August 21st, 2009 08:40 AM
The Burden of Proof
Situation: I am 66 years old and thus no match for a younger man in a physical confrontation. In Connecticut, the burden of proof rests on me to prove that my life is in danger should I use deadly force to defend myself. I must be able to prove that I am "afraid for my life." Clearly, this is a very ill-defined concept. One lawyer I spoke to said that the mushiness in the law is a good thing because it allows him to negotiate the particularities of the incident.
I don't think a baseball bat is considered a lethal weapon. Thus if somebody comes into my house with a baseball bat, it does not mean I can shoot him to protect myself. If somebody comes into my house who is stronger than I am, it does not mean I can use lethal force.
I feel that if someone comes into my house and threatens me or my wife or my possessions I should be able to defend myself with lethal force. Connecticut law does not guarantee me that right.
I am interested in other people's thinking on this issue. Clearly, I don't want to break the law; but at the same time, I want to feel safe in my own home in the age of the home invasion.
Thanks in advance for your feedback.
Last edited by JD; August 21st, 2009 at 04:00 PM.
Reason: Removed content.
August 21st, 2009 08:57 AM
I don't know the laws in your state but, ''disparity of force'' is a defense against someone larger, stronger or in better physical shape than you.
You should also check out your states ''castle doctrine'' or if they have one, as you sate someone breaking into your home in you scenario.
For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the son of man be. Mathew 24:27
August 21st, 2009 08:59 AM
Move to a state where they have Castle Laws.
Don't believe what you hear and only half of what you see!
August 21st, 2009 09:09 AM
hnmm. baseball bat not a lethal weapon.........
i would disagree........ i saw the aftermat of a man beaten to death by a ball bat..... and it WAS lethal.
Ruger LCP 380
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August 21st, 2009 09:23 AM
I'm also 66. The law in each state is different, and it is possible that it is more generous toward you then you think. Many states have laws that enhance the punishment for crimes committed against seniors. If CT has such a law, that somewhat favors your position because it is implicit that it is more dangerous to assault an old person than a younger person.
In my state the law is very clear that you can use lethal force if you reasonably believe your life is in danger. Even a younger person being attacked by someone with a bat could reasonably hold that belief, but older folks are more vulnerable to many things. For example, a mere shove that causes you to fall to the ground might break a hip--- and the mortality rate during the first year after a hip is broken runs around 50% I think. Or, it could cause you to break ribs, or wrists, or develop bleeding within your skull, or have a heart attack.
You need to check you state's law to see if there is any mention of disparity of force.
I also want to comment on another thing. If you are 66 and yet healthy, you could benefit by studying martial arts. You can get some good cardio exercise, balance exercise, and learn enough to improve your odds for not having to use your gun. If you are near Meriden, I think there is a very good Modern Arnis school somewhere in that vicinity. I don't recall the man's name, but he gave a couple of lesson at the school I attended while visiting, and he was most impressive. You could learn to disarm that assailant, and use the bat right back on him.
Of course, if you are not healthy enough (I'm talking about health not athleticism) this approach may not be for you at all.
Carry good quality pepper spray if CT law allows. Others here have mentioned that it isn't necessarily a good idea to use pepper spray inside your own home. So keep that in mind.
August 21st, 2009 10:23 AM
If you are 66 years old and a much younger stronger criminal breaks into your house armed with a baseball bat and you reasonably fear for your life and/or fear that you are in imminent danger of greivous bodily harm, your Lawer should be able to argue self defense and disparity of force. I would look for another Lawyer if yours doubts that he can.
BTW always a good idea to have a good lawyer ahead of time rather than waiting until you need one. Kind of like having a gun and not needing one rather than needing one and not having one.
Last edited by MIKEV; August 21st, 2009 at 10:24 AM.
August 21st, 2009 12:04 PM
Someone comes at me with a bat I will give them a 3rd eye!
August 21st, 2009 12:21 PM
I don't know the laws for your state, but I would think you must build your defense brick by brick much as a prosecutor builds circumstantial evidence during a trial.
1. I'm older and frail.
2. He's younger, stronger, larger. etc.
3. he's armed with a baseball bat.
4. he's in my home uninvited.
5. He's in my home in the middle of the night while I'm asleep.
an so on. With or without a castle doctrine but espically without, this will help your case. Do Not alter the scene in any way. Once it's been determined that you were untruthful in anyway, your credibility is gone.
"Kimbers are the guns you show your friends, Glocks are the guns you show your enemies."
August 21st, 2009 12:31 PM
Same here, bat, knife or even a stick. If I catch them in my house and they advance or dont leave my house before I see them, well ballgames over.. cause im blowing somebody away
August 21st, 2009 01:16 PM
Piggybackin' on what Bark'n said, I would get myself a copy of Massad Ayoob's book, "In The Gravest Extreme" , and read it. Not only read it, but have it in your home library and refer to it often.
The most important thing is being able to articulate why you did what you did, and being able to show a Jury why you did what you did. If you can, while there are lots of very good trainers and instructors out there, I would start with Lethal Force Institute, "The Judicious Use of Deadly Force". The money spent, IMO is well worth it.
The only connection I have to Lethal Force Institute is being a graduate of LFI 1 and Mas helping me on a research paper on Officer Involved Shootings twenty years ago. You can also find Mas' writings in various magazines, but "Combat Handguns" seems to have the articles most relevant to the armed citizen.
FYI: A baseball bat is a deadly instrument and provides one with the ability to kill, IMHO.
August 21st, 2009 04:03 PM
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Last edited by JD; August 21st, 2009 at 04:35 PM.
Reason: Edited for clairty.
August 21st, 2009 04:18 PM
Under Connecticut law, a person may use physical force (self defense): to protect himself or a third person, his home or office, or his property; to make an arrest or prevent an escape; or to perform certain duties (for example, a corrections officer may use force to maintain order and discipline, a teacher to protect a minor, and a parent to discipline a child). A person cannot use physical force to resist arrest by a reasonably identifiable peace officer, whether the arrest is legal or not (CGS § 53a-23).
Self defense or justification is a defense in any prosecution (CGS § 53a-16). The person claiming justification has the initial burden of producing sufficient evidence to assert self-defense. When raised as a defense at a trial, the state has the burden of disproving self defense beyond a reasonable doubt (CGS § 53a-12).
Semper Vigilantia - Semper Paratus
NRA Life Member
August 21st, 2009 04:26 PM
Additional information from CASTLE DOCTRINE AND SELF-DEFENSE by Christopher Reinhart, Senior Attorney, OLR Research Report, January 17, 2007:
Physical Force in Defense of Person
A person is justified in using reasonable physical force on another person to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of physical force. The defender may use the degree of force he reasonably believes is necessary to defend himself or a third person. But deadly physical force cannot be used unless the actor reasonably believes that the attacker is using or about to use deadly physical force or inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm.
Additionally, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force if he knows he can avoid doing so with complete safety by:
1. retreating, except from his home or office in cases where he was not the initial aggressor or except in cases where he a peace officer, special policeman, or a private individual assisting a peace officer or special policeman at the officer's directions regarding an arrest or preventing an escape;
2. surrendering possession to property the aggressor claims to own; or
3. obeying a demand that he not take an action he is not otherwise required to take.
Lastly, a person is not justified in using physical force when (1) with intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he provokes the person to use physical force, (2) use of such force was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law, or (3) he is the initial aggressor (unless he withdraws from the encounter, effectively communicates this intent to the other person, and the other person continues to or threatens to use physical force) (CGS § 53a-19).
Physical Force in Defense of Premises
A person who possesses or controls property or has a license or privilege to be in or on it is justified in using reasonable physical force when and to the extent he reasonably believes it to be necessary to stop another from trespassing or attempting to trespass in or upon it. The owner can use deadly physical force only (1) to defend a person as described above, (2) when he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent the trespasser from attempting to commit arson or any violent crime, or (3) to the extent he reasonably believes it is necessary to stop someone from forcibly entering his home or workplace (and for the sole purpose of stopping the intruder) (CGS § 53a-20).
Physical Force in Defense of Property
A person is justified in using reasonable physical force when and to the extent he reasonably believes it necessary to (1) prevent attempted larceny or criminal mischief involving property or (2) regain property that he reasonably believes was stolen shortly before.
When defending property, deadly force may be used only when it is necessary to defend a person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force or infliction or imminent infliction of great bodily harm as described above (CGS § 53a-21).
Supreme Court Decision on Self Defense
In 1984, the Connecticut Supreme Court articulated the test for determining the degree of force warranted in a given case. Whether or not a person was justified in using force to protect his person or property is a question of fact that focuses on what the person asserting the defense reasonably believed under the circumstances (State v. DeJesus, 194 Conn. 376, 389 (1984)). The test for the degree of force in self-defense is a subjective-objective one. The jury must view the situation from the defendant's perspective; this is the subjective component. The jury must then decide whether the defendant's belief was reasonable (DeJesus at 389 n. 13).
Semper Vigilantia - Semper Paratus
NRA Life Member
August 26th, 2009 12:45 AM
It's 1 AM, and I'm not going to write a post or anything right now.
You are in CT, a seasoned citizen and you are concerned about self protection.
You get the special prize.
A freebie phone consult with a CT attorney.
(Yes, I know that prize sucks...but it's free, so stop complaining...)
Check your PM for my cell number.
August 26th, 2009 08:09 AM
Mitchell: I can't find the PM here. Would you please email me at email@example.com?
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