Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Retreat? HELL NO!

Today is a very good day for Texans. Beginning Sept 1, 2007, if someone breaks into your house or car or accosts you on the street, you no longer have a legal obligation to retreat before you may use lethal force to defend yourself. And if you DO find the need to defend yourself in such a situation, you no longer have to worry that the 350 lb repeat felon's family will sue you for every penny you have for "brutally murdering the harmless little boy" as I am sure the tearful grandmother (the only parent the miscreant probably had, gawd only knows where the mother or father are assuming anyone even knows who the father is to begin with.) will profess on the 10 o'clock news with Quannel the Tenth standing by her side in his silk suit and with his hummer in the background....

You don't have to worry about being sued because if you do use lethal force in self defense then you are immune from civil liability for your actions. Generally speaking, the miscreant's mere presence in your house or car is generally enough of an affirmative defense to show self-defense unless other evidence contradicts your story, such as bullet entry wounds in his back, or pools of blood outside your home, duct tape around his wrists, etc. This is not a "get out of jail free" card, or a license to kill like 007's, there DOES need to be a consistent evidentiary story that shows a threat. If the guy is running away, you might have a hard time proving a threat. The DA WILL STILL be looking closely at these shootings to make sure you aren't just shooting people because you can. This is not a "blood in the streets" law as I'm sure the Brady Campaign will try to make it out to be, just like they tried to do with CCW.

This was the first bill of this session signed into law by Perry. Perry has not been terribly consistent, nor conservative in this term of office, let's hope that this is a sign that he is getting his priorities back in order, but I'm not really holding my breath on that......

Clarification: In Texas, the law of the land has been for some time that you were authorized to use deadly force if a "reasonable man" felt threatened without first retreating. Most of this bill is redundant, however the civil liability issue is a very big deal and is a very welcome addition.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most likely it is a very good bill, and probably comes too late for too many people. Time will tell.....

March 28, 2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger Shreela said...

I read another article that stated many other states already had this law. That's a little embarrassing considering our 'reputation'.

And based off the first comment: they need to Grandfather clause this law!

March 29, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Shreela, as I said in my clarification, Texas law didn't require retreat to begin with in most instances, Section 9 of the penal code already allowed for a broad application of deadly force. So much of the law is redundant. The real important part of the law is the civil immunity. FAR too many times a person has rightfully used deadly force in self defense only to be sued by the family (or the "victim" if he or she manages to survive.) for everything they have. What they couldn't take from you by force, they would take from you in the courts. This is, as I see it the most iportant part of this law, and you are right, Texas should be ashamed to not to have done it first.

March 29, 2007 12:02 PM  

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