A question for the board on SYG or the right to protect yourself in your home

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by HallGator, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. HallGator
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    HallGator Administrator VIP Member

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    Earlier today, while I was at work, my wife called me and said police were all over the neighborhood on foot with guns and tasers drawn. From the best she could see there were cop cars at every corner. I asked her where she was and of course she is standing on the porch watching all of it and I guess the cops had not seen her. Beside telling her it was a bit silly to be outside and to get inside and lock the doors I also told her the following and that is the part which the point of my question.

    My instructions were for her to get my pistol and if anyone tried to break in not to give them any warning if they are coming in. Shoot them and shoot them more than once and try to place as many slugs in the center of their body mass as possible. This, of course, was after I told her to make damn sure what she was shooting at and not to shoot a cop.

    She is not a hysterical or highly excitable woman and for sure does not scare easily. In addition she is familiar with firing a handgun. Is there any legal repercussions in Florida for what I told her to do should someone try to break in on her. Is there any requirement for warning whatsoever if she is inside of the house? My feeling is she is in danger of her life as soon as someone tries to break in.

    I am not talking about any moral issues here. Simply the legal aspects. In this case there was no doubt that someone bad was on the loose from the way the police were acting.
  2. Lawdog88
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    Lawdog88 Well-Known Member

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    No prob.

    My wife knows to do the same thing.

    However, we do have problems with cops breaking into houses looking for suspects, in my community. That is a problem.
  3. boligator
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    boligator Member

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    Shoot to protect herself against an intruder...I have NO problem with that. However, you better dang well be sure it is NOT law enforcement. Or else it could end very badly.
  4. gregthegator
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    gregthegator Well-Known Member

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    that's THE problem...1/2 time cops don't FOLLOW the law themselves...
  5. HallGator
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    Thanks LD. That is why I told her to make sure it wasn't a cop trying to get in. We have never had anything like that happen around here that I recall, but that doesn't mean it couldn't. Plus you always need to know what you are shooting at as much as is reasonably possible.
  6. GolphinGator
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    GolphinGator Well-Known Member

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    That was what my thinking as well.
  7. geauxgator1
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    geauxgator1 Well-Known Member

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    If you shoot the cop, it will be your fault, no matter the law.
  8. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    In the state of Florida, when someone breaks into a home or vehicle, there is a legal presumption that the occupant has a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to the occupant or another because the person who forcefully enters the home or vehicle is presumed to be intending to commit and unlawful act involving force or violence. Fire away as long as it isn't law enforcement
  9. el_lagarto
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    el_lagarto Premium Member

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    LEO has no more right to come barging in than some criminal....both deserve new holes.

    thaT said, you shoot a cop, bad things will happen.
  10. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Exactly. If it's the cops stupidly, unannouncedly breaking down your door and you open fire, your problem isn't that you aren't on sound legal footing in using your weapon, it's that they will ventilate you and you'll be too dead to make that argument.
  11. g8orbill
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    my wife and I both have CCP's and both have our own guns- we also just recently took another gun class-I understand fully your response Hall and have told my wife the exact same thing
  12. helix139
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    helix139 VIP Member

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    In the state of Florida, if they announce or you have reason to believe its an LEO breaking into your house and they are in the performance of their duties, castle doctrine does not apply, so legally they do have more right than a criminal, even if they are barging in without a warrant.

    That said, even if they don't announce and its dark and you have no reason to believe it's a cop and shoot one of them on sound legal footing, you probably won't survive the backup he has likely already called in.

    One reason I am against no-knock warrants. Officer safety is an excuse used far too often to endanger the public and bypass due process. It is an inherently dangerous profession and those who sign up for it should deal with it or get out.
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  13. g8rjd
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    Helix, you also forgot about "hot pursuit" of a fleeing suspect.

    The other point I would make is that if a burgler is clearly leaving you are not longer in fear of imminent peril and should not "fire away." Coming in is clearly a different situation. (And, tangentially, this isn't really SYG, other than the procedure to address the issue...this is traditional castle doctrine self-defense.)
  14. HallGator
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    A guy I talked to said he had installed a door to his bedroom that would be hard to kick in without concerted effort or a battering ram. He also has a camera outside the door with a monitor in the bedroom. Not really a safe room but a way to slow down intruders while they were sleeping. He said it was as much for police who made a mistake on the house they entered as it was for criminals. I don't know that the odds would be the same for both kind of intruders but it sounded like a good idea and should give someone ample time to see who was trying to come in.
  15. helix139
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    See part about breaking in without a warrant. Granted, one isn't necessary in that case

    Legally, there is no distinction between whether or not the burgler is leaving at that point. When he breaks in and he is in your house, legally he is fair game. Once he is outside your house, it is a different story. That said, if he's clearly leaving, there is no need to shoot.

    The law doesn't require the occupants to make that distinction, though, and errs extremely toward their right to defend themselves which I think is a good thing.
  16. g8rjd
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    If you want to take your chances advising someone that a burglar with a full bag of stolen items who is in the process of leaving from a window, but still somewhat "in your house" presents an "apparent imminent danger of great personal injury," justifying the use of deadly force, and allows you to kill him by shooting him in the back, more power to you.
  17. bposs
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    What if he's carrying your things while leaving? Do we have the legal right to shoot him in order to get our things back?
  18. g8rjd
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    No, you do not.
  19. MichaelJoeWilliamson
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    We keep our bedroom door locked at night for this very reason. If we are alone and someone breaks into our home, we plan to call the police and stay behind the locked door. If someone tries to break into the bedroom, we are armed and ready. We plan to shout, "I am armed and I will shoot. If you are police, identify yourself now, as I have 911 on the line."

    My youngest daughter moved back in with us, so I am not sure what I will do if I hear someone break in the house. Maybe arm her and instruct her to do the same.
  20. MichiGator2002
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    Most castle doctrines operate as legal presumptions, *rebuttable* legal presumptions. In this case, the presumption is that if the guy is in your house, that your fear, your cause for shooting him, was reasonable, just because he was there. But that is a rebuttable presumption, it can be voided and turned around if the evidence can show sufficiently that you do not deserve it. The scenario of the guy with a full bag of loot stepping back out of the window and only then having his brains splattered out onto the lawn is one that very well could negate that presumption, deprive you of the castle doctrine as a defense.

    TL; DR -- castle doctrine does not operate by turning your home into a free fire zone.

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