Monday, April 23, 2007

Goodman's "Castle Doctrine" bill approved by committee

Sen. Jack Goodman's version of the so-called "Castle Doctrine" (i.e. Frontier Justice) bill which would give Missourians the right to blast away at people entering their property, was approved by the House Rules Committee today.

SB 62, which is being handled in the House by Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, Joplin, who introduced a similar bill which has been approved and is in the Senate now, offers Missourians a right to defend their properties and their lives...rights which they already have.

Though Goodman, a Mount Vernon Republican, and Mrs. Ruestman have said this bill is absolutely necessary to prevent lawsuits against those who do protect themselves, neither has cited one incident in which this kind of lawsuit has ever occurred. In fact, Goodman as much as told KY3 political reporter David Catanese that it has not been a problem. This segment from Catanese's blog was quoted in the March 14 Turner Report:

Is this a widespread problem?
"There have been not a lot of cases, but there have been some cases in Missouri of people who were victims of home intruders, being sued as a result of injuries they inflicted defending themselves," Goodman said. "Not a lot of cases, but some."

Has this happened around here?
"Not in this immediate area that I'm aware of, but they have been in the state of Missouri," Goodman said.

So far, neither Goodman nor Mrs. Ruestman has provided any evidence that this law is necessary. I doubt if such evidence exists.


Anonymous said...

Randy, can you quote the section of the bill that allows people to “to blast away at people entering their property?” The actual language of the bill can be found here:

If you actually read the bill it states that “A person may not use deadly force upon another person . . .unless he reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself or another against death, serious physical injury, rape, sodomy or kidnaping or serious physical injury through robbery, burglary or arson.”

As far as I can see, the only real change the new bill is making is to remove the historical duty to retreat before you use force when you are in your own home.

Now, the law may not be “necessary” but it is hardly a license to blast away any poor sap who wanders onto your lawn.

Anonymous said...

Since the survivor is the only one who can still speak, that inevitably makes for a one-sided story. In other words, after you kill them you can claim any reason you want and no one else will ever know for sure. Sounds like a situation ripe for abuse to me.

Anonymous said...

That’s why the defense is an affirmative one. In other words, the burden is on the accused to raise and prove a self defense claim.

Are you arguing that we should do away with the right to self defense entirely (because your argument would apply to the law now just as much as to the proposed change)?