MI media and Castle Doctrine bill
It's back to the good old days with some of the media -- you know, when the journalist's drive was to make sure gun laws were enacted, rather than to report on the issue.
The Lansing City Pulse has an article on the proposed Castle Doctrine bill. It begins:
"Picture this: A homeless man comes up to you and in a demanding voice asks for money. You have no knowledge if he is armed, and he says nothing to suggest he is. Still, you feel threatened. You are carrying a pistol legally because of the state’s concealed weapon law. You pull it out and shoot him. After an investigation, police determine that you acted legally — not in self-defense against someone threatening to cause you bodily harm, but simply because you felt threatened.
Sound like a farfetched scenario? Not if the state Legislature approves a new law already enacted in 10 other states."
The rest of the article is on a par with that -- lots of Brady Campaign quotes and [insert terrifying speculations here]. I haven't seen the precise text, but if it tracks what has been done in other states a person must have a *reasonable* fear of being subjected to *deadly force* before he can defend with deadly force.
In Oregon, it all comes down to the state of mind of the shooter, as it should.
No one has to demonstrate the dead person was really a good guy in disguise, and was having a bad day.
The standard used here is what would a similarly-situated average person do in the same circumstances?
BTW, the panhandler example is rare, if not impossible. As a 25-year police veteran, I can say that I never heard of someone shooting a "panhandler". Occasionally, a robber or two gets greased, but no one just asking for spare change.
That example is pure anti-gun propaganda.
Posted by: Rivrdog at May 31, 2006 06:32 PM
the text of the bills (there's four of them; why, i don't know) is available from http://legislature.mi.gov/ by searching on bills number 5142, 5143, 5153, and 5548. those are all the house versions; they're currently in the senate and, as i understand it, widely expected to be passed.
that said — i'm certainly not a lawyer, nor do i know what changes might be introduced in the state senate, but the text of the bills seems boringly ordinary to me. they would make stand-your-ground self defense legal anywhere a law-abiding citizen has a right to be, provided there is a reasonable belief of imminent risk of death or great bodily harm, either to self or to another.
such fear would be presumed to be present (and the presumption would be rebuttable, if needed) if the self-defense was to defend against either home invasion, kidnapping from a house or vehicle, or carjacking. this presumption of reasonable fear is not to apply if the attacker (home invader, carjacker) was also an owner, leaseholder, tenant, or so forth, of the house or vehicle where the whole thing occurred (presumably so as to not confuse the domestic violence statutes), and there was no restraining order in effect at the time.
there would also be protection against civil liability for people who successfully use these statutes as a criminal defense. such immunity would only extend to damages and injuries caused to the person one was defending against, but would allow for recovering lawyer's fees in civil cases covered under the immunity.
really, there's not a whole lot of text to these bills, and the language doesn't seem overly complex to me — although i am very much a layperson.
the bills are in my opinion needed, because MI law as it stands only extends castle doctrine protection to one's home and its immediate curtilage. there's been at least one notable case where a householder killed an attacker in his detached garage, and was prosecuted for it. (i don't recall the details of the case off the top of my head, unfortunately.)
Posted by: Nomen Nescio at May 31, 2006 08:30 PM
one of the components of most castle doctrine bills that i really like is the protection from lawsuits by the "criminals family". it really upsets me that you are only defending or protecting yourself from harm and because you had to use appropiate force to stop the threat against you and you've, injured the criminal, you, the victim are now being treated as a criminal by the criminals family. we the people need to regain control of our country and courts.i have expressed my opinion to my state senator on this castle doctrine package and urged him to support its passage.
Posted by: charliealphakilo at June 1, 2006 06:51 PM