The networks are running a riveting 911 call audio tape of an elderly woman describing in detail the efforts, for over ten minutes, of an intruder to gain entry to her home.
“They need to hurry. He’s going to break this thing open. When he does, I’ll have to kill him and I don’t want to kill him,” Jackson said during the 911 call.
Gun in hand, she asks the dispatcher for guidance, essentially seeking legal advice. Can she kill him? The dispatcher seeks counsel from a colleague and in essence, gives her the go-ahead to use lethal force and potentially take his life if he gains entry.
And he gone done it.
Using patio furniture to smash through a window, convicted felon Billy Dean Riley didn’t realize he just brought a lawn chair to a gun fight.
“Once he smashed the glass out he stepped into the residence and she used the shotgun to fire one shot which hit the intruder center of the chest and (he) fell back out of the house”
He be dead.
Is she in trouble?
Many states including Oklahoma have adopted the “Castle Doctrine” which essentially stipulates a homeowner can defend his or her home from an intruder with deadly force and can deliberately shoot to kill without legal consequence (save the resultant need for carpet cleaning).
A Castle Doctrine (also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law) is an legal doctrine that arose from English Common Law that designates one’s place of residence (or, in some states, any place legally occupied, such as one’s car or place of work) as a place in which one enjoys protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack. It then goes on to give a person the legal right to use deadly force to defend that place (his/her “Castle”), and/or any other innocent persons legally inside it, from violent attack or an intrusion which may lead to violent attack. In a legal context, therefore, use of deadly force which actually results in death may be defended as “Justifiable homicide” under the Castle Doctrine.
Oklahoma happens to be a “Castle State,” while others have a “duty to retreat” clause wherein the homeowner has a duty to get out of the way of the would-be offender, others grant the homeowner a “stand your ground” clause. I was curious as to the Status of Minnesota.
The intentional taking of the life of another is not authorized by section 609.06, except when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death, or preventing the commission of a felony in the actor’s place of abode.
Minnesota as it were, is a stand your ground state as long as you are in your home. It gets murky outside the home and in public areas, despite attempts to strengthen the law in the interest of would-be victims of violent crimes.
Hmm. I wonder if one’s comment section is considered a place legally “occupied” by the owner and as such…uh, never mind.
MITCH ADDS: Er, not so fast here. Minnesota’s law is incredibly murky in this area One of the elements of an affirmative self-defense claim in Minnesota is that the home-owner has to make every reasonable effort to disengage and de-escalate, where “reasonable” means ‘would convince a jury”. How reasonable is “reasonable?” It depends on how zealously anti-gun your local prosecutor is. In Granite Falls, a simple “go away, I have a gun” might get you off. In Saint Paul, fleeing your attacker until you’re in the very last closet in the very furthest room from the burglar’s entry point might be enough to keep the prosecutor off your back, but that’s no guarantee; the prosecutor might maintain that if you’d actually given the burglar your gun and kids, he’d have gone away and you’d have averted a fatal shooting. The jury might or might not be another thing – but that means a trial, which means hiring a defense attorney and burning up a whole lot of money.
Rep. Tony Cornish proposed a “stand your ground” bill in the ’07 legislature, back when the grownups still controlled one chamber in the legislature. It got completely slandered by the ill-informed, in-the-bag media, which called it a “shoot first” bill; has anyone considered the ramifications of shooting second, by the way? Anyway – a stand your ground law would be a good thing; it’d define how far you have to back down on your own property, instead of leaving it up to prosecutors’ discretion.
It’s yet another reason we need to win the legislature back this year.