Minneapolis Finder Forum MN
RegisterSearchTutorialsMemberlistLog in
Reply to topic Page 1 of 1
The Problem With "Home As Castle" Shooting Theory
Author Message
Reply with quote
Post The Problem With "Home As Castle" Shooting Theory 
Minnesota has recently seen proposals to authorize the use of deadly force by residents against burglars or others who illegally enter their homes. This story illustrates the worst case scenario for those situations.

I also frankly find it concerning that, IMHO, virtually anyone who wanted to kill somebody they lived with or knew could claim that they thought they were a burglar when they shot them. It's an invitation to murder.

Reply with quote
Post  
It's odd that this issue has not come up in states that implement the Castle doctrine. Probably because it wouldn't take much effort on the part of the first patrol officer who gets on site to figure out that someone had just murdered an acquaintance. Forget about trying to get it past an actual investigator.

But I think Castle doctrine has very little to do with the posted story. The posted story is about a hotel security officer who fired at kids cutting through open property. Not so much to do with someone shooting at a suspected burglar in their home.

This might be a good story arguing that rent-a-cops shouldn't have guns.

Reply with quote
Post  
"This might be a good story arguing that rent-a-cops shouldn't have guns."

There's your point. Anyone in MN who is a non-felon can have a gun in their home, so the bar there is considerably lower than that for rent-a-cops.

As far as your scenario goes, think about the burden of proof.

"I was (having a party and went to bed, was sleeping, etc) and I heard a noise in the kitchen. I went to investigate and this person in the darkness lunged at me. I fired, and after turning the light on, found to my horror that it was my (buddy, wife, girlfriend, fill in the blank). I called 911 immediately for help."

Prove otherwise.

You can't. If you're cool enough to stick with that story, you're not gonna have a problem. That's the key. Most folks just can't take the heat, and they cough it up and confess.

Reply with quote
Post  
thrice wrote:
"This might be a good story arguing that rent-a-cops shouldn't have guns."

There's your point. Anyone in MN who is a non-felon can have a gun in their home, so the bar there is considerably lower than that for rent-a-cops.


But the probability of trouble creeping up is considerably lower as well.

Quote:

As far as your scenario goes, think about the burden of proof.

"I was (having a party and went to bed, was sleeping, etc) and I heard a noise in the kitchen. I went to investigate and this person in the darkness lunged at me. I fired, and after turning the light on, found to my horror that it was my (buddy, wife, girlfriend, fill in the blank). I called 911 immediately for help."

Prove otherwise.

You can't. If you're cool enough to stick with that story, you're not gonna have a problem. That's the key. Most folks just can't take the heat, and they cough it up and confess.


You can, actually. It depends quite a bit on what the crime scene looks like. Turn off the lights in the kitchen, see how dark it actually is to eyes that are adjusted for light. If there's sufficient light coming from the windows, there's a hole in your story right there. Also position of the body. Is it near the doorway the person said he came from before shooting the intruder? Or is it in the middle of the kitchen next to the counter where a sandwich lay half eaten? Is the body face down or up? Blood splatter on the walls? Or let's get real basic and make sure that the entry hole is in the chest, not the back.

It's not nearly as easy to get away with a confessed murder as TV makes it out to be. That's why, as mentioned, this sort of thing doesn't happen often, even in states that implement the Castle doctrine.

Reply with quote
Post  
I'd like to see some statistics before I pursue an argument about this, Prae. We do know that people do accidentally shoot family members walking around in the middle of the night- that's just a fact. I don't know that it happens any more or less often in "castle states", and if you've got some stats on them specifically, and as compared to others, let's see them.

General accidental gun deaths tend to run about 600-800 per year. I'm inclined to believe that deliberate but mistaken shootings would be classified as non-criminal homicides, as police shootings are, but not certain on that.

I'm quite familiar with crime scene forensics. There's quite a bit of fudge room involved there. The examples you cite could certainly be used to contradict obvious falsehoods by an interviewed shooter, but there's plenty of wiggle room for "I don't know. I was sleepy. It was dark. I'm not sure", which are the typical responses you'd get when interviewing even an innocent person in such a situation. This isn't a case where the guy's denying doing the shooting. It's a matter of proving that he knew that the person he was shooting was not a burglar, which goes to establishing his state of mind, not forensics. You've got to prove that knowledge beyond a doubt. That's hard to do.

Reply with quote
Post  
thrice wrote:
I'd like to see some statistics before I pursue an argument about this, Prae. We do know that people do accidentally shoot family members walking around in the middle of the night- that's just a fact. I don't know that it happens any more or less often in "castle states", and if you've got some stats on them specifically, and as compared to others, let's see them.


Point taken. Though in this case I would like to go to my old fall guy, The Brady Campaign To Incite Gun Fear. We know full well that The Brady Campaign will do anything up to and including make stuff up to get people to be afraid of guns. Yet I haven't heard much if anything out of them regarding the fear of premeditated murder under the guise of home protection. It leads me to suspect that if it's a problem at all, it's such a small problem that even TBC would have trouble making it in to a sizable issue.

Quote:

I'm quite familiar with crime scene forensics. There's quite a bit of fudge room involved there. The examples you cite could certainly be used to contradict obvious falsehoods by an interviewed shooter, but there's plenty of wiggle room for "I don't know. I was sleepy. It was dark. I'm not sure", which are the typical responses you'd get when interviewing even an innocent person in such a situation. This isn't a case where the guy's denying doing the shooting. It's a matter of proving that he knew that the person he was shooting was not a burglar, which goes to establishing his state of mind, not forensics. You've got to prove that knowledge beyond a doubt. That's hard to do.


That's true. Proving that the person had intent to kill the victim would be more difficult. But that's not the only murder conviction that the shooter faces. It certainly is the worst of them, but if someone is thinking of using this doctrine to kill someone they want out of their way, their choices are:

1. Get caught in the act and have the book thrown at them (assuming we could ever get our act together and actually prosecute criminals). Look at jail time.
2. Get away with it and face some category of negligent homicide. Look at jail time. (Given the history of our justice system, this may end up actually being the worse of the two)

Neither option looks particularly good.

Display posts from previous:
Reply to topic Page 1 of 1
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum