You're sitting at home watching TV with the family...

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Thread: You're sitting at home watching TV with the family...

  1. #1
    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    You're sitting at home watching TV with the family...

    You're sitting at home watching TV with the family. You hear your dogs start to bark outside. You get up to check on things and you notice someone outside your home. You grab your gun. The "crooks" kick in your door and in a frenzy you unload into several of them. Turns out, they're bounty hunters at the wrong address.

    I know this isn't the typical scenario as it's all played out but what could be the repercussions? Does it vary by state? What if you KNEW it was bounty hunters and they were coming to get one of your family members, God forbid, do you still have a right to use deadly force?
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    Someone kicks in my door and there are no flashing lights out on the lawn...there are about to be lots of loud flashes accompanied by loud booms...lots of em'.

    We'll sort things out later...whatever happen after that...well, we'll see.
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    Senior Member Array PointnClick's Avatar
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    Yep... that's how we do it in Florida...

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    The Supreme Court ruled in Beard v. U.S. (1895) that a man who was "where he had the right to be" when he came under attack and "...did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm...was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground." [Beard v. United States, 158 U.S. 550 (1895) - as reported in Wikipedia].
    North Carolina does not mandate a duty to retreat if in your home.
    "Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.
    (a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder's unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence, or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.

    (b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder in the circumstances described in this section. ["North Carolina General Statutes §14-51.1"]

    As far as civil liability, as the Bounty Hunters are not intending to commit a felony, this is a proverbial "can of worms": are the Bounty Hunters using or intending to use deadly force? Are there opportunities for the Bounty Hunters to cooperate with the homeowner? Again from Wikipedia: "someone who uses deadly force in self-defense is still liable for any damages or injuries to third parties who were not acting criminally at the time of the defensive action."

    We are subject to such laws even in our beds as the law never sleeps.
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    Member Array cdjspider's Avatar
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    If someone decides to kick in my door I'm grabbing my gun and opening fire. I dont know who they are and in my opinion, if someone kicks in your door they are probably not there to do you any good.

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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sspargo View Post
    You're sitting at home watching TV with the family. You hear your dogs start to bark outside. You get up to check on things and you notice someone outside your home. You grab your gun. The "crooks" kick in your door and in a frenzy you unload into several of them. Turns out, they're bounty hunters at the wrong address.

    That's a BIG OOPS!
    If you are not a criminal, and have no reasonable xplaination for why someone would attempt to kick in your door I would think that a "reasonable person" would conclude that this was a home intrusion and respond appropriately.


    I know this isn't the typical scenario as it's all played out but what could be the repercussions? Does it vary by state?

    Yes.
    In short, the law is what the local prosecutor says it is.


    What if you KNEW it was bounty hunters and they were coming to get one of your family members, God forbid, do you still have a right to use deadly force?

    If you "knew" they were Bounty Hunters I fail to see how you could make a reasonable argument that you were in fear of your life. It goes back to knowing what you knew and when you knew it.
    I put my answers in bold, as it's a multi-part question and wanted to stay focused on the part I was responding to and avoid confusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Someone kicks in my door and there are no flashing lights out on the lawn...there are about to be lots of loud flashes accompanied by loud booms...lots of em'.

    We'll sort things out later...whatever happen after that...well, we'll see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pistology View Post
    The Supreme Court ruled in Beard v. U.S. (1895) that a man who was "where he had the right to be" when he came under attack and "...did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm...was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground." [Beard v. United States, 158 U.S. 550 (1895) - as reported in Wikipedia].
    North Carolina does not mandate a duty to retreat if in your home.
    "Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.
    (a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder's unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence, or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.

    (b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder in the circumstances described in this section. ["North Carolina General Statutes §14-51.1"]

    As far as civil liability, as the Bounty Hunters are not intending to commit a felony, this is a proverbial "can of worms": are the Bounty Hunters using or intending to use deadly force? Are there opportunities for the Bounty Hunters to cooperate with the homeowner? Again from Wikipedia: "someone who uses deadly force in self-defense is still liable for any damages or injuries to third parties who were not acting criminally at the time of the defensive action."

    We are subject to such laws even in our beds as the law never sleeps.
    Great answer with some accurate research. Your commentary is very compelling yet again accurate in my opinion. I would like to add that in any case such as this, the defendant will need an attorney.

    I would have nothing more to add to what you have written.
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    VIP Member Array JAT40's Avatar
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    The bounty hunters would have made a very grave intell mistake, kicking in my door. Hello to Mr. Shottie.

    I would not be hanging out with any one, family or not who is a fugitive. Knowing that they are bounty hunters would not apply.
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    As Retsupt99 said, no flashing lights, and no announcement of "Police" etc. it's going to be bad for them. I have no reason to believe that someone who enters my house without my permission, "in a violent, tumultuous, surreptitious or stealthy way" is there to do me any good.

    It's better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6
    Last edited by sigmanluke; May 31st, 2009 at 01:26 PM. Reason: spelling
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    Check your state laws. In MI (and others), I have to reasonably believe that someone (myself included) is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. Further, in MI we no longer have a duty to exhaust all possible means of escape. Even furthur than that, in MI if someone forcible enters my home, there is a "rebuttable presumption of intent to do great bodily harm." The law is very much on MY side in this case.

    It'd be very unfortunate, but the bounty hunter has very, very strong obligation to be correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sspargo View Post
    You're sitting at home watching TV with the family. You hear your dogs start to bark outside. You get up to check on things and you notice someone outside your home. You grab your gun. The "crooks" kick in your door and in a frenzy you unload into several of them. Turns out, they're bounty hunters at the wrong address.

    I know this isn't the typical scenario as it's all played out but what could be the repercussions? Does it vary by state? What if you KNEW it was bounty hunters and they were coming to get one of your family members, God forbid, do you still have a right to use deadly force?
    Since you asked 2 different questions I'll give my 2 answers separately.

    You're sitting at home watching TV with the family. You hear your dogs start to bark outside. You get up to check on things and you notice someone outside your home. You grab your gun. The "crooks" kick in your door and in a frenzy you unload into several of them. Turns out, they're bounty hunters at the wrong address.
    In this scenario you are justified to use deadly force to defend yourself and your family in most states. The fact that the individual was a bounty hunter has no bearing on it. In fact it could have been a LEO and as long as he did not identify himself as such, legally your shoot was a good shoot.

    What if you KNEW it was bounty hunters and they were coming to get one of your family members, God forbid, do you still have a right to use deadly force?
    In this scenario I would say you are now in very deep trouble. First off, he is no longer at the wrong house. You are harboring a fugitive, and he is their to apprehend them. You are aiding a fugitive from justice, and you used deadly force in doing so. If the bounty hunter dies, you will probably be facing murder charges. If your harboring a fugitive, don't be surprised if your door gets kicked in. It comes with the territory.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    I somehow missed the part where we "knew" it was bounty hunters and they were after a family member. Archer is, of course, absolutely correct. Even with MI laws as I brought up, there is no reason to believe the bount yhunters intend to do anybody great bodily harm. Michigans' castle doctrine also does not apply to those in the comission of a crime (forget the exact wording on that). Also, WHY IN THE HECK WOULD YOU WANT TO SHOOT SOMEONE LAWFULLY APPREHENDING A FUGITIVE? That reminds me of the people who get themselves arrested for trying to stop a cop from arresting a family member or buddy....not a bright idea at all.
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    Member Array BillR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cupcake View Post
    I somehow missed the part where we "knew" it was bounty hunters and they were after a family member. Archer is, of course, absolutely correct. Even with MI laws as I brought up, there is no reason to believe the bount yhunters intend to do anybody great bodily harm. Michigans' castle doctrine also does not apply to those in the comission of a crime (forget the exact wording on that). Also, WHY IN THE HECK WOULD YOU WANT TO SHOOT SOMEONE LAWFULLY APPREHENDING A FUGITIVE? That reminds me of the people who get themselves arrested for trying to stop a cop from arresting a family member or buddy....not a bright idea at all.
    However, is kicking in your door unannounced a "lawful apprehension"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigmanluke View Post
    As Retsupt99 said, no flashing lights, and no anouncement of "Police" etc. it's going to be bad for them. I have no reason to believe that someone who enters my house without my permission, "in a violent, tumultuous, surpetitious or stealthy way" is there to do me any good.

    It's better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6
    +1 I also agree with sigmanluke.

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