August 30, 2011

"Break into my house in the middle of the night and it's nightie night."

Milwaukee State Journal readers react to a news story about a Waukesha County  prosecutor delaying making a decision whether to charge a man who shot a home intruder to death.
The incident... will likely prompt more debate about the status of Wisconsin's self-defense law and efforts to broaden it to include the so-called castle doctrine.
Judging from the debate in the comments, the people favor the pending bill, which "would extend a presumption of reasonableness to anyone using deadly force against people unlawfully in their residence, whether they were armed or threatening or not."

I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering breaking into a house shouldn't have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh. It should be really clear.

132 comments:

clemster said...

I couldn't agree more. If you are not safe at home, where are you safe? This guy's criminal record told us every thing we need to know of what he was capable of. I have reservations about capitol punishment for anyone, but you take your chances when you break into a house in the middle of the night.

Original Mike said...

"would extend a presumption of reasonableness to anyone using deadly force against people unlawfully in their residence, whether they were armed or threatening or not."

If you break into my house, you are threatening. (There must be some fancy legal term for this principle.)

edutcher said...

Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six, as they say, but this actually takes some power from the nannies and gives it back to the people.

Even better.

PS That she and Meade might face such an eventuality does not make her a hypocrite.

A. Shmendrik said...

Right on!

Triangle Man said...

District Attorney Brad Schimel said Monday that he would await some testing by the state crime lab and some follow-up investigation

It took me a bit to realize that "the victim" in this sentence from the news story is the intruder.

Dustin said...

It's just too hard to know, when you're awakened by your dog or whatever, whether the intruder is armed or what he's doing.

Hesitate, and if he's got a gun, you could be killed.

Always make sure your gun has a very, very bright light on it, btw. Bright enough that if you shine it at someone they can't really see you.

I don't really worry about this sort of stuff. There is essentially no crime where I live, and I have a good dog.

Frankly, if I worried I needed gun to be safe I would move. But I still have the guns anyway, mainly for sport.

DADvocate said...

If you can't defend yourself from an intruder in the middle of the night in your own home, where can you?

Am I supposed to get out of bed, taking my 9mm with me, go into the other rooms turning on the lights in order to assess the supposed level of threat the intruder poses? While in the mean time, he pulls out a cheap revolver and blows me away, or grabs my daughter and holds a gun to her head?

No. I should use the advantage of dark rooms and my familiarity with my house and blow him away.

Maguro said...

What about petite, female intruders, though? Shouldn't they get some kind of pass?

Mogget said...

The only thing that gives me pause about these kinds of laws is that one evening, just as I was finishing dinner, a young man walked through the door without knocking or using the doorbell.

We stared at each other in some amazement. Turns out he was looking for a friend who lived right below me, but didn't realize that the house was sub-divided.

As it happened, no harm, no foul. But had he done so three or four hours later, after dark and when I was in bed, the situation might have turned out quite differently. It made me resolve to be very careful about positive identification if I ever do have to react to a similar situation.

Original Mike said...

If he's charged, where do I sign up for the jury?

DannyNoonan said...

Why do you call it the Milwaukee State Journal?

traditionalguy said...

The law has always put human life over the owner's right to booby trap his property to kill thieves.

But does the Castle Doctrine preempt that?

Apparently it does as to strangers at the door.

Word to the wise: Always double check the GPS before knocking on doors.

Original Mike said...

Lock your door, Mogget.

Just a thought.

rocketeer67 said...

The only thing that gives me pause about these kinds of laws is that one evening, just as I was finishing dinner, a young man walked through the door without knocking or using the doorbell.

Hmm. I don't know, this may be crazy - but maybe you could lock your door?

(Joking, but only halfway.)

Jeff in Oklahoma said...

We call it the "make my day" law down here. No questions asked.

Lincolntf said...

Stating the obvious: Burglary, robbery and theft are all logical extensions of the "redistributive" nature of Leftism.

That said: Anyone who breaks into my house while I'm home will either kill me, beat me or be killed or beaten by me. Pretty fucking simple to decide which options I'd choose.
You know the old saw..."I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6"? It's a rule to live by.

Dustin said...

" The only thing that gives me pause about these kinds of laws is that one evening, just as I was finishing dinner, a young man walked through the door without knocking or using the doorbell. "

I was watching the superbowl several years ago when a huge man burst through my door with some kind of goofy wazzup (like the beer commercial). Scared the bajeesus out of me.

Him too. He meant to go to a different apartment.

But it's pretty easy to tell when that happens. The 'oh shit! wrong house! sorry, man!' as he fled really cleared it up.

But yes, there will be shootings of trespassers who screwed up. It's only a matter of time. Entering someone's home when you're not welcome should be known as hazardous.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

"I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering about breaking into a house live shouldn't have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh."

Either I'm too tired to read that sentence, or you were too tired to write it.

Scott M said...

I have three small children in my house. I have already had one break in and THAT one said she was there for the baby and wanted to be in a murder/suicide.

The next person that breaks into my house in the middle of the night doesn't get disarmed and frogmarched off by cops. In hindsight, there were way too many things that could have gone wrong the first time.

Original Mike said...

"I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering about breaking into a house live shouldn't have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh. It should be really clear."

This is why I whole heartedly support the new law. Don't know if I'm going to purchase a gun or not, but just the fact that others do makes me safer.

Shanna said...

I don't know, this may be crazy - but maybe you could lock your door?

Yeah. I don't think anybody wants the right to shoot people randomly for knocking on the door.

you take your chances when you break into a house in the middle of the night.

No knock raid cops would also do well to remember this.


I had an experience one day where I had left my door unlocked in a new house and had family coming in and out all day. Somebody knocked and I yelled "come in". In walked a strange man who apparently wanted to cut trees or something but it freaked me out.

the wolf said...

I'm surprised that there is even a debate to be had. What are your options? Call the polic? Good luck!Let an intruder kill you and your family? Cower while he helps himself to your property? The British already went down this path and all it did (as expected) was encourage more bad behavior.

DADvocate said...

What about petite, female intruders, though? Shouldn't they get some kind of pass?

Smaller target, harder to shoot.

Lock your door, Mogget.

My door is locked any time inside the house and much of the time when I'm doing yard work, so no one can sneak in.

The law has always put human life over the owner's right to booby trap his property to kill thieves.

But does the Castle Doctrine preempt that?

Apparently it does as to strangers at the door.

Word to the wise: Always double check the GPS before knocking on doors.


No. The defining factor is threat to a human life vs threat to property, especially when no potential human victim is present.

You can't legally shoot someone for knocking on your door. Your door comments are quite idiotic.

Jay Retread said...

"I had an experience one day where I had left my door unlocked in a new house and had family coming in and out all day. Somebody knocked and I yelled "come in". In walked a strange man who apparently wanted to cut trees or something but it freaked me out."

You should have shot him. Lukily, the new law will make that legal and shield you from civil liability.

Original Mike said...

"The British already went down this path and all it did (as expected) was encourage more bad behavior."

I've seen the claim that it's much more common for burglaries in Britian to occur when someone's home (i.e. home invasion) than it is in the U.S.

DADvocate said...

But yes, there will be shootings of trespassers who screwed up. It's only a matter of time. Entering someone's home when you're not welcome should be known as hazardous.

From what I've read, police kill more innocent people than licensed conceal carry persons. Training and common sense are important. I don't recall reading about many accidental shootings of trespassers, usually of self.

Bob_R said...

This is getting a lot of comments, so you are going to want to edit the last paragraph for syntax.

Seeing Red said...

so-called castle doctrine.



???????


Not after Kelo.

Slim Jim said...

"Either I'm too tired to read that sentence, or you were too tired to write it."

Amen!

DADvocate said...

Switzerland Is Crime Free and It's All Because of Guns

http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/robert-farago/switzerland-is-crime-free-and-its-all-because-of-guns/

Watch the video. Every home in Switzerland has a gun. Burglarize at your own peril.

Mary said...
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Dustin said...

"You should have shot him. Lukily, the new law will make that legal and shield you from civil liability."

But no it won't. A presumption means what, to you?

You can't just invite your enemies to dinner and then shoot them like Muhammad Ali slew the Mamluks.

It's hilarious watching, from issue to issue, people tacitly endorse the conservative argument by admitting they have no honest response. If the best you've got is hysteria, you know you're on the wrong side.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol_Herman said...

It's the right response.

If you can find the gun in the dark. And, you don't also need to search for your glasses.

On the other hand?

Dogs are faster. More than one is even better. Thief wouldn't even make it through the window!

traditionalguy said...

Dadvocat...The next idiotic idea is that a person is caught in the front room by you holding your Springfield 45 1911 , and he turns and runs out the door. Can you shoot him in the back on the theory that he might come back armed?

And what is the age limit for executing bad evil teens?

The answer may be to bury their bodies in the back yard.

DADvocate said...

And there's no such source as the one she cited... Milwaukee State Journal?? hello...

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - ever since that trip to Colorado and its marijuana dispensaries.

Deb said...

Hmm, I agree with this law but with some reservations. In college I lived alone and I always locked my door when I was home. This was Gainesville shortly after the student murders, and everyone was pretty jittery. One night, at about 2:00 a.m., someone started pounding on my door. I jumped up, my dog went berserk, and attempted to claw her way through the door. I grabbed my phone and my revolver, called 911 and stood in the hallway and yelled through the door that the cops were on the way. I had my weapon aimed about a foot below the peephole of the door while talking to the dispatcher on the phone. I could see the door flexing and the person obviously was trying to shoulder his way in. After a couple of minutes he left. Turns out, he was extremely drunk, wandered away from a party at another condo (they all looked essentially the same) and went to the wrong door, then thought the his friends were pranking him. Had the door not been locked, this could have ended badly for both of us. What kind of person tries to cave in a door with a vicious sounding dog on the other side, and a warning that the cops are on the way? My first thought was maniac serial killer not drunk frat boy...

Carol_Herman said...

In the future, calling the police may not be what a homeowner wants to do?

Because after shooting the burglar ... what if you wanted to go back to sleep?

Reminds how, during the Rodney King riots, where there were businesses in the line of the looters ... How people stayed on the roof. Real quiet. And, an army type truck was parked on their lot. "Just in case anyone dead had to be transported away from there."

Then? The police can send out a squad. And, they can use their latest tools in figuring out who the hell the shot dead person is?

You don't even have to talk to the police.

This ain't Dragnet, now. And, you ain't talking to Friday. Or Jack Webb. You're giving the police a chance to turn over your name to the DA.

And, the DA just wants to put a notch in his (or her) belt.

I yeah. I don't know who got shot.

Ask the perp.

Bender said...

a presumption of reasonableness to anyone using deadly force against people unlawfully in their residence

There is already a presumption that anyone using deadly force is innocent of any crime. How is this supposed to add to that?

If we really paid any attention to the presumption of innocence, rather than chucking it out the window at the first opportunity, much of the potential for injustice in self-defense cases, and in other cases, would be eliminated.

Jay Retread said...

Is there a real problem with home owners being charged with shooting home intruders?

This is a solution in search of a problem. This is the Republican Party sucking up to the Tea Party.

Prosecutors give home owners a lot of leeway in these cases. But you do not have a right to blast people away in cases where you were not threatened. To allow such a thing, "shoot first, ask questions later" is to court accidental killings and worst.

But never mind, we must keep the Althouse Hillbillies happy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I live at the end of a rather long driveway in a rural area and neighbors are not very close. Acres and acres away. The sheriffs are miles and miles away. Call 911 and chances are they will be there in the next hour or so.

There is NO reason on earth for anyone to come to my house at night much less enter the place.

If they are friends or here for legit purposes people know well enough to loudly announce their presence BEFORE getting anywhere near the buildings. Just common sense and not just for my property. Common sense in this area.

Mossberg Persuader Nothing like the sound of a 12 gauge pump action to cool the jets of a possible home invader.

The answer may be to bury their bodies in the back yard

Or just heave them over the 60 foot embankment at the back of the property and into the river. Either the coyotes or catfish will be eating good.

Thorley Winston said...

But yes, there will be shootings of trespassers who screwed up. It's only a matter of time. Entering someone's home when you're not welcome should be known as hazardous.

I couldn’t imagine opening the front door to someone else’s home or office without knocking or ringing the bell first. It’s just such an obvious common courtesy like asking permission from the owner before borrowing something that doesn’t belong to you.

Maybe that’s why some say that an armed society is a polite society.

DADvocate said...

Two anecdotes. A guy breaks into a girl's house. She calls the cops and a friend of mine who lived about 5 miles from her. He got there before the cops. All turned out OK.

Two guys break into a house their familiar with because they've been helping do renovations to it. They have one gun. The owners don't get a change to call the police (pre cell phone). The pistol whip the man when he resists, rape the 16 year old daughter, and jam the pistol up the mother's vagina just for kicks. Everyone survived but, I'd like my changes a lot better if I had a gun beside my bed. (The guys are now spending a long time in prison.)

DADvocate said...

Retread retreads the complete dumb ass liberal position.

Chip S. said...

"Nightie night" sounds like fun, with the right people.

"Nighty night" is the phrase the commenter's looking for.

Although with the handle "cityjohn" maybe he meant exactly what he wrote.

Jay Retread said...

Question to DADvocate-Is there really a problem with home owners being charged with shooting intruders? Lets see if you can answer the question without personal ad hominem attacks.

If you can't then lets just acknowledge that this is all about Republicans pandering to Tea Partiers and Ann is just trying to get in on the action.

MadisonMan said...

No knock raid cops would also do well to remember this.

Oh, I'm sure there's an exemption for Cops. For our own safety, of course.

Keystone said...

Some people just need shooting.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John Smith said...

Woken from her sleep in a dark house at 3AM, Exactly how is a homeowner to know (not guess, not surmise, not conclude) an intruder is armed? Does she wait until she's taking incoming fire, until she's hit with the baseball bat or the knife is in her ribs?

Jay Retread said...

"Does she wait until she's taking incoming fire, until she's hit with the baseball bat or the knife is in her ribs?"

No prosecutor is going to second guess a home owner in that situation. And that is under current law.

This is a solution in search of a problem and the votes of a few dumb Tea Partiers.

Jack said...

The police are excellent at arriving at the crime scene and drawing a chalk outline around the bodies.

Just don't expect them to show up in time to prevent the crime.

Anyone breaking into a house should understand there's a good chance it will be their last crime.

I used to think we lived in a crime-free area as well. Upscale semi-rural part of Fairfax County VA, until we came home from grocery shopping one day to find we had been burglarized. Since then, at least one of the pistols is always out of the gun safe and within a few feet.

Jack

Original Mike said...

"This is a solution in search of a problem and the votes of a few dumb Tea Partiers."

But we abhor ad hominems, right Jay?

Dustin said...

"This is a solution in search of a problem and the votes of a few dumb Tea Partiers."

WRONG.

It's important to know that when you are in a panic and someone is in your home, the law is surely on your side.

That's going to save lives and also prevent home invasions.

Bob Ellison said...

Government, like charity, starts at home.

jeff said...

Jay Retread apparently doesn't live on the East Coast or been the victim of a hot burglary.

Can you shoot someone who immediately gives up and lays down on the ground?
Nope.
Can you put them against the wall and shoot them in the back of the head? Nope.
Can you shoot someone in the back as they bolt out the door? Probably not. Really shouldn't.
Have homeowners been charged for shooting someone who has broken into their house because the homeowner had a path to retreat? Someplace other than the NE part of the country? Sure. As a homeowner which would you prefer? Self defense specified in the law? Or take your chances on whoever the DA happens to be at the time you are burglarized?

ricpic said...

Isn't the act of breaking into a house threatening in itself?

Lincolntf said...

Jay Retread believes that nighttime burglary is a myth. Pure jeenyus, that fella...

hombre said...

Prosecutors rarely get convictions on these cases anyway. Jurors don't like burglars.

Why should you have to ask an intruder if he poses a risk to you or your family?

Jay Retread said...

Please point to a case where a home owner was unreasonable charged. It is a very rare, if not existence, case. This is driven by the desire of Republicans to pander.

Lincolntf said...

It strikes me as highly likely that Jay Retread has no property worth stealing or family members worth protecting.

CEO-MMP said...

Carol Herman...drunk before 5.

Anyone breaking into my house is getting shot. And, following the advice of an uncle who's a police chief, shot multiple times (eg, if I pick up the 5 shot Chief's Special .38 revolver, shot 5 times). It's a lot easier to claim you panicked and so forth if the gun is empty. Never mind that I'm a good enough shot to only need one.

I don't care what the law says, and I don't care what the DA does or may try to do. My house. Period.

I live in a town that has cops on duty from 8AM until 11PM. Calling the cops isn't an option in the middle of the night.

ic said...

Waukesha County prosecutor

The poor guy's career is over. If he prosecuted, he would lose the general election; if he did not, he would lose his primary.

Without reading the article, I'm reasonably sure the poor guy is a Democrat. A Republicn would not agonize.

CEO-MMP said...

Jay Retread's position would change the first time he was faced with armed people trying to break into his house. I know my mother's was.

Mine wasn't. I was 8 and already convinced bad people should be destroyed like rabid dogs.

hombre said...

No prosecutor is going to second guess a home owner in that situation. And that is under current law.

This is a solution in search of a problem and the votes of a few dumb Tea Partiers.


It really ought to be about the integrity of the law, not the reaction of the prosecutor.

What does this have to do with the tea partiers, dumbass?

Lamar63 said...

" traditionalguy said...
The law has always put human life over the owner's right to booby trap his property to kill thieves.

But does the Castle Doctrine preempt that?"

No. Because the primary rationale for no booby traps is to protect law enforcement and firefighters.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Fitzsimmons was the victim but the prosecutor considers the dead criminal the victim. He needs to talk to the criminal's family? Why?

Oh, tender sensitivity and all that pish posh.

John Smith said...

Retread misunderstands, she seems to think I was saying the homeowner had already taken incoming fire, was already hit be the baseball bat or had already been stabbed, that is not the case I conjectured. Rather my question was, if none of these things had happened does the homeowner have to wait to be attacked before attacking a home invader?

Rick said...

Absolutely.

DADvocate said...

This is driven by the desire of Republicans to pander.

This is driven by the desire of people like myself to be able to exercise their constitutional rights. People like you go all ape shit when someone advocates voter ID so we can ensure one man one vote, but you have no problem denying other rights.

Why do liberals hate freedom so much? Why do you have such strong totalitarian desires?

Paul said...

Well Ann,

Break into my house? Well..

THIS IS SPART.. I mean TEXAS!

We have the Castle Doctrine and yep, you break into a house here and you can be toast real quick.

And in Texas, everyone has a gun. Over here it is a armed society, and thus a polite one.

david7134 said...

Australia outlawed guns, home invasion shot up. Taking a sheriff's course you would find that they say shoot first and shoot to kill.

The Drill SGT said...

Nothing like the sound of a 12 gauge pump action to cool the jets of a possible home invader.

Grand papy's 12 gauge isn't as pretty as yout Mossberg, but it makes the same unmistakeable noise in the dark.

CEO-MMP said...
Anyone breaking into my house is getting shot. And, ... shot 5 times). It's a lot easier to claim you panicked and so forth if the gun is empty.


I assume yout uncle also told you the investigation is easier if there is only one witness (the homeowner)


two other pithy sayings for this post:

"When seconds count, the police are only minutes away"


"11.Someday someone may kill you with your own weapon, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty. "

The Drill SGT said...

Oh hell, they are all fun:

1.Bring a weapon. Preferably, bring at least two. Bring all of your friends who have weapons. Bring their friends who have weapons.
2.Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.
3.Only hits count. Close doesn't count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.
4.If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough, nor using cover correctly.
5.Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)
6.If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a big weaponand a friend with a big weapon.
7.In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived and who didn't.
8.If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.
9.Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting is more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the weapon.
10.Use a weaponthat works EVERY TIME. "All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket."
11.Someday someone may kill you with your own weapon, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.
12.In combat, there are no rules, always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.
13.Have a plan.
14.Have a back-up plan, because the first one won't work.
15.Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of YOUR weapon.
16.Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.
17.Don't drop your guard.
18.Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.
19.Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).
20.Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.
21.The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
22.Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.
23.Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
24.Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.
25.Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a ".4."

traditionalguy said...

The rule against booby trapped property was not about police and fireman because it came from English Common Law 500+ years ago.

The right to life is also a civil right.

The Lords of English manors were dealing with trespassers and thieving beggars by killing them like rats caught in traps. That abuse is what the legal restrictions on property owners killing intruders came from.

Times have changed with drug dealers, youth gangs and migrants.
But the nature of man has not changed.

Therefore legal restraints on open season on trespassers and thieving beggars is probably still a good idea.

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm sure that I've said this before, but I like the idea that burglary has an occupational hazard built in. We shouldn't try to discourage that.

ken in sc said...

I lived in Washington DC for two years. No one was ever arrested for those bodies that were found on the beltway every weekend. When I lived in Illinois, no one was ever arrested for those bodies found in corn fields between Rantoul and Chicago. If someone breaks into my house, I will dump his body on the highway somewhere. I'm betting he did not tell his momma who he was going to rob. If I'm arrested, I think the jury will still be on my side.

Seeing Red said...

If he or she is going out the window, make sure you pull the thief back in. He/she dies outside of the house, used to be more trouble. There was a case a few decades ago, once the thief got outside, rules changed.

As for Britain, they had a rule earlier this decade one could steal up to 500 pounds worth of goods and as long as they were returned, no charges.

Or they were let go cos it was such a small amount, one of those.

Pogo said...

For the first time in my life, I own guns. A 1911 and an AR15. Never thought I would need one before now.

If you cannot defend yourself in your own home, the nation is lost, totally lost.
Like Mother England, God rest her barmy soul.

Jay said...

Jay Retread said...
You should have shot him. Lukily, the new law will make that legal and shield you from civil liability.


Are you really this dumb, or do you just pretend on the Internet?

Jay said...

Jay Retread said...


This is a solution in search of a problem and the votes of a few dumb Tea Partiers.


Hysterical.

And the "problem" would be what ___ exactly?

Hoosier Daddy said...

That is some state you're paying a shit ton of taxes to live in.

Kill an intruder in your own home and risk prosecution and prison. Only in a liberal's mind can that make sense.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... But you do not have a right to blast people away in cases where you were not threatened...."

Entering someone's home without invitation is threatening by definition.

Evidently to liberals the homeowner needs to offer a sacrificial resident to determine hostility.

Swede said...

My assumption will always be that if you break into my house, you pose a threat.

In which case you will die of lead poisoning.

traditionalguy said...

Hoosier Daddy...You would enjoy reading a true story of a late 1940s property owner in a County near Warm Springs, Ga (80 miles SW of Atlanta.)

It is Murder in Coweta County. it is a good read.

It pretty well sums up the way some people did their own things on their own property and their encounter with Law Enforcement as we knew it in Georgia.

Human nature doesn't change.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... No prosecutor is going to second guess a home owner in that situation. And that is under current law..."

You didn't read the link did ya?

Carol_Herman said...

It's interesting that the criminals who get shot EXPECT homeowners to call the police!

Now, let's say the person could be hit. Could have one of your kitchen knives stuck in him. And, he FLEES! Are you expected to hail a cab?

Does the law say you can't just go back to bed? And, in the morning call a security firm who installs more than just good locks on your doors and windows? What about flashing lights and siren noises?

Can your neighbors sue you for getting disturbed by the noise?

Can the robber sue you for not calling an ambulance?

What if to do so the criminal needs to find out your name? And, if you were home at the time of the crime?

I'm sure cops show up.

But it's your home and your castle. Can't you just say you thought the "noise" came from down the street?

Soon you won't be allowed to own dogs!

OR? Being "from" the Nanny State ... may mean you couldn't get elected dog catcher.

Take New York City, for instance. The mayor Bloomberg is a republican. Ran as one. And, spent his own money to win. Spent more millions of his own money ... that Mitt Romney is now "pouring in."

What if you take a dislike to voting for these "money men?"

What if you look a lot closer at a candidate than just his religion?

Fads come and go.

What if this "twisting" of our laws is just a fad that will run its course?

Synova said...

How does this get to be Tea Party related? It's NRA and 2nd Amendment. That there is overlap is irrelevant. People were pushing for "castle" and "no retreat" laws before the Tea Party existed.

Now, if I may respond to what else Jay Retread claimed...

If "castle" laws were going to result in murderous free-for-alls by home owners it would have happened and evidence and statistics would be available. I think this is sort of interesting: "The New Mexico courts have consistently held, not always referring to the statute, that one cannot defend his property, other than his habitation, from a mere trespass to the extent of killing the aggressor." I'm assuming from this that defending one's habitation from a "mere" trespass to the extent of killing the aggressor has been allowed since 1907 or so. (I'm thinking... forever.) Other states have had versions of castle laws for many years. The dire consequences should have happened by now.

This may seem to support Jay R's other claim that the changes in the law are not necessary. The fact of it is that people would like laws to be as clear as possible and not rely on the hope that the justice system decides to fudge in your favor.

And people have been tried and convicted for failing to retreat. A quick google found one case where a fellow was standing in his doorway when confronted by someone who had actually stabbed him in the past and the court ruled (for realz) that he had a duty to retreat and he was convicted. It's not unreasonable to worry that without clear laws concerning the issue that the courts may decide that your fear for your life was unreasonable or that you could have and ought to have retreated. Castle laws and no retreat laws clear up some of that ambiguity and reliance on the chance that other people will just happen to agree with you, be it cops or the DA or a jury. That they probably will be on your side doesn't mean it couldn't go the other way.

And no, you can't invite someone into your house and then kill them.

Synova said...

And yes, the article does more or less say that someone has to decide if the fellow defending himself in his home actually believed he was in danger *and* if that belief was reasonable or if it was not.

This directly contradicts the claim that there is not a real risk of being charged with murder if you shoot an intruder in your home.

That people generally agree that someone breaking into your home is threatening in an of itself is not a reason NOT to define that in the law. If that's the general consensus then the law should reflect the general consensus.

Right?

Carol_Herman said...

Now we're getting real words for WV? groin.

Separate from guns, probably the most deadly thing you own is your car.

Let alone if you wanted to really freak out a "stranger" who comes through the window ... If you didn't have a whole bunch of sounds that could go off.

Didn't I see that once in a movie Home Alone?

Carol_Herman said...

I have a girl friend who installed one of those electronic systems.

I think if anything so much as touches one of her window screens ... Especially, if its late at night ... Her house looks like a helicopter could land on her roof. What with the flashing lights ... And, the sirens. The police would come just to tell her to shut her darn system OFF!

While there? If she said "someone was inside her house?" I think you'd suddenly see about 10 police cars ... and five fire trucks racing in. Others, who'd wake up ... and be curious ... would come out.

And, the police would tell them to discreetly wait across the street.

Perhaps? Maybe, in such a case the criminals would put on some of her clothes ... and try to sneak away ... to join the crowd that's shoulder to shoulder ... trying to find out what's going on inside.

Where I live valuables are kept at the bank.

And, the most honest folk I've met are the ones who are hired to clean. And, garden. And, repair stuff.

Once though there was a murder. Chinese guy. Who had been wearing a Rolex. 3:00 AM. They followed him home. And, killed him in his driveway.

Why invite crime? You need to wear a Rolex?

Anything taken from my house ... you'd have to bring to Goodwill. (And, believe it or not, they don't give you money. They give out receipts.)

Yes, I live in a community that has more guns than people. And, all guns are inside locked cabinets.

I don't think homeowners want to be shaken awake ... where they actually need to go and use this.

(And, when I was young my dad's best friend was a cop. So he always had to wear his side pistol. He worried more about this than you'd have if you weren't armed.)

Dogs are men's best friend. They even bark when their are car accidents which they hear. And, you have to call to get aid to them, quickly.)

That's another thing about America. Strangers will call 911.

And, neighbors, here, will call the cops IF anything looks suspicious. Which keeps the cops busy answering these calls.

Local paper also always prints up the Police Log.

I haven't seen one story where a homeowner shot anybody. But that's anecdotal. And, I'm neither a republican nor a democrat. Because I'm not "party loyal."

Kirk Parker said...

Mogget,

Yours certainly is a cautionary tale, but do note that the young man in question should have been (and hopefully would have) a lot more circumspect about walking in to a "friend's" house unannounced, if he were doing it in the wee hours, no?

(I put "friend" in quotes because, though I certainly have more than one friend who's welcome to just walk into my house w/o knocking, certainly nobody who knows so little about me as this "friend" did about his would ever be in that category.)


Deb,

Yes, it would truly and powerfully suck to be Darwin's Agent in such a scenario.

Pogo said...

Our county attorney warned us at a neighborhood meeting against using a gun to defend ourselves saying that if you did "We would come after you".

That's the problem this would solve.

Carol_Herman said...

I also went to Amazon. And, looked up Murder in Coweta County. Turns out Andy Griffiths starred in a made for TV movie. Back in 1982.

The story is Southern. And, two black men give testimony against the white killer. And, the white killer ends up in the electric chair.

We no longer have "old sparky." (Which is what New York State's electric chair was called.)

And, we no longer have the gas chamber that California used.

Laws change because lots of people don't particularly like the "old ways."

As to using a gun ... you know I'd worry about the person shooting himself (by accident). Or a loved one. By mistake.

And, as I said, back in the 1970's, in Manhattan ... Metropolitan Hospital ... the "sister hospital to Harlem Hospital) ... had a resident who wrote his book SATURDAY NIGHT KNIFE AND GUN CLUB.

Yes. Guns are used in combat.

And, guns are used in burglaries, too. But I don't think they're used all that often in home invasions ... that don't involve neighborhoods that have no gangs.

Gangs. And, banks. Change the rules.

(And, Islamic places? Guns are used as part of wedding celebrations.) That's not us at all.

Yes. Switzerland and Israel are safer than England. And, armed society is a polite society.

Not a bad discussion, here.

Disscusions are to let off steam.

The DA? He'd be pretty stupid to go after this homeowner, now.

Jack said...

In the training class I took to obtain my Virginia CCH permit, one demonstration illustrated the "20 foot" rule. This exercise is part of most any elementary pistol self-defense class.

Demonstration had two people, one with a rubber knife and one with a training pistol (plastic). The man with the pistol held it at arms length, but pointed at the ground, not in the ready position.

Man with the knife charged and before the pistol holder could get into firing position, the knife holder had pushed the rubber blade into him.

The point of the exercise is to make you aware that events can get out of control rather quickly and that if you are armed, you had best be prepared to use it without hesitation where the circumstances warrant. And, that allowing any assailant within 20 feet of you under those circumstances can get you killed.

As I understand it, the standard for deadly force in Virginia is that you must be in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury before the self defense defense can be successfully asserted.

Shanna said...

"You should have shot him. Lukily, the new law will make that legal and shield you from civil liability."

But no it won't.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure you can’t shoot someone after you yell “come in” (unless they attack you or something). That wasn’t my point. Although I will note that the guy was knocking on the door in the backyard, where I really wasn’t expecting strange people. And that he was a little creepy.

But you do not have a right to blast people away in cases where you were not threatened.

A strange person breaking in your house in the middle of the night is assumed to be a threat, unless proven otherwise and people who break into houses when they know someone is home are more threatening, because thieves who aren’t trying to cause trouble and just want to steal stuff are going to break in when you aren’t home. A gun or a nice big dog are very useful in those situations.

And in Texas, everyone has a gun.

Surprisingly, Arkansas has a much higher percentage of households with guns than Texas. Horray! And I’m pretty sure nobody is going to prosecute you for shooting an intruder.

The Drill SGT said...

Our county attorney warned us at a neighborhood meeting against using a gun to defend ourselves saying that if you did "We would come after you".

Warnings aside, most DA's are elected and want to be re-elected. If they want to, they take these cases to the Grand Jurt and let them dismiss. Saves having to take a position on it...

iowan2 said...

There are several political solutions. Prosecuters are usually elected. Elect the ones that understand a persons right to defend themselves. In this case the prosecuter needs to know he will be challenged at the next election, tying to push his version of the 'law'.

Castle law. great idea, shouldn't be needed but thats a political solution.

Jury nullification. People really need to understand that the people are in charge. Not politicians, not law enforcement, or power hungry prosecuters. Not judges, and courts.
People need to take back our govt.

In this case if a prosecuter is willing to bring this to trial, the people must understand that they as jurist are the finders of fact, and final judge of the law and how it is applied.

In this case, facts as presented, and a defense that can take court time to explain to the jury what power they hold, the right decision will be made.

JorgXMcKie said...

I love how Jay Retard always demonstrates that, for the Left, law has no other purpose than political advantage. Remember that any time any Lefty proposes a law. They don't want what you want from a law, they are seeking political advantage.

Milwaukee said...

Well, I'm now in a Western state. Seems a fellow saw a bunch of Mexicans (hey, they were from Mexico, in America illegally) and they were stealing his trailer. He went out with his shotgun and they kept on going. The homeowner did shoot, wounding one with bird shot. The shooter ended up in jail, and the police took all of his weapons away from him. The perps? An assistant district attorney drove them to El Paso, Texas and escorted them to the border crossing. The gun owner has been charged with felony endangerment.

In this state, an intruder being in your house is not enough to justify shooting them unless they are committing some other crime, or look or act like they are about to commit a more serious crime. That sounds like a crock to me. Can we say that the perp was making terrible verbal threats? Anybody in your home could well be within 20 feet of you.

I've heard of a book entitled When your gun is hot and the perp is not. Seems loads of people shoot in self-defense, and then call 911. In the excitement they say things that get them jail time after a prosecutor and jury deal with them. Just tell the folks at 911 that some serious stuff has happened and you need a police presence.

Then there was the pharmacist who was defending his store. After one perp was down, the guy unloaded his pistol into the wounded perp. The pharmacist was sentenced for murder. I would say he was so upset he lost it, but the prosecutors didn't see it that way. Always fire twice quickly to make sure you hit your target. If you just wound a perp you don't get to shoot them again unless they do something extraordinary. But if you are going to have a loaded weapon, give some thought to what happens afterwards.

Milwaukee said...

Then there is that great scene from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when Tuco is in the bath and another gunslinger is ready to make his revenge. But first, the other guy has to give a talk about he has been looking forward to this day of revenge. Tuco just shoots him and says "If you're going to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." When you have the drop on someone who is threatening you, shoot. Don't be all nice about it, they won't be.

orbicularioculi said...

Anyone who breaks into your home should have the presumption of guilty and you should just "blow them away". Don't wound them. Kill them. That way they can't sue you.

gutless said...

This reminds me of the moment of stark clarity in the movie "Stripes" in which the under rated actor Conrad Dunn playing the role of Francis "Psycho" Soyer intones the immortal warning, "You touch my stuff, I kill you". If you can find a better more limpid foundation for a burglary statute I'd like to hear it.

Carol_Herman said...

You know what part scares me?

That after a homeowner uses a gun to kill an intruder, and then calls the police, HIS OWN TROUBLES BEGIN!

As a society isn't it a bad idea to make the homeowner have to hire a lawyer? And, then be careful what gets said to the officer?

You can create a terrible precedent ... where no one will willingly want to call the police, IF it leads to expenses ... like having to hire a lawyer. Or worry that your insurance company won't offer you a homeowner's policy. Or they'll jack up your rates.

There really are unpleasant unintended consequences to this story!

A good journalistic follow up ... will let people know what this has cost the homeowner so far!

I hope the DA gets replaced at the next fair and square election! That has the potential of teaching the BEST LESSON.

NorseMD said...

@Original Mike. "If you break into my house, you are threatening. (There must be some fancy legal term for this principle.)"

I'm no lawyer, but I think an appropriate Latin phrase would be res ipsa loquitor, or the thing itself speaks, in this case of threat.

SDN said...

Milwaukee, I'll bet good money that Western State wasn't TX, because our laws on deadly force specifically allow it in defense of property.

Carol_Herman said...

Drudge has up a crime wave that's hitting Italy's "billionaires row." Where the home invaders use ether (or some form of sleeping gas), to make sure the homeowners don't wake up in the middle of the robbery.

Of course, a fortune in jewels and artwork got stolen. And, you've got to know those homes have security! (And, their stuff is insured.)

In all home robberies ... the thieves are out to cart away your wallet. Expensive stuff. Including your electronics. Which means they get information from you ... you can't easily replace.

And, then the DA says if you "kill the chap we'll come after you?" REALLY?

The only sad thing is how much it costs to get to the jury trial ... so you can give 12 people a good chance to laugh.

I wish we could tag the judges ... who make going after "easy prey" ... a way we can log in ... when we go to vote.

I wonder if the Internet will come up with solutions?

AST said...

I heard about a case in Utah years ago in which a man was charged for shooting and killing an intruder who was fleeing from his house and it was ruled justifiable under Utah's constitution. Can't imagine that would still hold up, but with the number of hold ups at the front door I hear and read about, I agree that entering someone's home with bad intent should equate to taking one's life in his hands.

I also found the headline quote a little skeevy, calling up images of Ann in a nightie. I'm sure it's fetching and all, but having gone to law school, the thought of one of my professors in a nightie scares the hell out of me.

wv: demoni

Ann Althouse said...

"Is there a real problem with home owners being charged with shooting home intruders? This is a solution in search of a problem. This is the Republican Party sucking up to the Tea Party. Prosecutors give home owners a lot of leeway in these cases. But you do not have a right to blast people away in cases where you were not threatened. To allow such a thing, "shoot first, ask questions later" is to court accidental killings and worst. But never mind, we must keep the Althouse Hillbillies happy."

Read my reason for supporting the bill. It doesn't have anything to do with your point. I'm talking about the perspective of the would-be intruder. I want these people to know there are people inside with guns who are allowed to shoot you. In a word: deterrence.

That's altogether different from the question whether anyone is getting charged for doing this.

But I would add, that the shooter in this case, Fitzgerald, is being kept waiting for a decision from the prosecutor, and that works as a warning to homeowners and gives some deference to the intruders. That undercuts the deterrence and it imposes a serious psychological burden on the man who acted to protect his family, even assuming he eventually hears that he will not be prosecuted.

Mary said...

"I'm talking about the perspective of the would-be intruder. I want these people to know there are people inside with guns who are allowed to shoot you. In a word: deterrence."


I'm sure the crackheads breaking into your house in the middle of the night while you are sleeping will be deterred. Logical people, they are...

Disillusionist said...

Back around 1970, in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, a woman named Roberta Shaffer became involved in an argument with her abusive fiancee. She ran downstairs to the garage, where her children were watching television. Her fiancee told her that if she didn't come upstairs, he would come down and kill her and the children. She began dialing the police, but he came down the stairs, and she shot and mortally wounded him with a .22 rifle. The prosecutor argued that she should have fled the house, leaving her two small children, rather than employ deadly force. She was convicted and sentenced to prison. The public uproar caused the governor to pardon her shortly afterward.

Peter said...

Shoot a bad guy in self defense and be prepared to spend the price of a nice house, even if that shooting is completely legal.

No matter what the situation, tell the police that "I will be happy to tell you all about it, as soon as my lawyer arrives." Then sit down and shut up.

Juries do not like home invaders. Trouble is, it's a long, expensive time until the jury gets the case. Meanwhile, the ADA might be a wild-eyed lib or, perhaps the perp is (was) one of the many protected classes and the ADA is also. There are many reasons to fear the aftermath of such a situation as much as the situation itself.

And, unfortunately, Ms. Althouse creates more such reasons every semester. Any law taking power from the lawyers is a good thing, that's why such laws seldom work as intended. If you own a gun for defense, double or triple your homeowner's insurance.

Andrew said...

Peter: Or buy a hacksaw and some contractor trash bags. Or if you've got a friend who's a professional plumber, you get this stuff called Glug (pure lye).

Whether or not I can legally kill an intruder does not change the fact that I WILL kill him. It just determines whether or not the intruder get's a decent burial or not.

dNoisyCricket said...

- I have no problem w/ the DA doing a competent investigation (including lab results, etc.) to ensure the "castle doctrine" claim is not an elaborate ruse.

- What if the decedent turns out to be a sympathetic victim or someone with a strong presumption of innocence, such as a cop checking out a house? In real life the politics of life for the DA may well result in your castle doctrine presumption being thrown right out the window before the morning paper is delivered.

Kirk Parker said...

Pogo,

And that county is neither Hennepin nor Ramsey, right? (I.e. not the big bad liberal city.)

Pogo said...

@Kirk

Olmsted county.

Bruce Hayden said...

Read my reason for supporting the bill. It doesn't have anything to do with your point. I'm talking about the perspective of the would-be intruder. I want these people to know there are people inside with guns who are allowed to shoot you. In a word: deterrence.

I agree with Ann here. We really have two perspectives here, the people in their homes, and the home invaders. Most are talking from the perspective of the former, which doesn't change all that much with the law. But the latter might.

Just compare the percentage of night versus day light burglaries in the UK versus here, or even here depending on state.

As for crackheads, tweakers, etc., yes, their judgment is impaired. But what is important here is the margins, and if they are marginally more hesitant to invade an occupied home, then statistically, they will do so less over the entire population.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

'Bloody Pulp Law'

Anyone who thinks that you won't be beaten to a bloody pulp as a result of breaking into one's domicile should be certified.

We can't let the sense of entitlement go any further. It already reaches far into our paychecks and our properties in an indirect fashion (property tax).

I think Freud was quite correct in pointing out that a fear of weapons indicates a sexual and emotional immaturity.

Judged by 12 beats carried by 6 any old day.

Fernandinande said...

Here's the guy who should've been shot a long time ago:

http://www.homefacts.com/offender-detail/WI30691/James-P-Babe-Iv.html

"Offense/Statute: 948.02(2): Second-Degree Sexual Assault of a Child Date Convicted: 15 March 1993"

Man of Many Words said...

"I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering breaking into a house shouldn't have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh. It should be really clear."

Someone said "This is getting a lot of comments, so you are going to want to edit the last paragraph for syntax."

I totally understand the author's intent in writing these words. If the law is in place, it would be abundantly clear to all who choose to invade an occupied dwelling--Break in to a home and it is more than likely you will be shot, dead. They wont have the need to weigh the pros and cons of breaking and entering. They would know for a fact that if someone is home, and they are armed, as an intruder they WILL be shot--no questions asked.

If an unknown intruder enters my home I wont stand idly awaiting their explanation of intent, nor will they await mine!

Rusty said...

Watch the video. Every home in Switzerland has a gun. Burglarize at your own peril.



Not really.
Every male who has compleated their manditory military service to their coubtry takes his fully automatic rifle and a thousand ounds of amunition home with them.
After 55 you have the option of purchasing your military rifle or not.
Crew served weapons, like heavy machine guns andd mortors are kept at the local police station or malitia armory.
Every tunnel,road or rail, in that country is a fallout shelter. Every tunnel entrance has a blast door. Every crossroad in the country is sighted in by a least three mortors.

Robert Cook said...

My family moved from southern Indiana to northeastern Florida when I was a kid. This was in the early 60s when the south was still "the south." Our little beach community had a small police force overseen by a stereotypical old southern sheriff...he was the law, for all intents and purposes.

He and my father became friendly, and one time they fell into a discussion about the particulars of defending one's home against an intruder. It was a given that if an intruder was in the house, one could shoot to kill with impunity. However, my father asked, "What if an intruder is outside the door or in the yard, threatening to break in or do violence?"

The sheriff replied, "Shoot the sumbitch and drag his ass inside the house!"

Robert Cook said...

"'you take your chances when you break into a house in the middle of the night.'

"No knock raid cops would also do well to remember this."


No knock cop intrusions happen all the time in this country,(often by cops who may be dressed in black or other clothing that hides who they are), and home residents who defend or try to defend themselves are typically shot dead by the cops or, if not killed, are charged with crimes for reacting with or threatening violence against the cops.

Class factotum said...

I have reservations about capitol punishment for anyone, but you take your chances when you break into a house in the middle of the night.

You are right - even the most heinous of criminals don't deserve to be stuck in Madison with the protesters.

Browndog said...

I read this a little while back- don't remember where, so no link (probably Fark)

Cops pull over a guy for a traffic stop. He shoots the two cops.More cops arrive, chase the guy on foot. He shoots two more people trying to escape.

Cops corner him, blast him.

At the subsequent press conference days later, a bleeding heart reporter snarkily asked the police chief "Why was he shot 65 times!"

Police Chief replied "Because that's all the bullet we had".

Then, the coroner was asked why he listed the manner of death on the death certificate as "natural causes".

He replied "because, when you're shot 65 times, naturally you're going to die."

John Murdoch said...

Jay--

I'm surprised that nobody has posted any links to cases where a homeowner was charged after shooting an intruder. You've seen several anecdotes--this article by Dave Kopel, published in the Arizona Law Review in 2001, provides an in-depth discussion of the issue of invasion burglary and defensive gun use ("DGU"). In particular, there is excellent discussion of a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) national study that interviewed more than 5,000 people across the country about their experiences with burglary, gun use in response to burglary, and whether the police were called.

There also are quite compelling statistics about the difference between the rate of invasion burglaries in the U.S. versus other countries--the conclusion is obvious (and the article cites a number of studies that interviewed burglars to substantiate) that burglars act like rational economic actors: they do not engage in burglary where there is a reasonable likelihood that an armed homeowner is inside.

http://davekopel.org/2a/LawRev/LawyersGunsBurglars.htm

Jay Retread said...

Ann, the D.A. In this case is probably delaying announcing whether there will be charges because he is waiting on investigators who need to make sure this was not a late night card game that turned violent. Though in Ann's world this uncertainty is sending the message that burglars have free reign in invading peoples homes.

Synova said...

I don't have a whole lot of respect for reporters but the article does not say "alleged intruder" it says "intruder."

Maybe he invited him over so he could kill the sex offender?

Even if that were the case, the DA not charging him or making a public statement that people defending their homes from intruders are not charged does not prevent charges if they decide the man was lured to the other man's house making it all a premeditated murder (even under any castle law in existence).

The message sent to people who might defend themselves and their homes that Althouse is complaining of does not have to be there. The statement by the DA that Fitz's fears have to be found *reasonable* does not have to be there just because some other weird scenario of non-intrusion or drunken card-playing might be discovered.

MaggieL said...

Jay Retread needs to give it up. If most Democrats had their way, citizens wouldn't even own guns legally. "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it." --Dianne Feinstein

And Obama too: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/09/05/obama-im-not-going-to-take-your-guns-away/ has as much credibility as "You can keep your current health insurance".

RebeccaH said...

What a sorry pass this nation has come to that self-defense in one's own home is even an issue.

Donald Sensing said...

They're trying to turn us more into England every day...

reginag said...

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