Monday, October 25, 2010

Jersey logic

"Castle doctrine" laws are a Very Good Idea that protects citizens who defend themselves from being second-guessed by civil and criminal courts after the fact. Since a peaceful person thrown into a dangerous situation doesn't have the time and leisure to reflect on levels of risk and legal complexities that the court enjoys, it's despicable for laws to make said peaceful person risk a life-ruining felony conviction when a criminal sustains the injuries that are and should be an inherent risk of his chosen profession.

Not everybody agrees. New Jersey Democratic State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney comments on the possibility of a castle doctrine law in the Garden State:

"All residents must be able to protect themselves in their own home when they feel their life is in imminent danger, as our laws currently do," Sweeney said in an e-mailed statement.

"However, there is a difference between legitimate self-defense and shooting someone on the way out the door with your cell phone."

"Don't you understand?! We _have_ to put innocent people at terrible legal risk for defending themselves! A thief could get _killed_!"


  1. NJ law already permits use of deadly force in the home without a duty to retreat. It's a little more complicated than I first thought, but there's no duty to retreat in the home.

    That having been said, that was a TERRIBLE example of why we shouldn't be using deadly force in the home.

  2. That's kind of my point: self defense law shouldn't be complicated, and a person shouldn't have to juggle it while threatened and needing to make a snap decision. If a criminal invades your space, any harm that comes to him is a consequence of his own stupid decision, and the law should treat it that way. He's no different from the idiot who ends himself trying to improvise a bungee cord out of a garden hose. Looking for ways to prosecute victims in order to decrease the risk to future thieves is appalling social policy.