VA House passes Castle Docrine bill - Page 2

VA House passes Castle Docrine bill

This is a discussion on VA House passes Castle Docrine bill within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have also heard that it may be replacing the common law " stand your ground " provision, which, if so would not be good. ...

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  1. #16
    Senior Member Array boatail's Avatar
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    I have also heard that it may be replacing the common law " stand your ground " provision, which, if so would not be good. Before, you could be on the street or in your driveway and have the right to defend yourself and now it has to be a forced entry scenario to exercise that right. This is what I've heard am an NOT saying it is fact, but would like to know if it is replacing earlier provisions or not. I hope that the stated concern was unfounded.
    On the good side, it looks like Va. is acting on strengthening gun owner rights with the latest bills.
    Light travels faster than sound...thats why some people appear bright before they speak


  2. #17
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    good start, does it need to pass senate the the Gov must sign? Hope it goes thru for you.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Storm View Post
    One thing about the Castle Doctrine that I find would be of benefit to everyone is the homeowner being immune from civil lawsuits as a result of defending himself/herself. That is the other nightmare a homeowner has to face even if he/she won the criminal case.
    that is a big win for home owners. not so good for the weasels ( ambulance chasing lawyers)

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boatail View Post
    I have also heard that it may be replacing the common law " stand your ground " provision, which, if so would not be good. Before, you could be on the street or in your driveway and have the right to defend yourself and now it has to be a forced entry scenario to exercise that right. This is what I've heard am an NOT saying it is fact, but would like to know if it is replacing earlier provisions or not. I.

    I hope you are right.

    Another consideration:

    Even if these bills don't replacing the common law " stand your ground " outside the home (namely anywhere else that you are) they will open the door for the anti-RKBA Commonwealth Attorneys in places like NOVA, Tidewater, etc to develop new case law in the home.

    IMHO, these bills will be giving the Commonwealth Attorneys (who would be deciding whether to prosecute or not) far more flexibility and opportunity to shape case law.

    The Stand-your-ground common-law / case law that evolved over a couple hundred years has been fairly stable for quite a while. I know of no cases over the last number of years where there have been trials of clean self-defense cases here in Virginia.

    There is an old saying that "bad cases make bad law" -- as in precedent.

    Those Commonwealth Attorneys who decide not to prosecute won't be setting any precedent.

    Only those who prosecute create precedent -- one way or the other.

    Hence, I don't see where we gain anything -- but I can see us losing ground.

    Only time will tell.
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBuckwheat View Post
    that is a big win for home owners. not so good for the weasels ( ambulance chasing lawyers)
    Do you know of any cases here in Virginia where legitimate self-defense cases went to civil court for damages?

    I sure haven't seen folk in righteous self-deference cases being sued for such a thing.

    Why? Because Attorneys-at-law generally do that sort of case on a contingency basis. Under our stand-your-ground common-law they are most likely will lose the case -- therefore losing their investment. So there is no monetary incentive for "ambulance chasing" legitimate self-defense cases.

    These bills could change that.
    Last edited by DaveH; February 10th, 2012 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Trpo / proofo
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  6. #21
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    As crossover-day is upon us, changes to these bills will be harder to get passed. but there is still hope.

    A woman I know sent me the following:

    **
    ... suppose the plumber who you invited into your house turns out to be a rapist? He did not enter illegally, but then decided after entry to commit a violent crime.

    I can also see this making self defense in a date-rape situation even more difficult than it already is as well.

    Changing the "and" to "or" would correct that, as would removing the term "unlawfully entered."

    **

    I think she is right on.
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    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  7. #22
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    [Re-posted from a VA-ALERT with prior approval of VCDL]

    [First person singular pronouns (I, my, mine, etc) and “PVC” reference Philip Van Cleave, President VCDL]

    **
    We have two urgent action items on gun bills being heard TODAY, Wednesday, February 15th, in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee in the afternoon.

    The first item is to OPPOSE the two House Castle Doctrine bills, HB 14 and HB 48. It is VCDL's opinion that these bills could cause more harm than good by inadvertently destroying some of Virginia's excellent common law protections. For that reason VCDL is shifting from NEUTRAL to STRONGLY OPPOSE, as we must stop these bills from moving forward NOW.

    This is NOT something that VCDL is doing lightly. We have had internal debates ad nauseum between our lawyers over these bills. But after the dust settled we have decided that we cannot risk letting the current Castle Doctrine bills pass into law.

    VCDL proposes instead to vet a more comprehensive bill over the summer for introduction next year. Way too much is at stake to goof up the excellent protections we already enjoy as Virginia citizens. In the end we might also determine from the vetting that it is best to leave Virginia's common law alone.

    To send a message to your Senator to oppose HB 14 and HB 48, click here (WE MUST ACT **NOW**):

    VCDL's "Write Your Legislators" Tool

    **

    VA-ALERT is a project of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc. (VCDL).

    VCDL is an all-volunteer, non-partisan grassroots organization dedicated to defending the human rights of all Virginians. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a fundamental human right.

    VCDL web page: http://www.vcdl.org [http://www.vcdl.org/]
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  8. #23
    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    After fighting tooth and nail for a Castle Doctine bill, and after the House passed it, VCDL now does not support it. Has anybody ever explained to "PVC" that stopping a train in full motion can be quite hard to do?
    "People who take an Internet handle of a great warrior, are usually the first to go fetal when crunch time comes." - Me

  9. #24
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    Chad,

    VCDL has not fought for any of the "Castle Doctrine" bills currently under consideration.

    Does VCDL want a good statutory "Castle Doctrine"? Yes!

    Have we fought for a good bill in the past sessions? Yes!

    However, this entire session we have been "neutral" on these particular bills.

    In our attorneys-at-law opinion, they were flawed and a retreat from the stand-your-ground doctrine we now have under common law and case law. We hoped to get them amended, so we could support them. Didn't happen.

    The "and" in the "unlawfully entered the dwelling and committed an overt act" raises a serious concern.

    The courts tend to treat the "and" v. "or" in statutes very literally -- including the need for two separate acts. Breaking in is not enough, in the opinion of some attorneys-at-law.

    Then there is the vagueness of new new requirement of an additional "overt act."

    If they legally enter and then committed an overt act (what ever that is), in the opinion of some attorneys-at-law, these bills would not apply -- whereas under existing stand-your-ground doctrine, which we now have under common law and case law, we are covered. Think the date-rape situation. Think that you invite someone (tradesman, salesman, even an associate, neighbor, or friend) into your house and then they commit an overt act (what ever that is). He / she did not enter illegally, and after entry commit a violent crime.

    BTW -- I think you are right as to train in full motion.
    Last edited by DaveH; February 15th, 2012 at 11:48 AM. Reason: clarify & typos/ spellos/ proofos
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  10. #25
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    Thumbs up House bill no. 48 amendment in the nature of a substitute

    As my signature says, "I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL."

    However, I, personally, am very happy to see the Senate has added, "This section shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law."

    See: Bill Tracking - 2012 session > Legislation

    A BILL to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 8.01-223.3, relating to self-defense and defense of others.
    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 8.01-223.3 as follows:

    8.01-223.3. Use of physical force, including deadly force, against an intruder; justified self-defense.

    Any person who lawfully occupies a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when (i) the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and has committed an overt act toward the occupant or another person in the dwelling and (ii) the occupant reasonably believes he or another person in the dwelling is in imminent danger of bodily injury.

    Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force as provided in this section, shall be immune from civil liability for injuries or death of the other person who has unlawfully entered the dwelling that results from the use of such force.

    This section shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law.

    That is a major improvement, IMHO.

    As I posted back on Virginia Legislation -- More Fire Missions for Virginia members. , " Courts do tend to look at new statutory law as "fixing" a problem in Common-law or case-law, redefining Common-law and case-law, etc." This substitute bill closes that barn door before the horses escape, IMHO.

    Maybe the emails and phone calls helped.
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    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveH View Post
    Have we fought for a good bill in the past sessions? Yes!
    If so, why did VCDL not submit their Castle Doctrine bill again this year?

    My perception is that VCDL has never been keen on getting a Castle Doctrine bill passed even though lots of VCDL members apparently want one.

  12. #27
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    chaso00,

    As my signature says, "I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL."

    However, the first thing that sub-committees do when there are a number of bill on the same subject is roll the ones for their house together. I believe that with a number of Castle Bills already per-filed (two different ones in each house, I believe) that was an issue. So finding someone to introduce a third bill in either house would not have changed things. It would have been rolled into the other two.

    The typical strategy is to amend what is in the hopper -- sometimes in "the nature of a substitute", as HB48 now stands. [see: Bill Tracking - 2012 session > Legislation ] FWIIW, in some cases, bills get so amended that the original patron(s) ask that they be withdrawn. I've seen "Not"s and "No"s added or key words deleted so as to reverse the bills original intent.

    As to VCDL's position see the comments from the leadership, which I reposed @ Virginia Legislation -- More Fire Missions for Virginia members.

    There is no question, IMHO, that one of VCDL's major concerns was that whatever is passed not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any self-defense immunity already existing in statutory or common law.
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    I'm just one root in a grassroots organization. No one should assume that I speak for the VCDL.

    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

  13. #28
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    The legislation, as initially introduced, is not good for us and needs to be defeated before it becomes law...

    Even though I live by the "Perfect is the enemy of good" theory...this law is not even close to good enough...
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bklynboy View Post
    This bill is nothing to celebrate. It arguably increases the burden over the existing common law burden when claiming a castle doctrine defense, e.g., the new law requires an 'overt act' by the intruder. This is the reason the VDCL did not support the bill. Perhaps most concerning about the new law is that it essentially trades a common law requirement supported by Va case law to show a reasonably held belief that one is about to be seriously injured or killed for a new requirement that you prove the intruder committed an 'overt act' to justify use of deadly force. The former standard is an easier standard to meet, especially in front of a Va jury than is the new standard.

    Now we will need to pass a range of amendments to insure that we do no lose our broader common law rights.
    Our CD has a presumption that bodily harm is the intent of any one breaking into your home, work or vehicle regardless of any thing the BG does unless he immediately flees. He could be sitting in your den watching tv and eating popcorn and the presumption is still there.
    DaveH likes this.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by pir8fan View Post
    Our CD has a presumption that bodily harm is the intent of any one breaking into your home, work or vehicle regardless of any thing the BG does unless he immediately flees. He could be sitting in your den watching tv and eating popcorn and the presumption is still there.
    IMHO, that is the way it should be.

    As I pointed out in an earlier comment of this thread, IMHO, this bill would not have changed the situation that Del. Anne B. Crockett-Stark used the example the need for a bill. And therein lies some of the confusion, IMHO.

    According to Crockett-Stark, the homeowner caught the male burglar crawling into a window he had broken. Note no additional "overt act toward the occupant."

    Crockett-Stark, the reports that "As the intruder fled, the woman shot a round into the air to scare him." There is no report of the homeowner "reasonably" believing that she or another person in the dwelling was "in imminent danger of bodily injury", when the shot was fired.

    IMHO under this bill she could still be "taken to court by the man for shooting at him" after any danger was over.

    Even under the CD Law that pir8fan cites the right to "protect yourself" ends when the perp flees.
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    I am neither an attorney-at-law nor I do play one on television or on the internet. No one should assumes my opinion is legal advice.

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro

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