Lawyers: Could you kill someone who breaks into your house?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by LuxeStyles, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. LuxeStyles

    LuxeStyles Senior member

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    If there is a criminal that broke into your home, are you legally allowed to kill them? Would you be charged with murder? What happens if the burglar is unarmed, but you assumed they had a weapon?
     
  2. MrG

    MrG Senior member

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    I'm not a lawyer, but even I know this varies vastly by state.

    So I suppose the answer is "you could, but you better know the laws in your state before you do."
     
  3. whodini

    whodini Conan OOOOOOO"BRIEN!

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    I'm not a big city lawyer or in BIGLAW but you hear cases of robbers suing victims every now and then. Who knows if that's just urband legend, though.
     
  4. AR_Six

    AR_Six "Sookie!"

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    Here is my impression, but as crim goes my knowledge doesn't extend far past search and seizure. So grain of salt.

    To put it simply, if you intentionally kill someone, that is murder. The next question becomes, do you have any statutory or common law defenses. "He broke into my house" is not a common law defense. It may be a statutory defense in your state, I have no idea what cockamamy laws you guys see fit to pass. Aside from that, you'd need to make another defense fit the bill, which will depend on the circumstances of the shooting aside from his having broken into your house.
     
  5. LuxeStyles

    LuxeStyles Senior member

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    Here is my impression, but as crim goes my knowledge doesn't extend far past search and seizure. So grain of salt.

    To put it simply, if you intentionally kill someone, that is murder. The next question becomes, do you have any statutory or common law defenses. "He broke into my house" is not a common law defense. It may be a statutory defense in your state, I have no idea what cockamamy laws you guys see fit to pass. Aside from that, you'd need to make another defense fit the bill, which will depend on the circumstances of the shooting aside from his having broken into your house.


    Would your case be stronger if you used a knife?
     
  6. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    just leave the kitchen knife on his hand and call it a day
     
  7. oldseed

    oldseed Senior member

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    just leave the kitchen knife on his hand and call it a day

    awesome.
     
  8. cheessus

    cheessus Senior member

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    The best way to know is just to try it and find out.
     
  9. Hollowthorn

    Hollowthorn Senior member

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    You wanna try it at my house? Im real close to palo alto. [​IMG]
     
  10. oneeightyseven

    oneeightyseven Almost Special

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    If you have a crappy roomate you want offed, this would be a perfect way out. Kill the robber, then use his hands to touch a knife and kill your roomate. Tell your lawyer you were in fear for your life after he killed your roomate. You're off scot-free with a 2-4-1!!!!!
     
  11. LuxeStyles

    LuxeStyles Senior member

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    Would lying even be necessary if I find someone from NY Biglaw?
     
  12. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan White Hispanic

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    It varies wildly state by state. In the South and Mountain West, many states have the castle doctrine.

    In the milder states, once the guy is leaving the house or non-threatening, you can't shoot. If you feel your life is in danger (and be sure to repeatedly state how scared you were in talks with the cops) you can shoot/stab but once the person is no longer a threat, you must stop.

    Rare exceptions have been made for the elderly and disabled who successfully argued that they were afraid if they stopped the person would revive and the victim would lack the strength to defend themselves again.

    I'm pretty conservative on this issue, but it's kind of common sense - if the bad guy is no longer a threat, stop attacking, no matter how pissed off you are.
     
  13. Mr. Macaque

    Mr. Macaque Senior member

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    it depends. if you kill someone who was in the process of burgularizing your house and robbing you, you may still find yourself on trial for murder. however, depending on the factual circumstances, you may raise a self-defense defense. you'll have to prove that you reasonably believed that you were in danger of imminent bodily harm, and that deadly force was reasonably necessary to prevent that harm, though.

    this is not legal advice.
     
  14. LuxeStyles

    LuxeStyles Senior member

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    Someone breaking into your home who is very likely armed with a weapon of some sort isn't enough to constitute severe alarm?
     
  15. Mr. Macaque

    Mr. Macaque Senior member

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    let's put it this way: if you find someone in your home stealing your ps3, and you shoot him dead only to find that he was totally unarmed, then you'll be in deep shit.
     

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