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Old July 2, 2009, 12:58 AM   #26
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They probably don't. But "diminished capacity" can be helpful when finer points of law are debated -- such as whether you were justified in shooting the intruder heading for the kitchen door. In a "diminished capacity" you may have believed he was going for a weapon -- kitchen knives -- instead of the back door. But in this case, it doesn't really apply unless the husband was flying high himself.

Courts have also ruled that one can suffer from "diminished capacity" after a fist fight if the person lost conciousness, suffered repeated blows to the head, has great pain or other incapacitating injuries. In such cases, the rational mind has a diminished capacity to control our actions. Something anyone who has suffered a debilitating backache, toothache or migraine can tell you about.
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Old July 2, 2009, 09:28 AM   #27
Brian Pfleuger
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Does the introduction of a second person (the wife) change the arguments for the actions of the husband?

I understand "diminished capacity" in a general sense but, specifically in this case, would the presence of another person eliminate that argument? Would it matter if that other person was also in a "diminished" state.

I still say that the guy inserted himself needlessly into a situation that any "reasonable person" would know had a high probability of becoming dangerous. Yeah, I know, it's his home, his "castle" and all that and I don't totally disagree that he has the right to go in and confront the guy. On the other hand, a "reasonable person" would have called the police, multiple times along the way. The wife when she found the guy, the wife on the way to the bar, the husband or wife at the bar, either of them on the way home, either of them when they got home, either of them after waking the guy up, etc. The fact that they didn't call the police until after the entire event was over, despite having innumerable chances, adds to the idea of "malice aforethought", IMO.

Even in states where one can "assume" dangerous intent from an intruder, I should think that such an assumption is only valid when it has not been shown otherwise. A guy sleeping on the coach somewhat invalidates "assumed danger", IMO. IF you wake him up and start a fight, well, that's blood on your hands. (Granted we don't know who started what... just saying)

I mean, if a guy is sitting on your coach drinking a beer when you get home, a guy you don't know and have never seen, and you stand there and talk to him for a couple of minutes and he's all like "Hey bro, how 'bout them Yankees! Want a beer, bro?"..... well, you can't very well say "Sorry, uh, BRO, this here is a Castle Doctrine state. I'm gonna have to shoot you. Hold real still, I'll try to make it not hurt..."
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; July 2, 2009 at 09:44 AM.
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Old July 2, 2009, 09:38 AM   #28
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"Hey bro, how 'bout them Yankees!
That may be a shooting offfense in some houses around here.
"I assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a cause." Jonathan Edwards
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Old July 2, 2009, 09:55 AM   #29
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If the intruder is actually asleep on the couch and remains so until the shot is fired, there is no theory under the law that would allow the shot to be justifiable homicide in the first place. The intruder caused the situation, but the shooter escalated it beyond reason.

Things get "interesting" when the intruder wakes up.

If the intruder wakes up and jumps up when you see them, you might reasonably and lawfully have a claim for self-defense if you fire depending on your state's law.

If they realize the situation they are in and remain still, you are in the same position as anyone who has a criminal at gun point (which is a bad position to be in by the way). If you tell them to leave, you have put yourself in extreme peril tactically and legally (complying with your instruction gives them the advantage of initiating action, and you can't use a "furtive movement"). If they remain still, you now have the pleasure of waiting until/if the cops show up.

Here's an interesting excercise to try. Put yourself in the convict's shoes. Your spouse calls and says there is an intruder. Do you tell the spouse to run or barricade? Do you stay on the phone with the spouse or have them call the cops? If you arrive before the cops (very likely in many areas) do you wait outside like many would suggest, or risk a confrontation by going in?

The opportunities for a catastrophe are ripe in this situation. That's why dogs and/or alarms are so important.
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Old July 3, 2009, 06:38 PM   #30
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Put yourself in the convict's shoes. Your spouse calls and says there is an intruder. Do you tell the spouse to run or barricade? Do you stay on the phone with the spouse or have them call the cops? If you arrive before the cops (very likely in many areas) do you wait outside like many would suggest, or risk a confrontation by going in?
Buzz Knox, the spouse did not stay in the house with the intruder. She left the house and went to the tavern where her husband was.
At no time was she or the husband in physical danger until they re-entered the house. And only then if the intruder woke up before he was shot and did indeed assault the husband.

When I place myself in the shooters position I call the cops from the tavern.
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Old July 4, 2009, 10:38 AM   #31
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Everyone has a mom. This is how I think of folks, and then how will their mom feel after her kid is killed for a silly mistake that a call to the cops would have taken care of instead of the morgue?
Yep, but I figure it is up to all of those "everyones" to worry about how their mothers are gonna feel if they do something stupid and end up getting hurt. If I am put in a situation to where I am concerned about my family's welfare by someone's silly mistake, how many mothers or brothers or sisters or kids they have is not on my list of immediate concerns.

Nevertheless, I would agree that to take another person's life as a result of a silly mistake is a tragedy to avoid if at all possible. If a person's family, self, and necessities of life can be protected without killing, I am all in favor!
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