off work, etc.

There is nothing in my car worth 20K. I dont like robbers, but I like jail (for me) even less.

Call a cop and take a picture. Your WAY better off.....

Now if he's in my house, that's a whole 'nother story.........................................
 

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Castle

In a burglary or home invasion,it is my intention, and my wifes', to retreat to our bedroom if possible, call 911 and wait. If He/They attempt to enter the bedroom then it will become Dodge city.

If they are at my car I might yell " You kids get away from my car" and call 911. The only time I would shoot someone is in defense of my or my families life. The property can be replaced, most of it is insured anyway.

The Castle doctrine may state that I can stand my ground but if I have any opportunity to boogie Im out of there.
 

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They say that shooting someone, justified or not, will usually cost you 20K by the time you finish with lawyers, jail time, time off work, etc.

There is nothing in my car worth 20K. I dont like robbers, but I like jail (for me) even less.

Call a cop and take a picture. Your WAY better off.....

Now if he's in my house, that's a whole 'nother story.........................................
Excellent point.
 

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I'm with ya'll, I would hate to shoot someone...two summers ago I confronted some trespassers on my property, who were obviously looking for something to steal. I only got close enough to keep to them busy while the deputies got there..I never brandished a gun or even threatened them...I would not have even gone out in the woods but I couldn't be sure they weren't on my neighbors property and not mine.
 

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So people think it's natural to witness your car being g broken into and torn to pieces and just call the cops and go back to sleep huh? I think that would be rather hard to do. Most people will confront perps upon witnessing vandalism to their vehicles much less one being broken into and torn to pieces and not everyone has or can afford full coverage insurance. I think it would be a natural thing for most people to confront the threat being set upon their ride to and from work and thus their livelihoods at which point they will most likely be facing death or bodily harm due to the fact that burglars want to get away. Thankful my state has a castle doctrine which makes the vehicle an extension of the home (in it or not, in the driveway or not, day or night). When a home costs 100,000$ just say and many new vehicles now cost 60,000$ what's a vehicle, no big thing?
 

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So people think it's natural to witness your car being g broken into and torn to pieces and just call the cops and go back to sleep huh? I think that would be rather hard to do. Most people will confront perps upon witnessing vandalism to their vehicles much less one being broken into and torn to pieces and not everyone has or can afford full coverage insurance. I think it would be a natural thing for most people to confront the threat being set upon their ride to and from work and thus their livelihoods at which point they will most likely be facing death or bodily harm due to the fact that burglars want to get away. Thankful my state has a castle doctrine which makes the vehicle an extension of the home (in it or not, in the driveway or not, day or night). When a home costs 100,000$ just say and many new vehicles now cost 60,000$ what's a vehicle, no big thing?
I would think if you have a $60,000 car you should probably have a good insurance policy on it. That being said, yes, most, if not all people would yell out the window and turn on the lights. But if you gun someone down in your driveway, I think the chances of "call the cops and go back to sleep" is not going to be in your future either. Justified or not, you will be talking to the cops for the rest of the night..... and into the following weeks/months...
 

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So people think it's natural to witness your car being g broken into and torn to pieces and just call the cops and go back to sleep huh? I think that would be rather hard to do. Most people will confront perps upon witnessing vandalism to their vehicles much less one being broken into and torn to pieces and not everyone has or can afford full coverage insurance. I think it would be a natural thing for most people to confront the threat being set upon their ride to and from work and thus their livelihoods at which point they will most likely be facing death or bodily harm due to the fact that burglars want to get away. Thankful my state has a castle doctrine which makes the vehicle an extension of the home (in it or not, in the driveway or not, day or night). When a home costs 100,000$ just say and many new vehicles now cost 60,000$ what's a vehicle, no big thing?
Your vehicle may cost $60,000 but do you have a $60,000 deductible?
 

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So people think it's natural to witness your car being g broken into and torn to pieces and just call the cops and go back to sleep huh? I think that would be rather hard to do. Most people will confront perps upon witnessing vandalism to their vehicles much less one being broken into and torn to pieces and not everyone has or can afford full coverage insurance. I think it would be a natural thing for most people to confront the threat being set upon their ride to and from work and thus their livelihoods at which point they will most likely be facing death or bodily harm due to the fact that burglars want to get away. Thankful my state has a castle doctrine which makes the vehicle an extension of the home (in it or not, in the driveway or not, day or night). When a home costs 100,000$ just say and many new vehicles now cost 60,000$ what's a vehicle, no big thing?

I don't think anyone said it was natural or easy to watch someone stealing or damaging your property and to just call the police and not intervene personally. It is, however, often the correct thing to do, and we all know that doing the correct action is frequently neither natural nor easy.

You describe the problem in your post: if you confront the burglars, they may try to assault or kill you in order to either escape or to complete their "business". If, as a prudent citizen, you confront them armed, you may then need to use deadly force to protect your life. This is all right and good and legal, but you still end up with the threat of criminal and civil legal action hanging over your head.

I'm not saying that it's not your right to confront burglars and vandals, just that it might not be the right thing to do, considering all the possible outcomes. In the end, everyone must make their own choice.



Jim
 

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i don't think anyone said it was natural or easy to watch someone stealing or damaging your property and to just call the police and not intervene personally. It is, however, often the correct thing to do, and we all know that doing the correct action is frequently neither natural nor easy.

You describe the problem in your post: If you confront the burglars, they may try to assault or kill you in order to either escape or to complete their "business". If, as a prudent citizen, you confront them armed, you may then need to use deadly force to protect your life. This is all right and good and legal, but you still end up with the threat of criminal and civil legal action hanging over your head.

I'm not saying that it's not your right to confront burglars and vandals, just that it might not be the smart thing to do, considering all the possible outcomes. In the end, everyone must make their own choice.

Jim
fify ... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
is your states version of "Castle law" taught to 6th graders, possibly re-taught in middle school or high school? this stuff needs to be part of the curriculum, maybe in a class on survival. the BLM folks should have seminars at schools if they're really concerned.
 

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Maybe not always and for everyone is it best to make confrontational in vehicular burglary, but consider the country sheriff might be 15 minutes away so he'll be showing up after the "business" is already finished, take a report "nothing more we can do" and im paying out of pocket for the damage and missing work. This is how it usually goes and the thieves are on to burglarizing the next vehicle or house that same night. I submit it might not always be best or not for everyone but i also submit that it is thieves that deserve to be punished by the law, not people who are being robbed. Ill also say horse theft was a hanging offense for many years because a persons livelihood was tied to their horses and i need to get to work to make the money that buys the food,pays the bills (and the lawyers)
 

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I'm gonna state up front that I don't know the correct answer. However, not confronting them and just calling the cops from the safety of my house isn't a good answer. Neither is gunning down a 13 year old kid for petty theft.

Unless there are consequences the thieves will keep on stealing and they'll keep escalating the level of their crimes until it eventually does result in an armed conflict of some kind. It might be with one of their victims or might be with law enforcement. Part of me thinks in this particular case the home owner just nipped a future societal problem in the bud. I know that's a pretty harsh sentiment but the chances this was an isolated event is probably between slim and none. Hopefully the other two boys involved got the message loud and clear and this was a life changing event for them in a positive way. I sure hope so because otherwise I doubt any other good will come from this tragic event for either party.
 

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In the end, everyone must make their own choice. Jim
Amen to that, but something the people of this country don't seem capable of.

Either they want someone to make the choice for them or they want to tell everyone else what choice to make. :D
 

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The "Castle Doctrine" or "Stand your ground" laws simply specify that you don't have to retreat from an attacker; it doesn't give you any new rights to use deadly force to protect your property.
Castle doctrine and stand your ground laws are two different ideas, and two different sets of law. Castle doctrine applies in your place of residence3 and, in most states, extends to anything that is your current residence, such as a camper, hotel room, even a tent. Stand your ground laws are those that specify you do not need to try to retreat from a place you can legally be before use of deadly force is justified.

Stand your ground laws are usually a defense against charges, not a justification for use of deadly force. They came about (in Florida to begin with) because some prosecutors were charging people and arguing that, since they could have retreated but didn't, they shouldn't have used deadly force. The laws also often negate civil damages in such a situation too.

Castle doctrine is a little more straight forward. In a situation where you are threatened in your place of residence, you have much more fr4eedom for using deadly force. In most states, forcible entry into your home while you are there is automatically a situation where deadly force can be used. Even if the guy who kicks in your door has no weapon, the threat is assumed.

This is something the media always gets wrong. :)

Jeff
 
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