"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Home Defense Law Has Its Limits, Says Local Prosecutor

July 12th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments


By Chris Houston

LINN COUNTY – While there was no shortage of certainty and self-assurance when Governor Matt Blunt recently signed Missouri’s Castle Doctrine into law, there is still ample room for doubt when it comes to the legal limits of self-defense.

In a definitive statement about the Castle Doctrine (Senate Bill 62), the Missouri Governor asserts, “It ensures law-abiding Missourians will not be punished when they use force to defend themselves and their family from attacks in their own home or vehicle.”

But even a law that provides an “absolute defense” in court for citizens who forcibly stop those who would storm their “castles” doesn’t exonerate absolutely.

As it was initially written, Missouri’s Castle Doctrine would have given “absolute immunity” from prosecution to anyone using deadly force to stop an invasion into their home or vehicle. However, after prosecutors expressed their horror at the implications of giving such immunity, SB 62 sponsor Senator Jack Goodman withdrew complete freedom from prosecution and replaced it with an “absolute defense,” a measure that would nullify criminal liability if the original victim of the invasion could prove self-defense in court.

Linn County Prosecutor Tracy Carlson has also breathed a sigh of relief and is now taking the opportunity to inform local citizens how far the law will let them go when defending themselves, their family, and property. Read more…

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