Wednesday, May 6, 2009

No-Retreat AKA Castle Doctrine and Murder vs. Manslaughter

So after my last post on this and the discussion that followed I decided I wanted to know more. I did some research and was able to find some good info through my digging. Keep in mind this is not me going state by state to look at info but looking in net sources and finding consensus type stuff. (Info repeated in multiple places so most likely accurate.)

What I learned was interesting. I found a great source for info here. This type of self-defense law varies by state, some states count your property line as your castle boundaries while others limit you to the house itself and still others count your car as part of your castle. I found 36 states have a type of law falling into this "Castle Doctrine" category. Each is a little different from the next. Some require a moderate retreat attempt while others are of the No-Retreat variety.

I assumed going into this that probably all of the western states would have a form of this just because they tend toward gun rights a bit more heavenly than some. I was wrong. California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico , and Oregon actually have no such laws. I found one site that actually had a map that I found very helpful.

I also discovered that not all of the states with a "castle doctrine" law protect the property owner/resident from a civil case so while the SUV driver in our earlier mentioned case will not be criminally charged in some states a civil case for wrongful death would be allowed. I find that just ridiculous. If a state is going to allow you to shoot someone you feel is threatening your "castle" without fear of prosecution then letting the perpetrator sue them is a bit stupid in my book.

I also decided to look into murder vs. manslaughter. Ryan the 3L over at our brother blog brought up felony murder so I wanted more details. He also wrote a blog about "bad laws" that I found fascinating. Anyway the core of a murder charge seems to be malice coupled with intent. The length of intent does not matter. If you walk into a bar and some dude takes your drink and you think "I am going to kill this guy" and then stab him with your pool cue you have shown intent. Sucks huh? If you walk in on your husband in bed with your nanny and you beat them both to death with your shoe in a fit of rage then you have voluntary manslaughter or "a crime of passion". I personally think felony murder is kind of a nutty rule. I mean it makes sense that someone committing a crime that results in a death be punished but murder? Not sure how I like that. They will get the felony charge as it is, probably a couple of them, to tack on murder seems a bit much. Manslaughter absolutely but murder is over the top.

I am glad you all provoked the researcher in me. Knowing what I know now I would still defend my home and family with deadly force but at least I know I might get sued over it! ;)

1 comment:

  1. In Georgia, an individual who uses a firearm in defense of property or person is not required to make a token retreat, nor can they be prosecuted. Good Samaritans are protected from prosecution. Our concealed carry permit holders can now carry in state parks, and on public transportation such as subway or bus. We can carry in restaurants that serve liquor with meals, but not in court houses, or in bars. Most bars in Georgia have facilities for checking your weapons at the door.


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