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Old June 25, 2012, 06:34 PM   #26
DaveMN
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Wow freaky situation. I am glad it wasn't worse. Time to get Motion lights and a rottie lol.

I would however like to point out a potential issue. Double keyed deadbolts can kill you if you ever have a fire in your house. Always keep a spare set of keys near the floor within easy access.
Magnetic Keyboxes work great if you have an appliance near the door.

If you have ever been in a house full of smoke trying to unlock locks with a key is a nightmare.

I had friends who were killed that way. All 3 of them found by the door with keys in their hands.

Anyway just something to think about!
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Old June 25, 2012, 06:36 PM   #27
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you know there is a really low tech solution to this issue.
Get a dog.
A barker will scare off 99% of door shakers and window breakers while giving you plenty of notice before hand.

If you get past my dogs bark, you can meet my bite.
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Old June 25, 2012, 06:46 PM   #28
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So your house was targeted once, and as a result you have changed absolutely nothing?

The best protection is…prevention.

You want to make your house look as uninviting as possible. Install better lighting, invest in a security system, or just buy some security stickers and signs (even if you don’t decide to install an active alarm.) and display them on your windows and lawn.

Having a plan and calm demeanor as you described are good but ultimately you want to try and avoid the use of lethal force.

Can anything be done to prevent a criminal from looking at your residence and immediately thinking “perfect” easy money!
My house is small and uninviting. It is nothing special. The front is lit up like a Christmas tree by the flood lights from the building across the street. If they look at me and my house as easy money hen they have really low expectations. And, I didn't say that I changed nothing. I made the back doors nearly impossible to get in through without using some sort of battering ram.

Quote:
I would however like to point out a potential issue. Double keyed deadbolts can kill you if you ever have a fire in your house. Always keep a spare set of keys near the floor within easy access.
Magnetic Keyboxes work great if you have an appliance near the door.
Front door is not keyed as I don't have windows in that door.

Quote:
you know there is a really low tech solution to this issue.
Get a dog.
A barker will scare off 99% of door shakers and window breakers while giving you plenty of notice before hand.
I'm not home enough to have a dog or I would.
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Old June 25, 2012, 07:22 PM   #29
output
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The front is lit up like a Christmas tree by the flood lights from the building across the street.
I am sorry but...the building "across" the street has nothing to do with “your” house. Your home does not need to look like it is worth a million dollars. It just needs to look like an “easy target” with a $15.00 dollar TV inside. Burglars and criminals want to take the path of least resistance. If your residence looks like an easy target it is probably because it is. If “small and uninviting” means your residence in small and unlit…you need to fix it. “Low expectations” and easy money are one-in-the-same IMO.

To reiterate criminals purposely pick the easiest targets possible. That normally makes smaller or older looking homes the first target. They are looking for a poorly illuminated house hoping no one is home or that an elderly person is home and sound asleep.

I wish I kept some articles/studies I read for reference. Now I am sorry I did not.
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Old June 25, 2012, 07:47 PM   #30
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Well, I'll put it this way then. My house is one of the least desirable houses to look at in the neighborhood and is better illuminated than most. There is certainly no reason for anyone to think I'm an easy target unless they think a 52 year old fat guy is easy pickens. If that's the case then I can count on attempted break-ins on a regular basis. You cannot see into any window in my house that would give you an idea about what is in it. In fact, there isn't much of value that is in it except a few firearms but no one should know that because I'm not one of those guys with a big Glock sticker on my car window letting everyone know that I have guns.

Home invasions, unfortunately, happen everyday to all kinds of people. I'm just luckier than most that my number has been pulled twice in the last 6 months.
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Old June 25, 2012, 08:26 PM   #31
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Guy sticks his hand inside my broken window,he might get it back.

We got chef's knives right near the back door.

Does wonders for holding a suspect for police when his hand is stuck to the INSIDE of a door he's trying to break into.

Not advocating that at all.
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Old June 25, 2012, 09:03 PM   #32
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Old marksman, these are the exact words of the law and case law citing a specific case. Colorado Law concerning the Use of Deadly Force
Does Colorado have a "Make My Day" law? YES. Passed in 1985.

18-1-704.5 Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.
(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.



Does Colorado law allow the use of physical force in defense of a person (outside of the home)? YES.

18-1-704 Use of physical force in defense of a person.
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.
(2) Deadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate and:


(a) The actor has reasonable ground to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury; or

(b) The other person is using or reasonably appears about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling or business establishment while committing or attempting to commit burglary as defined in sections 18-4-202 to 18-4-204; or

Fact1 The burgler attempted to get in the house to trigger the Law, could've been shot dead there.
Fact2 The presumable reason for continuing to stay on the property under the carport was because he was trying to figure out another way to get in, triggering the law directly above, reread the last bit carefully. If he managed to get back in and was confronted by the homeowner I think we can all assume a violent confrontation. Section b above is very clear.

I can hear you shouting that there had to be another crime or some threat of violence. Before you get too set on that opinion read about the Zoey Ripple case. Here is the summation Good old Zoey got herself seriously drunk, broke into a couples home and wandered around. The couple shouted from another room asking who was there, she was too drunk to notice or answer.
They shot her. She had no weapon and was not even burglarising the place. The fact that she was there was enough to justify the shooting in the eyes of the DA of the peoples republic of boulder and these people think San Franciscans are right wing crazies. If there was a way to prosecute it would have happened. This law was one of the last gems produced before the transplanted Californians took over politics there. The law itself and case law illustrating my point. That being said you'll notice I agreed that what he did was not only the right thing but the best thing.
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Old June 25, 2012, 09:09 PM   #33
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Guy sticks his hand inside my broken window,he might get it back.

We got chef's knives right near the back door.

Does wonders for holding a suspect for police when his hand is stuck to the INSIDE of a door he's trying to break into.

Not advocating that at all.
I encounter people who say this fairly frequently. I also have a friend who likes firearms but distrusts them (doesn't like the idea of a loaded firearm in his home with his 4 yr old boy despite I have an infant, a 3 yr old, a 4 yr old, an 8 yr old and a 14 yr old and I keep loaded firearms in my home). He instead chooses to keep a katana at his bedside. I keep telling him its a bad move for several reasons but he won't listen. His idea is he's going to take up the katana when he hears someone break into his home and go hack them to pieces if they don't leave.

Frankly I think the idea of closing on an intruder to attack them with a melee weapon of any sort is already in a grey area if not just asking for legal troubles. Think of it even in states with a stand your ground law and/or castle doctrine you're not just standing your ground anymore. You're actually making an advance on the intruder to attack them. I remember speaking with our state's Attorney General after the our state adopted a castle doctrine and basically he told me that advancing on the intruder to attack him/her with a melee weapon could be construed as assault with a deadly weapon and depending on your DA you could be facing felony assault charges.

Legalities aside there are also issues with closing on a possibly armed (with a firearm) intruder with a melee weapon. My guess is you'll just get yourself shot. Of course I've gotten the argument that they've got specific hiding spots that they can wait in till the intruder passes them then they can jump out and take them down from the side or from behind. Of course umm... that then relates back to the above paragraph regarding assault with a deadly weapon.

Basically cutting at the intruder is just a bad idea all around.
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Old June 25, 2012, 10:35 PM   #34
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Posted by scrubcedar: Old marksman, these are the exact words of the law and case law citing a specific case. Colorado Law concerning the Use of Deadly Force ....
I have no idea what you are trying to say. None of it contradicts anything I have said.
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Old June 25, 2012, 11:10 PM   #35
Frank Ettin
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scrubcedar,

In post 12 you wrote (emphasis added):
Quote:
...Had you lived in Colorado the only fact that is important is were they on your property with or without your approval. If the answer is without you may open fire no other facts needed as long as they stayed on your property....
That is absolutely wrong, as pointed out by OldMarksman.

In post 32, you quoted part of Colorado law, specifically 18-1-704.5(2), which provides in pertinent part (emphasis added) as follows:
Quote:
...any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant...
So under the statute you, yourself, quoted, the occupant must be able to show the following facts in order to justify the use of deadly force:
  1. The person against whom the force is used made an unlawful entry into the dwelling; and

  2. The occupant reasonably believes that person has committed a crime in the dwelling or is committing or intends to commit a crime; and

  3. The occupant reasonably believes that person might use physical force against the occupant.
That is a very long way from just having to show the guy you shot was on your property without your approval.

And, note that the occupant must show facts that support an inference that his beliefs on the various points was reasonable.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:13 AM   #36
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The first thing you're not understanding is the law was written as broadly as possible. Let's take the example I used (the drunken co-ed)and take it apart using your points. Did she break in? yes. Was she going to commit another crime? No evidence of that any where and I looked for LE quotes as well as reports from the DA very carefully. Theft of food maybe? how could you tell?"when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant."Aha! now we find the phrase that explains it! This was a 20 y.o. 120lb coed who's blood alcohol was .20 at that point she would not likely be coordinated enough to walk straight let alone attack somebody. But she might be!, who knows. Prove that there was no chance she was dangerous AND I knew it! anybody MIGHT use force once they have broken into your home. Notice as well the phrase" no matter how slight".By your reading of the law they should have been charged. They were not! This is the Boulder DA, every gun grabber in the nation is on his speed dial. The intent of the law was you don't have to wait for him to make the first move. He's assumed to be the aggressor because he's in your home. The actual words of the law are quite deliberately vague and place the onus on the DA to prove that you were acting completely unreasonably. The situation once they are in your home is so fluid and dangerous it would be nearly impossible to prove you KNEW you were in no danger and fired anyway.

The piece of the puzzle about outside the home is a little less clear but case law backs that up too. I can find an example if you'd like. Lets take the situation that started this thread. Let's say the guy is on your front lawn walking toward your house with a crowbar at 3am. I think we can all assume he's not here to play tiddlywinks. At that point this kicks in:
18-1-704 Use of physical force in defense of a person.
(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.
(2) Deadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate and:


(a) The actor has reasonable ground to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury; or

(b) The other person is using or reasonably appears about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling or business establishment while committing or attempting to commit burglary as defined in sections 18-4-202 to 18-4-204; or

It is reasonable to assume at this point that he is going to break in to your house and if he finds you there injure or kill you,this is imminent use of unlawful physical force. Thus fulfilling the requirements for sections 1 and 2, a and b. He's hanging around in your carport afterwards. Once again, to play tiddlywinks? No, he's still trying to get in! At which point does the law apply again? tougher call but probably still what if he figures out a way in? This type of scenario was SPECIFICALLY debated on the floor and was provided for on purpose. The part that was misleading was I couldn't find the complete text as well as several examples. Dad was a mover and shaker in Southern Colorado politics when this happened we all followed the story and I got to talk to those involved at the time. DA's and legal experts were brought on to the TV all assuring us that this was going to lead to legalized murder. Looking back the text I found wasn't as clear as it could have been. Do a little google searching about how the law has actually been applied and you may find you agree with me.
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:52 AM   #37
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scrubcedar, if I understand the way the system works, the problem with your argument is that a decision not to charge by the DA does not actually set any legal precedent.

If I understand things correctly, precedent won't be set until a situation results in a trial, a verdict is rendered, and that verdict is appealed. IE, the lowest level at which a binding precedent is set is at the appellate level, and even then that precedent only applies to courts under the jurisidiction of that appellate court - although it can be used in an advisory capacity by courts outside the jurisdiction of the appellate court.

So, until you can cite cases in your area that have been successfully appealed (in favor of the shooter), you are basically gambling on the interpretations of the DA you draw, and the jury you draw. (Again, assuming my understanding is correct - I am NOT a lawyer.)
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Old June 26, 2012, 12:59 AM   #38
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I could probably find you examples but read my post again I remembered something I left out and was editing it when you posted. It might explain it for you. The Law was written in 1985 and as I recall went through appeals not long afterward. Came out completely intact. The point of the law was to rein in bad DA's who were charging people who shouldn't have been.
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Old June 26, 2012, 01:27 AM   #39
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
The first thing you're not understanding is the law...
The first thing you're not understanding is that I'm a lawyer and I've done this sort of a thing for a living for more than 30 years. I can read a statute.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
...Let's take the example I used (the drunken co-ed)and take it apart using your points. Did she break in? yes. Was she going to commit another crime? No evidence of that any where and I looked for LE quotes as well as reports from the DA very carefully...
You have no idea what is in the investigation file, what was said in the investigatory interviews with the participants or how the evidence was viewed by the DA. All you know is what was published in the news, and I guarantee that there's a lot more.

For example, it's entirely possible the DA concluded, based on the way the householder told his story and given the girl's lack of response to repeated challenges, the householder would be able to establish to a jury's satisfaction that the householder reasonably believed that she intended to commit a crime and to use force.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
...The actual words of the law are quite deliberately vague and place the onus on the DA to prove that you were acting unreasonably. The situation once they are in your home is so fluid and dangerous it would be nearly impossible to prove you KNEW you were in no danger and fired anyway...
I recommend that you make some effort to educate yourself on how a plea of self defense works.

Here's a link to an excellent discussion written by an experienced lawyer and published in the journal of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

And I wrote this overview here:
Quote:
I. How Pleading Self Defense Works

In general, if you're accused of a crime it's up to the State to prove your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But things work a little differently if you are pleading self defense.

Basically --

[1] The prosecutor must prove the elements of the underlying crime beyond a reasonable doubt -- basically that you intentionally shot the guy. But if you are pleading self defense, you will have admitted that, so we go to step 2.

[2] Now you must present evidence from which the trier of fact could infer that your conduct met the applicable legal standard justifying the use of lethal force in self defense. Depending on the State, you may not have to prove it, i. e., you may not have to convince the jury. But you will have to at least present a prima facie case, i. e., sufficient evidence which, if true, establishes that you have satisfied all legal elements necessary to justify your conduct.

[3] Now it's the prosecutor's burden to attack your claim and convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act in justified self defense.

Let's go through that again.

In an ordinary criminal prosecution, the defendant doesn't have to say anything. He doesn't have to present any evidence. The entire burden falls on the prosecution. The prosecution has to prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

If the crime you're charged with is, for example, manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that you were there, you fired the gun, you intended to fire the gun (or were reckless), and the guy you shot died. In the typical manslaughter prosecution, the defendant might by way of his defense try to plant a seed that you weren't there (alibi defense), or that someone else might have fired the gun, or that it was an accident. In each case the defendant doesn't have to actually prove his defense. He merely has to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.

But if you are going to be claiming self defense, you will wind up admitting all the elements of what would, absent legal justification, constitute a crime. You will necessarily admit that you were there, that you fired the gun, and that you intended to shoot the decedent. Your defense is that your use of lethal force in self defense satisfied the applicable legal standard and that, therefore, it was justified.

So now you would have to affirmatively present evidence from which the trier of fact could infer that your conduct met the applicable legal standard justifying the use of lethal force in self defense. In some jurisdictions, you may not have to prove it, i. e., you don't have to convince the jury. But you will at least have to present a prima facie case, i. e., sufficient evidence which, if true, establishes that you have satisfied all elements necessary under the applicable law to justify your conduct.

Then it will be the prosecutor's burden to attack your claim and convince the jury (in some jurisdictions, he will have to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt) that you did not act in justified self defense. And even if you didn't have to prove self defense (only present a prima facie case), the less convincing your story, and your evidence, is, the easier it will be for the prosecutor to meet his rebuttal burden....
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
...It is reasonable to assume at this point that he is going to break in to your house and if he finds you there injure or kill you,this is imminent use of unlawful physical force...
No, in the law one may not assume anything unless the law specifically allows what is called a presumption. The self defense laws in some States do provide for a presumption, e. g., the Florida Castle Doctrine at 776.013:
Quote:
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:...
But Colorado law, as you've quoted it, doesn't provide for such a presumption.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
...if I understand the way the system works, the problem with your argument is that a decision not to charge by the DA does not actually set any legal precedent.

If I understand things correctly, precedent won't be set until a situation results in a trial, a verdict is rendered, and that verdict is appealed. IE, the lowest level at which a binding precedent is set is at the appellate level, and even then that precedent only applies to courts under the jurisidiction of that appellate court - although it can be used in an advisory capacity by courts outside the jurisdiction of the appellate court...
That's correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrubcedar
...The Law was written in 1985 and as I recall went through appeals not long afterward...
Then please provide citations so that we can all see what the court of appeal said.
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Old June 26, 2012, 03:30 AM   #40
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interesting thread, but i think that any(sane) DA doesn't want bring felony charges to a person defending they're home/residence from an intruder, because of the fact that it sends the message your not safe in your own home/residence, even in the areas where there are laws that you're not allow to use deadly force against an intruder(which is a bizzare law/idea, but i'm sure there are places where that is law), IMHO i think that there should be a federal stand your ground/home is a castle law.
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Old June 26, 2012, 06:07 AM   #41
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Quote:
rha600: however I live in florida where if someone is standing in my house (my garage is part of my house) and I am not shooting them in the back as he's running away, I have every right to put a really big hole in him.


So no, I would not be committing murder.
I think it makes a great deal of difference in Texas whether the garage is part of the house or not, or a separate building. As far as it being murder,
murder is the taking of innocent life, taking the life of an intruder who has broken into your house, is not murder in Texas nor should it be. In any case it is the legal definitions that count in the state, not the morals ones. I have no garage, no alarm system, if they break in and I am gone I have insurance, and as far as breaking in on me through a deadbolt lock and I don't know them, I will stop the theat with deadly force. Neighbors do have dogs, which do warn me if a stranger approaches.

But if you go outside your house and shoot him and he is unarmed, even in your garage you could be charged.

I have enough trouble staying up on the laws in Texas that it is very hard to
stay up on the laws in other states.
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Old June 26, 2012, 06:42 AM   #42
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Scrubcedar, there is a very big difference between excusing the use if deadly force when there is reason to believe that such force is immediately necessary to defend against a threat of imminent death or serious injury, and permitting the shooting of someone who is "on your property with or without your approval."

The part of Colorado law that addresses the lawful use of deadly force outdoors is very similar to the law in most other states; it is essentially what the common law has held for centuries; there's nothing even relatively new in it.

The so called "make my day" provision greatly reduces the threshold for justification in the even of an unlawful entry into the home (any force, no matter how slight) and reduces the evidentiary burden on the actor. A number of other states have adopted rather similar provisions, but laws do vary among jurisdictions.

As fiddletown and MLeake have pointed out, is not correct to characterize either a decision in a trial court or a decision by a charging authority as "case law". Neither has any precedential value. The next one can always go the other way.

On other thing: the statement "By your reading of the law they should have been charged. They were not!" needs to be addressed. When one has taken a life, there are two ways of characterizing the possible outcomes regarding charges: the actors were charged, or the actors have not been charged. Unless and until there has been a trial and acquittal or a full pardon, charges can always be filed against a living person when a homicide has occurred. Either new evidence or a new District Attorney can bring that about, as can political pressure.

And I would not go so far as to contend that a reasonable person would not believe that an intoxicated person posed an imminent threat of force against the occupants.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:38 AM   #43
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Quote:
FrankEtin: The first thing you're not understanding is that I'm a lawyer and I've done this sort of a thing for a living for more than 30 years. I can read a statute.
I read your comment here, and I would like to ask since you are an experienced attorney with these matters, that if someone is breaking into your house, (in my case I would probably be 10 to 12 feet away from the door), how would one know whether they were drunk, on crack, or some other substance. If they were two or three feet away, I would know they had been drinking alcohol. I have to stop them at the point of entry, as I
also care for a disabled adult child. I have noted in some posts some maintain that a lost drunk does not pose a threat. I doubt the intruder would be close enough for me to determine what the problem was if he is breaking in before I fire to stop the intruder. In face where I live it would be more likely the intruder was high on crack. There is only one door, one way in and one way out. Retreat is not an option.
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Old June 26, 2012, 07:43 AM   #44
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I would think yelling "go away, I have a gun" would effectively separate the lost drunks from the determined criminals.
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:07 AM   #45
Double Naught Spy
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Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
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Quote:
Christmas morning I posted that someone had tried to break into my house.

Well, this morning, about 3:30 am, I had someone else attempt to break in. The guy that tried to break in early Christmas morning broke a pane of glass out of the door that leads out to the carport. I'm assuming he was trying to unlock the deadbolt, which is keyed on both sides, so he wasn't successful. I just filled the hole with cardboard as I wasn't sure whether I was going to replace the glass with wood or another pane of glass.

This time the scum punched the cardboard out of the hole.
So it has been 6 months and you have not repaired the door, just leaving cardboard in place of the broken glass? That does make for an inviting target. I would not be surprised of others try as well. The lack of proper maintenance makes it look like you are a soft target.
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Old June 26, 2012, 08:24 AM   #46
Ronbert
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Back to the idea of going outside with a holstered gun....

WHY?

You surrender all tactical and legal advantage when you leave the interior of the house.

Besides the unknown number and location of the bad guys the police responding might decide that YOU are the prowler they were called about and you won't like how they treat you until things are sorted out.

Only reason I can see to leave the house is if it's on fire.
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Old June 26, 2012, 09:29 AM   #47
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Wow, lots of forays into bad ideas in this thread. Other than not fixing the door and hardening it IMO you did exactly as you should have. Too bad they did not catch the trespassers but you might have scared them off enough to try an easier target next time. Two break-ins in six months? Might consider where you are living too and see if you can afford a nicer place.

I second the suggestion for camera system if you don't move. You can get one with a DVR to cover the main entries for under $400. It will help the police considerably when trying to find the criminals.
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Old June 26, 2012, 09:43 AM   #48
Mr Budha
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Good to hear you're okay after both ordeals. I think you definitely did the right thing. Killing someone should be the last resort (assuming your life isn't directly in danger, then it should be the first).
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Old June 26, 2012, 10:08 AM   #49
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasJustice7
...I would like to ask since you are an experienced attorney with these matters, that if someone is breaking into your house, (in my case I would probably be 10 to 12 feet away from the door), how would one know whether they were drunk, on crack, or some other substance....
There are no pat answers. Everything depends on exactly what happens and how it happens. The challenge for you will be to assess the situation and (1) conclude that your use of lethal force was immediately necessary to defend yourself and other innocents in the house; (2) be able to articulate why; and (3) be able to establish that your use of lethal force satisfied the legal requirements for justification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasJustice7
...I have noted in some posts some maintain that a lost drunk does not pose a threat....
I don't think that anyone has said exactly that. But a distinction can be made between someone who posses and actual threat and some poor guy who stumbles into the wrong place at the wrong time because he's too drunk to know what he is doing.

In the latter case, if you shoot the guy you may well be able to get off if your mistaken conclusion was nonetheless reasonable that your use of lethal force was necessary, and the legal requirements for justification were still satisfied. You might thus be able to avoid jail. You will not be able to avoid your conscience or the judgments of your friends, neighbors and co-workers.
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Last edited by Frank Ettin; June 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM. Reason: clarify
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Old June 26, 2012, 11:27 AM   #50
scrubcedar
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Mr. Ettin, I was trying to say in my last post that I have been and was at the time around attorneys who disagree with your interpretation of this law. Some of them being people who helped draft it. Your quote that you used to help me understand self defense is very convincing and may even match the Colorado law on the matter for other situations I don't know. Notice the language of this Colorado law differs greatly from what you used. "when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant." Prove that it's not reasonable that ANY intruder, even that drunk girl, might use "PHYSICAL FORCE NO MATTER HOW SLIGHT" in open court. I'll ask you with your experience what odds the DA has (provided the intruder was awake at the time)? You're right that I can't immediately put my hands on case law or refute what you said about presumption in self defense. When many lawyers have one opinion and one has another, providing you're not a lawyer who would you believe? All of these guys at the time explained it to me as I explained it to you. Not trying to rile you up again but is it possible they knew Colorado law specifically better than you? The boulder DA obviously didn't want to try it in this particular case and that seems to agree with my points more than it agrees with yours. All that being said let's get real. You didn't identify your target well enough to see it was a harmless drunken coed and you fired anyway?
Surely there was some way to figure that out without endangering yourself or nearly killing her. I don't know, I wasn't there. I do know I'd be second guessing myself for the rest of my life over the incident.

I'm VERY tired of debate and flame wars. I log on to these forums to relax. I yield the field to you sir. In this particular case I would be surprised if I were wrong, but it sounds safe to listen to your advice. I'll stop posting about the law and you can stop being so angry. The reduction in your blood pressure will be my parting gift to you.
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