Shooting In MO. Challenges Castle Doctrine

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Thread: Shooting In MO. Challenges Castle Doctrine

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    Exclamation Shooting In MO. Challenges Castle Doctrine

    Coroners Inquest rules shooting incident a crime when a woman in Kirksville, Mo. shoots ex-boyfriend who "broke into her house," crawling through a window in violation of a "restraining order" that was also in place.

    If ever there was a case that supports "castle doctrine" this case does. A man, who had a restraining order in place breaks and enters through a window and approaches homeowner with hands grasped "in a shooting position!"

    That scenario... I say, "Game On!"

    Shooting near Kirksville becomes a test of Missouri’s new ‘castle doctrine’ law

    Shooting near Kirksville becomes a test of Missouri’s new ‘castle doctrine’ law
    By KEVIN MURPHY
    The Kansas City Star

    When Rogelio Johnson allegedly climbed through a window and confronted Jackie Gleason in her home near Kirksville, Mo., in May, she shot him dead.

    A crime?

    Yes, concluded an Adair County coroner’s jury last month.

    Not so fast, said county Prosecutor Mark Williams, who says the shooting may be justified under a new Missouri law known as the “castle doctrine” that allows a person to use lethal force against intruders.

    Although the coroner’s jury said Gleason committed “death by felony,” Williams was not convinced the jury completely understood the doctrine. Besides, he said, he found juror misconduct because one juror said Gleason was guilty before hearing testimony.

    Williams asked that the Missouri attorney general’s office determine if charges are warranted. The attorney general’s office has not yet appointed anyone to the case, but should start reviewing it in the next few weeks, a spokesman said Wednesday.

    The case is seen as an early test of the Missouri castle doctrine, signed into a law a year ago at the urging of gun rights advocates. Kansas has a similar law.

    The inquest before the six-member coroner’s jury lasted two days. In most Missouri counties, coroners are required to investigate deaths that appear to be the result of foul play. When the circumstances of a death are particularly complicated or unclear, a coroner may call a jury to examine the facts of the case.

    In a taped interview with a Missouri Highway Patrol officer that was played during the inquest, Gleason said Johnson approached her with his hands clasped in front of him as if in a firing position, although no weapon was found.

    Johnson was Gleason’s estranged boyfriend and was under court order to stay away from her house. The front door was locked when he came in through the window, she said.

    The castle doctrine says someone is justified to use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend” against the “use or imminent use of unlawful force” by another person.

    The law also says the person does not have the duty to retreat from a dwelling or vehicle if the intruder enters unlawfully.

    Michael Flynn, a St. Louis lawyer hired by the coroner to act as independent counsel at the inquest proceeding, said the jury was apprised of the law and its relevance in the Gleason case.

    “If you assume a certain set of facts, one would logically conclude the castle doctrine should apply,” Flynn said. But he said circumstances vary in every case.

    “Obviously if they returned that verdict, it would appear to reasonable minds that they must not have agreed that facts justified the use of deadly force,” Flynn said.

    Gleason’s attorney, Tim Reuschel, said his client was within her rights under Missouri law to shoot Johnson and should not be charged. Gleason is the Adair County jail administrator.

    Adair County Sheriff Leonard Clark deferred to the patrol for the investigation because of a potential conflict of interest. He does not agree with the jury’s finding.

    “Based on the information I have at this time, I do not believe there was any criminal wrongdoing,” Clark said.

    Kevin Jamison, a Gladstone lawyer and gun rights advocate who is an authority on Missouri weapons laws, said Gleason likely would have avoided prosecution even under the law on the books before 2007.

    Jamison said the previous law allowed lethal force if the intruder attacked the other person. But the new law says just entering someone’s dwelling illegally is grounds for lethal force, he said.

    Jamison believes Gleason’s allegation that Johnson came at her would justify her shooting him, even under the law prior to 2007.

    Cases of self-defense, especially when there are no witnesses, pose prosecution challenges, said Stephen Easton, a law professor at the University of Missouri and a former prosecutor.

    “Self-defense cases classically have the possibility for factual disputes over what actually did happen,” Easton said, though not commenting on the Gleason case.

    Williams said it could be hard to prove the shooting did not happen the way Gleason said it did.

    “The dead guy can’t talk,” he said.

    A 13-member statewide panel, headed by Jackson County Judge Charles Atwell, has submitted proposed jury instructions to the state Supreme Court for cases where the castle doctrine may apply. Meanwhile, their tentative instructions are to be followed around the state.

    Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said the castle doctrine has not been a factor yet in his county but there are two cases pending where it could arise.

    What is the castle doctrine?
    Someone is justified in using deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend” against the “use or imminent use of unlawful force” by another person.

    The Star’s Joe Lambe and Jason Noble contributed to this report.
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    Keep us posted on the outcome.
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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    From the article above, it sure sounds like a clean shoot - I wonder if we're missing some info though.

    If it really is as clean-cut as that article makes it sound, I hope she's found innocent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Zaria View Post
    From the article above, it sure sounds like a clean shoot - I wonder if we're missing some info though.

    If it really is as clean-cut as that article makes it sound, I hope she's found innocent.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    What we are probably missing is the political party of the coroner.

    The coroner is probably a left wing anti-gunner!

    In Missouri, county coroners are elected officials who run a campaign through their chosen political party.

    They are not the same thing as a "medical examiner" who must be a physician as a minimum, and I believe also a board certified forensic pathologist.

    Medical examiners are usually appointed officials but a Coroner can be anyone who successfully wins an election.

    Often times they are a local doctor, or a LEO or former LEO or even a paramedic or EMT, but there is NO LEO or Medical background as a requirement to run for a coroner position.
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    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Zaria View Post
    From the article above, it sure sounds like a clean shoot - I wonder if we're missing some info though.
    If it really is as clean-cut as that article makes it sound, I hope she's found innocent.
    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    Agreed. If there's more to this story it'll come out at the trial, if there is one.

    But by the account in the article, it was a clean shoot. She even took the step to have a restraining order put on him and it didn't work.

    How many restraining orders "didn't work" before the castle doctrine was put in place to give someone a 'fighting chance'?
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

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    The inquest before the six-member coroner’s jury lasted two days. In most Missouri counties, coroners are required to investigate deaths that appear to be the result of foul play. When the circumstances of a death are particularly complicated or unclear, a coroner may call a jury to examine the facts of the case.
    Doesn't sound like the coroner has an agenda. He could have ruled on his own, but chose to call for a panel to hear the evidence.

    Not so fast, said county Prosecutor Mark Williams, who says the shooting may be justified under a new Missouri law known as the “castle doctrine” that allows a person to use lethal force against intruders.

    Although the coroner’s jury said Gleason committed “death by felony,” Williams was not convinced the jury completely understood the doctrine. Besides, he said, he found juror misconduct because one juror said Gleason was guilty before hearing testimony.

    Williams asked that the Missouri attorney general’s office determine if charges are warranted. The attorney general’s office has not yet appointed anyone to the case, but should start reviewing it in the next few weeks, a spokesman said Wednesday.
    Sounds like the prosecuter has his head on right. Especially if a juror did have their mind made up before hand. Glad he requested the state AG Office to review it.

    Just because the coroners jury said the shooting was bad, is the prosecuter required by law to file charges?
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    It' should not be up to a coroner to do anything but determine the cause of death. Either homicide or natural death, if natural case closed, if homicide then the DA's office should decide based on its' own investigation or that of the police. Why are people whom more often than not only EMT's deciding if it is justified or not. I can see if during an autopsy a forensic pathologist finds something that does not fit witness testimony. For example someone says the intruder was 20 feet away from them when they fired a shot but the gunshot residue says they were point blank range. JMHO
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    Who picks "the coroner's jury"? Sounds like to me he has an agenda, while reading article thought BG was related. Good point to remember while pulling trigger, "Dead guy can't talk".

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    If the facts are correct, it sounds like a good case of self-defense.

    Violating a restraining order by breaking into her house... I'd like to see a prosecutor try to defend those actions.

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    Since there's evidence of jury misconduct, the decision should be thrown out, a new jury convened and the inquest repeated.
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    Wait a minute. If a guy breaks into your house through a window, and you have a restraining order against him, who cares if he has a weapon. He was there to do bodily harm. End of story. If I'm on the jury, she walks, and maybe gets a medal.
    (It works for the cops.)

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