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Colorado men convicted of homicide by shooting burglar

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Here's a very tricky story that has possible warnings to those living in states without "Castle Doctrine" law. Colorado businessmen were convicted in a civil trial for killing a burglar who broke into their property with intent to steal for drug money.

They were convicted beause Colo law only allows lethal self defense for the person if attacked and not to defend a business. The intruder was definitely on their property to steal and he was there illegally, but the owners were still convicted and the family awarded a big chunk of money in this civil trial.

The article is well written and isn't biased, so it offers some good talking points here:

http://www.gazette.com/articles/jury-123946-burglar-lot.html#ixzz1WAJvzqf5

What's your take on this? My first impression is that IF that's the way Colorado law is, then maybe the owners went overboard. Whether they deserve a 300k damage verdict is another matter.

Wherever you live, you gotta know the law! It can only protect you if you stay within its limits. Otherwise you could be subject to civil or criminal judgment.

Replies

  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,281 Senior Member
    I love Florida
    samzhere wrote: »
    Here's a very tricky story that has possible warnings to those living in states without "Castle Doctrine" law. Colorado businessmen were convicted in a civil trial for killing a burglar who broke into their property with intent to steal for drug money.

    They were convicted beause Colo law only allows lethal self defense for the person if attacked and not to defend a business. The intruder was definitely on their property to steal and he was there illegally, but the owners were still convicted and the family awarded a big chunk of money in this civil trial.

    The article is well written and isn't biased, so it offers some good talking points here:

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/jury-123946-burglar-lot.html#ixzz1WAJvzqf5

    What's your take on this? My first impression is that IF that's the way Colorado law is, then maybe the owners went overboard. Whether they deserve a 300k damage verdict is another matter.

    Wherever you live, you gotta know the law! It can only protect you if you stay within its limits. Otherwise you could be subject to civil or criminal judgment.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Wherever you live, you gotta know the law! It can only protect you if you stay within its limits. Otherwise you could be subject to civil or criminal judgment.

    Well yea. Very few states allow deadly force for protection of property.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • bmlbml Senior Member Posts: 1,075 Senior Member
    Buford wrote: »
    Well yea. Very few states allow deadly force for protection of property.

    Such a shame, isn't it? This just proves that crime does pay.
    scottd wrote: »
    The milk of human kindness is often out dated and curdled.

    This is like watching a bunch or **** trying to hump a door knob.....
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    bml wrote: »
    Such a shame, isn't it? This just proves that crime does pay.

    No doubt the laws are set up to protect the criminal. I do like Texas law though.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    We need Tort Reform. The DA decided not to prosecute on any criminal charges so why does a Civil Suit allow monetary compensation? I wouldn't have done it the same way they did, especially in that state. I do feel sorry for the little girl for having such a scumbag of a father, but I have issues with awarding money to the families of anyone shot dead in the act of committing a felony.

    I'll be glad to get back to FLA when I retire again, but TX will do fer now:guns:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • rapier5316rapier5316 Member Posts: 312 Member
    This case prompted a bill in the state legislature to extend the Castle doctrine to businesses. The state went blue in the last election with one of the most embarrassing implosions in Republican politics on record. Elections carry consequences, the measure never made it out of committee.
    "The power of the United States has peaked, oppression follows." Robert Prector, Socionomics.net
  • ChuckXXChuckXX Banned Posts: 103 Member
    Does anyone know if Nebraska is a "Castle Doctrine" state?????
  • ken55ken55 Senior Member Posts: 782 Senior Member
    I live in Colorado Springs, where this happened, and the story is pretty controversial around here. The "Castle Doctrine" law is pretty clear that deadly force is only justified in defense of life, not property. We also have a "need not retreat" law that says if you are confronted by a BG who presents a threat to your life, you don't have to run or back away - you can defend yourself where you stand. The central issue in this case seemed to be that the owners were laying in wait for the BGs and had an ambush set up. They were not themselves threatened by the BGs. That made it look like vigilantism instead of simply defending thier business. Nobody around here likes the monetary award to the family, though.
  • cappy54cappy54 Member Posts: 269 Member
    Although here in Florida we enjoy the castle doctrine which follows you to where ever you legaly are allowed to be, it DOES NOT cover property, deadly force here is only against great bodily harm or even death, with case law already on the books. Property protection is the most misunderstood statement when it comes to the use of deadly force. Just my 2cnts. :uhm:
  • ghostsniper1ghostsniper1 Banned Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Its nice that here in Ohio, you can defend your castle. Two or ten to the chest and if the family sues....... file bankruptcy as a good middle finger to them to top it off.
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,916 Senior Member
    Its nice that here in Ohio, you can defend your castle. Two or ten to the chest and if the family sues....... file bankruptcy as a good middle finger to them to top it off.

    Uhhh Ghost...you need to keep up with your states self defense laws...

    "Ohio's new "Castle Doctrine" law also immunizes crime victims from tort liability for the injuries suffered by an attacker, if the injury occurred during an act of self-defense. Ohio's former law allowed the attacker, or his family, to bring a civil action against the victim if the attacker was hurt or killed by the victim."

    Read the whole thing here...
    http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2008/09/ohios-new-self-defense-law.html
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,805 Senior Member
    followed this case. like ken55 said, these guys were not "one of us" they were just trying to look that way.

    there was another case not long ago where a kid was shot LEAVING the crime, and he was shot dead in the back. guy got off on criminal charges, but the family came after him and won I believe. granted, their kid was a lowlife, and pulled the gun first, but he WAS leaving when presented with equal deadly force and was fleeing when he was killed. tough one, and his accomplices WERE caught and prosecuted and sentenced, he likely would have been too.

    just as the anti's really need to know the full facts behind the case when they rally around it, so do we. don't want to end up looking as bad them by jumping on the wrong bandwagons. food for thought
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • Zapp BraniganZapp Branigan Member Posts: 108 Member
    Two things:
    1. They weren't "convicted of homicide", if they were they'd be going to prison. This was a civil trial they were being sued for a wrongful death.
    2. They saw two unarmed people that presented no immediate threat entering their lot and immediately opened fire on them. You can't do that. Ever. They are very lucky they weren't charged with murder.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,712 Senior Member
    I guess it is important to know the laws where you are.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Very true, perhaps they felt Croatian law should apply to them here in the U.S.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,805 Senior Member
    protecting his property is one thing, setting up an ambush, chasing someone into a shed then opening fire on the shed, yapping your mouth all over town that you'll kill anyone that steps foot in your property, hiding evidence from the cops.........that ain't protecting your property, thats getting away with, well, a murder.
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Well it seems they did indeed get away with something, as I have observed before, firing on unarmed people is not a really good idea.

    Edited to add, it cost them $300,000 to find that out that if you have a car lot, insurance and private security is not a bad idea.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • Zapp BraniganZapp Branigan Member Posts: 108 Member
    protecting his property is one thing, setting up an ambush, chasing someone into a shed then opening fire on the shed, yapping your mouth all over town that you'll kill anyone that steps foot in your property, hiding evidence from the cops.........that ain't protecting your property, thats getting away with, well, a murder.

    That's exactly what they did, they got away with murder. For now.
    I have a hunch the DA might be taking a second look at this case.
  • wolf049wolf049 Member Posts: 217 Member
    They did what the police SHOULD OF DONE.

    From the Gazette;
    The three men were accused of keeping an armed vigil over the auto lot and firing on the first burglars they saw. The men were angry over a series of thefts that began when someone broke in a week earlier and stole keys to customers’ automobiles as well as keys to buildings on the property

    They where protecting thier livelyhood. I wouldn't take my car to be worked on, to a place that has a recent history of cars being broken into and neither would anyone else. End of business, another family/families sucking our welfare system dry.

    Having said that........I don't agree with the way they (owners) handle the situation.
    "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
    - Richard Henry Lee
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Hold the guys at gunpoint while somebody works them over with a baseball bat. Pay particular attention to elbows and knees. Then let them crawl away and warn their buddies not to come back! Repeat as necessary. It sounds like the cops couldn't or wouldn't do their jobs, so it was time for a little street justice. They just went about it wrong.
    Jerry
  • wolf049wolf049 Member Posts: 217 Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Hold the guys at gunpoint while somebody works them over with a baseball bat. Pay particular attention to elbows and knees. Then let them crawl away and warn their buddies not to come back! Repeat as necessary. It sounds like the cops couldn't or wouldn't do their jobs, so it was time for a little street justice. They just went about it wrong.Jerry

    That's what I'm saying Jerry.
    "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
    - Richard Henry Lee
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    I agree, they went about it wrong...... S.S.S.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • beartrackerbeartracker Senior Member Posts: 3,116 Senior Member
    I like Mississippi
    Senate Bill 2426
    (As Passed the Senate)

    AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-3-15, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DEFINE "DWELLING," TO CREATE A PRESUMPTION OF THE RIGHT TO USE DEFENSIVE FORCE, TO SPECIFY WHEN NO DUTY TO RETREAT EXISTS, TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AS THEY RELATE TO JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE, AND TO PROVIDE INDEMNIFICATION FOR CERTAIN LEGAL EXPENSES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

    c) As used in subsections (1)(e) and (3) of this section, "dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind that has a roof over it, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, including a tent, that is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night, including any attached porch;

    (3) A person who uses defensive force shall be presumed to have reasonably feared imminent death or great bodily harm, or the commission of a felony upon him or another or upon his dwelling, a vehicle which he was occupying or the building of a business during hours when the business is closed to the public, if the person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, occupied vehicle or the building of a business during hours when the business is closed to the public, or if that person had unlawfully removed or was attempting to unlawfully remove another against the other person's will from that dwelling, occupied vehicle or the building of a business during hours when the business is closed to the public, and the person who used defensive force knew or had reason to believe that the forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred. This presumption shall not apply if the person against whom defensive force was used has a right to be in or is a lawful resident or owner of the dwelling or vehicle, or is the lawful employee or owner of the business or the building of the business, or if the person who uses defensive force is engaged in unlawful activity;

    (4) A person who is not the initial aggressor and is not engaged in unlawful activity shall have no duty to retreat before using deadly force under subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section if the person is in a place where the person has a right to be, and no finder of fact shall be permitted to consider the person's failure to retreat as evidence that the person's use of force was unnecessary, excessive or unreasonable.

    (5) (a) A person using deadly force in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1)(e) or (f) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force and shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of force. The presumptions contained in subsection (1)(e) and (f) of this section shall apply in civil cases in which self-defense or defense of another is claimed as a defense.

    (b) The court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in this subsection (5).
  • ghostsniper1ghostsniper1 Banned Posts: 2,645 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Uhhh Ghost...you need to keep up with your states self defense laws...

    "Ohio's new "Castle Doctrine" law also immunizes crime victims from tort liability for the injuries suffered by an attacker, if the injury occurred during an act of self-defense. Ohio's former law allowed the attacker, or his family, to bring a civil action against the victim if the attacker was hurt or killed by the victim."

    Read the whole thing here...
    http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2008/09/ohios-new-self-defense-law.html
    Ohhhh. Well thats interesting. I didnt know that part of it. Nice to know they are taking at least some rights away from criminals and their "offended" family members.
  • HondoHondo Member Posts: 320 Member
    The right thing to do is hold them there for the police. They could have done that. If the guys then attempted to use the knives, then defend yourself as needed. The guy killed was the one not thinking of his family. It is sad for the kid, but maybe they will grow up in better surroundings by people who will truly care for them. JMHO
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