Last edited by Son Of Coco; 04-01-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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It's not only Texas (though it's the most well known example). In Texas, you'd have a hard time finding a jury to convict you even if it went to trial.
In fact, you can shoot robbers even if they are in your neighbors place: http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?i...1#.TwRLDtRSQsI (Though legally that one is a bit muddy even in Texas). As I said, even if prosecutors bring the case, Grand Juries, let alone actual juries, will err very strongly on the side of protecting ones (and apparently, in this case, other peoples) property.
Last edited by silentstriker; 04-01-2012 at 05:50 AM.
I feel very uneasy about the prospect of someone being punished for almost anything they do in reaction to having their house broken into. Seems to me like an injustice we're willing to suffer if it means living in a less violent society.
There isn't really much prospect for that at all in the UK though. The law as it is won't punish you for taking steps to defend your property/person unless you do something that can be considered to be unreasonably excessive. Proposed reforms are being introduced to solidify and expand on this position.
I think having your property violated is not quite the same as your body being violated (not to mention the much greater emotional damage) ....are you basing this on average length of sentences?
I don't mean to compare this type of offence to rape either, clearly both are incredibly serious. What I'm getting at, that you don't know what the intentions of a stranger in your house might be, it could be anything, rape included. But the crux of the matter is that they are in your house. Be feeling threatened or unsafe on the streets is one thing, but in your own property? It must be horrible, nobody should have to experience such a thing.
The case in question sounds a little muddy at best. It's one thing shooting or stabbing someone who's broken into your home, but this kid (to reverse the old cliche) seems to have brought a knife to a fistfight. As he was showing it to other kids on the schoolbus, who knew a fight was in the offing, I'm a wee bit uncomfortable charges being waived completely. Carrying (& seemingly brandishing) a weapon seems to suggest some premeditation, getting off the bus early or not.
I think in this country we may've taken a dimmer view of it. In my own experience of being the victim of crime (or an attempted one), the copper who took my statement basically told me to lie about the pick-axe handle I had under the counter when I worked in a service station doing the graveyard shift & had threatened to wrap around a would-be robber's head when he came in brandishing an imitation weapon. I do wonder what would've happened had I swung it.
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That's ridiculous. My parents store gets held up about once a year with knives or guns and I've been telling my parents not to keep a gun because generally they just want money. But if they did use lethal force against someone brandishing a weapon (fake or not), there is no way they would (or should) be punished. You have what you think is a real gun pointed at your face, your life is in danger and you are well within your rights to take whatever action you feel is necessary including killing.
Copper was quite keen I say I didn't really have one, despite my threat. He said something like "But, of course you didn't really have one, did you?" & when I replied that, no I really did, he said "No, you didn't, did you?" and I took his meaning. I imagine that, had I included my statement that I had a potential weapon of dubious provenance, it might've queered the possibility of a conviction.
It depends on the context here somewhat. It's been a while since I studied this, but basically self defence will be construed as "anything you deem reasonable in the situation you were in that you considered necessary to protecting yourself", the fact that you usually have a split second to decide what you want to do and make an instinctual reaction is also heavily taken into consideration.
So if for example a child threatened to beat me up and took a swing at me and I picked up a shovel that was nearby and cracked him over the head with it, this is unlikely be thought of as acceptable. If however, a guy who's let's say 8ft tall who I know participates in cage fighting makes a similar threat and attempts to attack me (bearing in mind I'm not exactly Frank Mir and would have no real way of restraining him) I'd probably be let off without reprieve if I laid into him with aforementioned shovel.
I think Brumby is right about the case in question as to how it would be dealt with in the UK though. Taking a knife to a fight is a pretty big sign of premeditation, I'd seriously doubt you'd successfully argue a plea of self defence if it transpired you'd intentionally been carrying around an offensive weapon knowing that you were likely to end up in a fight.
Similarly actually, the Dad of a friend of mine happened to look out of the window and see some guys trying to break into his car, so picked up a bread knife and chased them off down the street.
Unfortunately in doing so he blew out is quad and collapsed on the road, which funnily enough is where the police found him, with said knife. As in the event Brumby mentioned, the police were apparently very keen to brush this detail under the carpet. They basically sympathised with him and used some discretion to let him off slap on the wrist, but people do end up in serious trouble for this sort of thing.
This really depends on where you live for me. With the case in the OP, I agree with the judge's ruling but mostly because the perpetrator was so young. Should definitely get psychological help. If it was an adult who did this, I think they should face jail time as they present a danger to society.
However, if (for example) your an old white couple living on a farm in South Africa, owning a gun and being allowed to use lethal force is a necessity of life. They'd have no other form of defence/protection out there.
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