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DA’s Association on Castle Doctrine

Looks like the DA’s association has softened their opposition, but the reason is worrisome:

Now, Marsico says the DA’s Association is working with, and not against, Republican lawmakers, in an effort to change the bill’s language. New language the group helped craft would only eliminate the duty to retreat before firing if the other person is armed. “It also provides that the individual who wants to avail themselves of the expanded doctrine cannot be engaged in any criminal activity,” he said. “And prior versions of the legislation put the onus on the prosecution to prove there was no criminal activity. We’ve removed that with the current amendment.”  He outlined one more change: “The other thing in the current amendment does is that it provides that if someone’s going to claim the expanded stand your ground doctrine, and they use a firearm in defending themselves, then they have to be legally in possession of that firearm. So we’ve tightened the law a lot.”

I will do my best to look into this, but this could be cause for concern. I need to look at this year’s and last year’s bills side by side, but I’m pretty sure most of what they are speaking of here is already a feature of last year’s bill, IIRC.

4 Responses to “DA’s Association on Castle Doctrine”

  1. mike says:

    So, according to this, Castle Doctrine wouldn’t apply if the attacker is unarmed? So if a 70-year old woman is attacked by an unarmed 30-year old in her home, and she shoots him in self-defense, he can sue her? Something like this actually happened a while back, and the attacker suffered nerve damage to his arm – and sued. Successfully.

    It seems like the DA’s association is more concerned about the criminal than the victim.

    And what is “any criminal activity”? This is BS. Maybe the DA’s association should stick to trying to avoid putting criminals behind bars instead of trying to undermine the rights of victims.

  2. Lucky Forward says:

    How would the language proposed by the DA have helped Gerald Ung? He was cornered by multiple attackers, and was not able to prove that any one of them was armed with a gun. Also, he would still have suffered the burden of proof to show the Castle Doctrine applied to him, instead of the DA carrying the burden to prove otherwise.

    Based on what I’m seeing, no wonder the Doctrine flew through the legislature; if the DA’s language is in it, it has been neutered, and we need to decide if we want to press Corbett to press for a better version.

  3. mike says:

    If this is the bill that’s in the legislature now:
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=HTM&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0040&pn=1038

    Then it looks like it does have this language in it:
    (iii) the person against whom the force is used displays or otherwise uses:
    (A) a firearm or replica of a firearm as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9712 (relating to sentences for offenses committed with firearms); or
    (B) any other weapon readily or apparently capable of lethal use.

    So someone attacked by an angry mob of 15 unarmed attackers would NOT be protected from prosecution or civil liability.

    What a mess this is.

  4. Alpheus says:

    “Any other weapon readily or apparently capable of lethal use.”

    Under “disparity of force” rules, I’d *think* that fists and feet would fall under this–especially in situations where we have 3+ people!

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