Shooting a Squatter in a state with Castle Doctrine

Let’s say I live in a state with the Castle Doctrine. Why couldn’t I legally just shoot the squatter in the head if they refuse to leave?

You are joking right? The Castle Doctrine does not say that you may summarily execute someone in your house. It says that you have no duty to retreat before using lawful self defense in your home.

No not joking; Honest legal question. If I come home from a month vacation and there is someone in my house without my permission and refuses to leave, how do I know they are not going to do me harm? If you want, consider the hypothetical takes place in Texas with the most property-owner-friendly interpretation of the Castle Doctrine.

In most states (I think all , but I’m not 100% sure) , you can’t shoot someone because “you don’t know they aren’t going to do you harm”. You can only do so if you reasonably believe they are going to use deadly force against you. Which might be the case if someone breaks into your home at 3am and appears in your bedroom - but that’s not the same as finding that someone has moved into a home that was vacant for a month.

And in some states all you tell the police after the shooting is “he threatened me and I shot in self defense.” Then just stay real consistent after that. Though I would think you would still need a good lawyer and it would be a major hassle with court dates and everything else that it would probably involve.

And if you can shoot someone dead in cold blood, lying about the exact circumstances after shouldn’t be that hard.

Crap, this is FQ and a hijack. I’ll pull the Castle Doctrine post and replies out to a new thread.

Dovetail this with the Bad Legal Advice thread and when my LEO uncle told me to put a kitchen knife in their hand before I call the cops.

You are joking right? The Castle Doctrine does not say that you may summarily execute someone in your house. It says that you have no duty to retreat before using lawful self defense in your home.⁢

The whole reason people object to those types of laws is that they believe it makes it too easy to claim self-defense and get away with it, even it if wasn’t actually self-defense. If you have a duty to flee, you have to come up with a scenario where fleeing was not possible, which would be hard if the deceased is found in a place, shot from a direction where the person could have fled or at least hid.

I don’t really get why there shouldn’t be some duty to retreat inside of one’s home.

In the US, as long as he was unarmed, you can claim that you were in fear for your life, because you thought he might take your gun.

I knew someone who heard noises in his house one night, and came downstairs to find an intruder, motives unknown. He held the guy at golf club-point until police arrived.

I’m not sure if state law at the time permitted a full swing at the miscreant or a chip shot, and whether replacing any divots was mandatory.

No one is joking. In Texas (at least) a guy shot and killed two people despite them never being in his home and the burglars never threatening him (IIRC he shot them in the back so they were not even approaching him). Further, he was on the phone with 911 and they explicitly told him not to get involved, police were on their way. Never went to trial.

Unless I’m missing something that is not the situation here. The OP quoted text describing the people as tenants. That says they had some right to be on the property.

Here’s some free legal advice. If you’re a landlord who rents a house to somebody and they stop paying rent, you should not drive over to the house and shoot them. You will be charged with murder, even in Texas. And they do executions in Texas.

That really had nothing to do with the Castle Doctrine ( which only applies to a person’s own home, not a neighbor’s) and it didn’t go to trial because the grand jury did not indict him. That doesn’t mean that what he did was actually legal - at best , it means that this particular grand jury didn’t believe the prosecutor presented enough evidence to indict. More likely, it means the grand jury considered this a “public service homicide” and wouldn’t have indicted him no matter what the law said.

Y’know, the whole “in [the USA generically/Texas if you want to be extra memetic] you can just shoot people for any lame excuse or no excuse and get away with it” thing is not something to rely upon.

Yes, it happens and we all hear the news of it happening. We hear about it in the news because even now it is not what we feel is or should be the expected norm, and it’s not the official legal rule.

I know, I know: we should want a society were it just does not happen. We’ll work on that, OK?

Right. The common gag about “a grand jury will charge a ham sandwich” has as its converse that a grand jury can just refuse to charge anything.

It had everything to do with the Castle Doctrine:

And what is a grand jury’s indictment rate? 98% or better?

That’s a pretty hard sell in NJ, NY, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. So I wouldn’t say in the US, maybe most of the US? But I don’t really know.

I thought California & Illinois had very tough gun laws and were generally unfavorable to those type of self-defense claims?

A bit of an exaggeration. Now if you were pointing a gun at someone and they actually advanced on you, that would probably be a legitimate justification. Because someone stupid/crazy/intoxicated enough to do that would truly be an imminent threat to you.

If you can convince a jury your life was in danger then your justification was legitimate. A small elderly person could make a case if their home was invaded by a large dangerous looking intruder who was acting in a threatening manner.

Although it there appears to be some confusion regarding whether the Texas law is a “Castle Doctrine” law ( where you need not retreat in your home) or a “stand your ground” law (where you need not retreat as long as you are lawfully present), I have seen nothing anywhere that suggests that ether the castle doctrine or stand your ground laws allow you to shoot someone breaking into your neighbor’s house who do not currently pose any threat to you. If you have something that says otherwise, do you have a link? Because the article you linked says that the State senator who sponsored the bill said it would apply because it “wasn’t his castle”. Just because Horn mentioned the “new law” in his 911 call doesn’t mean that law had anything to do with the grand jury’s decision. And in any event , as far as I can tell, even in Texas , using deadly force requires that you reasonably believe the deadly force is immediately necessary.

It’s not that he wanted to shoot the intruders next door, he said, “but if I go out there to see what the hell’s going on, what choice am I going to have?” The dispatcher told him again to wait for the police, not to go outside with his shotgun, that nobody needed to die for stealing.

“If I go out there” - meaning he was not outside when he was calling and therefore not in any danger from them. He didn’t tell the dispatcher he was in any danger, and he went outside and confronted the burglars and told them “move, you’re dead”, shot them and returned to the phone. I’m sure the fact that the burglars were Columbians illegally in the US was completely coincidental , and the grand jury would not have indicted Horn even if he had shot Neighbor B leaving Neighbor A’s property with yard tools Neighbor A gave him permission to borrow.

I live on the top floor of a barn converted to a studio flat, there is one single stairway up/down, and I am physically handicapped - I have no reasonable expectation of escape or evasion, the studio is 20x30, no interior walls [the bathroom is down a single flight of stairs, I have an installed incinolet toilet in a previously disused closet by the bed area and yes going down the stairs to get to a full bathroom to shower includes using the installed chair lift - which is where the proposed murderous burglars would be coming up. And yes I am still PTSDy about the place being torched with me in it from when I had to make my way out of the house that used to stand on the property as the back wall was starting to burn through back in 2015.

Then I am curious how the DA failed to get the grand jury to indict.