Technically I'd say - after the fact they would (could) have been seen as justified.
However - if OTOH the cops had clearly announced their presence and ID'd properly that might alter things in such a case, badly!
This is perhaps one of those scary cases where several info aspects were not checked and should have been - with potential for bad results. The cops themselves were doing their job as they saw it but - unfortunately with bad intel.
Quite a few variables here - to make a hard and fast judgement - I'd sure prefer not to have to put such a situation to the test!
I think it would be hard to prosecute the homeowner if the police made the mistake and went into the wrong house. I would think that lot's of reasonable doubt could be raised. How awake was the homeowner when they fired and so on. Even the military doesn't hold you responsible for the first minute after being awakened.
Not that it would make the situation any better. Besides what would be the likelyhood that the homeowner would even survive after firing on the entry team. Pretty slim I'd bet.
Based on my understanding of my state's law, I don't think that they would be legally liable for firing on what they believed to be home invaders, and I wouldn't charge them for it.
Before I traded the blue suit for the jacket,tie, and desk, I stressed to my trainees to never act completely on how they were dispatched to something as the information could possibly have come through several people before it got to them.
I can see the wrong house based on bad intel for a warrant, not excusable but understandable. The police broke into a house based on a 911 call for a suicidal woman, how in the world do you screw that up??? Shouldn't the 911 dispatcher have that straight?
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