PDA

View Full Version : Pondering the effect of mounted light source in a court case.


jlh95811
02-11-2009, 10:04 PM
Say you have an intruder.
You have a light mounted.
Can you really then say you were scared he had a gun? I mean you could see him clearly.
Seems you could get away with it better if it were dark.

Now I know their has been debate over whether to shoot or not. We all know the legalities but some folks tend to say they would shoot just on principle. He broke in. Intentions are clearly illegal. How are we to know to what lengths the intruder will go to commit a burglary and get away?

So if I say I was scared and shot him it seems better than if I could see him completely lit up.

What do you all think?

fleegman
02-11-2009, 10:44 PM
In such a scenario, with a pistol-mounted light, you see nothing "clearly". You see rapid, brief glimpses of a chaotic scene, but rarely a coherent whole. You are moving, your hands holding the pistol are moving, the perp is moving. You won't be able to make absolute judgments on whether the intruder is armed until after the fact. The best you can hope for with a pistol-mounted light is reliable target identification before you pull the trigger; I would consider that a good point in your favor in court, you wanted to make sure you weren't shooting at a family member, confused neighbor or a responding LEO.

However, my ultimate take is this: I will do whatever I feel is appropriate and affords me any situational advantage, and to hell with any possible court repercussions.

jlh95811
02-11-2009, 10:49 PM
In such a scenario, with a pistol-mounted light, you see nothing "clearly". You see rapid, brief glimpses of a chaotic scene, but rarely a coherent whole. You are moving, your hands holding the pistol are moving, the perp is moving. You won't be able to make absolute judgments on whether the intruder is armed until after the fact. The best you can hope for with a pistol-mounted light is reliable target identification before you pull the trigger; I would consider that a good point in your favor in court, you wanted to make sure you weren't shooting at a family member, confused neighbor or a responding LEO.

However, my ultimate take is this: I will do whatever I feel is appropriate and affords me any situational advantage, and to hell with any possible court repercussions.

I agree.

Pugster
02-11-2009, 11:47 PM
If the intruder sees you have a gun, does not respond to your verbal commands, and still menaces you in your own home; I think anyone in that position would be fearful of their lives and would be justified in defending themselves with their firearm.

Mississippi
02-11-2009, 11:50 PM
Someone gets in my house and all I know how to say is this....

I was afraid for my life and I need to speak to my lawyer.

Gun or no gun. Bad guy in the house is a dead guy in the house as long as he doesnt get me first. I have a family and will not take chances on what some crazy in my house has or does not have. It's my house and my family.

Seesm
02-12-2009, 12:26 AM
in that situation far better to be judged by 12 than buried by 6. Sure wish we had castle doctrine here in Kommiefornia.

Here ...here!!

But seriously if YOU have anyone in your house un-invited, your life IS IN DANGER!!

jlh95811
02-12-2009, 12:29 AM
Here ...here!!

But seriously if YOU have anyone in your house un-invited, your life IS IN DANGER!!

For some strange reason the courts of our state do not agree with this sound logic.

DedEye
02-12-2009, 1:22 AM
For some strange reason the courts of our state do not agree with this sound logic.

:rolleyes: No, they don't.


As for the weaponlight: plenty of people - frequently law enforcement officers - are involved in shootings where they think they see firearms in broad daylight. Even with a flashlight or weaponlight, it's still very likely you could believe someone had a firearm when they were holding something entirely different.

It doesn't matter what's in a person's hand if they're in your house uninvited. If you can articulate a reasonable fear for your safety and life, you may use all necessary force to protect yourself. You'd better be damn sure, and don't screw up and shoot a family member.

NeoWeird
02-12-2009, 1:38 AM
Just playing devil's advocate.

It's dark and you can't see what's in their hand. You honestly fear it might be a weapon and you shoot them.

The first thing the defense is going to ask is "If it was so dark as to make identification of what was in their hand impossible, how then could you be so certain that it was a stranger breaking into your home and that you needed to be in fear of your life?" Now it has gone, in a single question, from you protecting yourself to you acting rashly and you are trying to justify your actions. They could argue that the person breaking in your door could have potentially been a neighbor who investigated screams coming from the TV you left on and when no one asnwered they tried to open the door and they stepped in to make sure everyone was all right. You, in a panic and acting without thought, took a shot at them.

Anyone that points a gun at someone can NOT afford a "I don't know" or a "I couldn't tell". If you're life is NOT in danger you have no right pointing a gun at someone, let alone shooting them.

If you are ever forced to defend yourself or someone else from great bodily harm you need to KNOW that you were in fear of your life or great bodily harm to yourself or someone else. You need to KNOW who and what you are shooting at.

And always remember:

1. I was in fear of my life officer.
2. I want to press charges against him/her/them.
3. I would like to speak with my lawyer.

It's alright to be shaken by this type of event and the cops, or someone who knows the criminal, may try to get you to trip up and say something you don't mean. It's best to talk with your lawyer and let them do their job of mediating between you and anyone else.

Mute
02-12-2009, 6:34 AM
Cops probably have some of the best equipment available while on the job. You want to tell me they're not in fear for their lives when someone points a gun at them just because they have certain equipment?

Ironchef
02-12-2009, 6:57 AM
in that situation far better to be judged by 12 than buried by 6. Sure wish we had castle doctrine here in Kommiefornia.

California does have castle doctrine, otherwise you wouldn't be able to defend yourself in the home. Of course our version of castle doctrine is considerably less than that of Florida and Texas...and many other free states.

egslaw
02-12-2009, 8:16 AM
Notice: This is not legal advice.

Good things said here already. Always invoke your 5th and 6th amendment rights and ask for your attorney.

IMHO, I believe a lighted weapon is better than total darkness from a legal perspective. A light would give a jury a reason to believe that you did in fact identify the intruder, made the assessment that he was a deadly threat to you or the other people in the home and made a decision to use deadly force which was required to protect yourself or your family from death or greivous bodily harm.

Think about it from the jury's perspective. They WANT to acquit you. NO ONE wants to find someone who shot an intruder in their home guilty, especially when they are small children in the home that NEED protection.

As a side note, a light is a MUST on your HD rifle, pistol or shotgun to help identify friend or foe. They are also a weapon themselves with the ability to blind or temporarily disable.

sorensen440
02-12-2009, 8:19 AM
worry about your life now and let your lawyer worry about court later.

Deadred7o7
02-12-2009, 8:42 AM
I couldnt see him because I was blinded by the muzzle flash.

Matt C
02-12-2009, 8:43 AM
198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.

As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
or substantial physical injury.



199. The homicide appearing to be justifiable or excusable, the
person indicted must, upon his trial, be fully acquitted and
discharged.


FYI

N6ATF
02-12-2009, 8:57 AM
I was afraid for my life and I need want to speak to my lawyer.

Fixed. Please, please, don't say that you need a lawyer. Saying you need a lawyer can imply "... because I'm guilty." to police. You might believe you need a lawyer because you think you'll be screwed without one, but if you say you WANT a lawyer (repeatedly if necessary), you indicate you have made a choice instead of having no choice.

Acting from a position of strength is always advised.

mblat
02-12-2009, 9:01 AM
in that situation far better to be judged by 12 than buried by 6. Sure wish we had castle doctrine here in Kommiefornia.

Huh? We may not call it "caste doctrine" but sure as hell California laws are pretty good in that respect. If you pop intruder in your house you will get arrested, questioned and if you are not totally stupid released and not charged.

You MAY get sued in civil court, but really in your own house you can use any amount of force in your house, day or night, visible or not, intruder has weapon or not, and be pretty much assured that you will not be charged.


I often wonder how much we, Californians, contribute ourselves to the perception that CA is totally whacked out state.

Miltiades
02-12-2009, 9:02 AM
In the home defense shooting that you describe, it seems to me that the light on your gun would only be one small factor compared to many other important pieces of evidence that will be presented. These might include:

1. Was the intruder in fact armed? This could be established by the weapon lying next to his body, or dropped by him as he exited, or by wounds in you or his bullets in your wall.
2. Is there a disparity of force that might make his being armed irrelevant? If there were 2 intruders, or if the homeowner is older and less powerful than the young intruder, the defender would have good reason to shoot an unarmed intruder advancing on him.
3. Was your light even turned on, and can this be verified independently of your own testimony on this? If your light was turned off it is irrelevant.
4. How much ambient light was there in the room apart from your light?
5. Did the intruder make a verbal threat to harm you?

So I think that the presence of a light on your gun may not be critical in the vast majority of home defense shootings.

JTROKS
02-12-2009, 9:07 AM
"Your Honor, I yelled at him to vacate my house instead he started advancing toward me and by his silhouette it looked like his arms are at chest level... I was afraid for my life"

mblat
02-12-2009, 9:09 AM
In the home defense shooting that you describe, it seems to me that the light on your gun would only be one small factor compared to many other important pieces of evidence that will be presented. These might include:

1. Was the intruder in fact armed? This could be established by the weapon lying next to his body, or dropped by him as he exited, or by wounds in you or his bullets in your wall.
2. Is there a disparity of force that might make his being armed irrelevant? If there were 2 intruders, or if the homeowner is older and less powerful than the young intruder, the defender would have good reason to shoot an unarmed intruder advancing on him.
3. Was your light even turned on, and can this be verified independently of your own testimony on this? If your light was turned off it is irrelevant.
4. How much ambient light was there in the room apart from your light?
5. Did the intruder make a verbal threat to harm you?

So I think that the presence of a light on your gun may not be critical in the vast majority of home defense shootings.


While this is all true, I have to repeat one more time. In California you have no duty to retreat. You can stand your ground and defend yourself and your family with any amount of force as long as you can reasonably believe that harm is coming to you or to your family.

So, unless intruder is couple ten year old boys looking for candies... ( believe it or not happened to one of my friends - he is so happy that he did not pull that trigger ) and you keep your mouth shut you will be ok.

99sparks
02-12-2009, 9:11 AM
I did not want to do it.
He forced me to.
Officer, I want to give you a full statement after I speak with my lawyer.
I do not want to speak to any one until after I speak with my lawyer.

Repeat as long as necessary.

sorensen440
02-12-2009, 9:17 AM
I did not want to do it.
He forced me to.
Officer, I want to give you a full statement after I speak with my lawyer.
I do not want to speak to any one until after I speak with my lawyer.

Repeat as long as necessary.
You already screwed up by admitting to doing it
Dont say anything other then asking for your lawyer

and as for a statement let your lawyer give them a statement not you

berto
02-12-2009, 9:21 AM
Home invader didn't comply with my order to stop and drop. He reached and/or advanced. I feared for my life. I feel faint and would like to see a doctor. I'll talk as soon as my lawyer arrives and I'm medically cleared.

Shooting in complete darkness is a bad idea. A light can illuminate your target, it can also give away your position.

jlh95811
02-12-2009, 9:47 AM
I couldnt see him because I was blinded by the muzzle flash.

:rofl:
Hilarious

Sam
02-12-2009, 1:43 PM
Home invader didn't comply with my order to stop and drop. He reached and/or advanced. I feared for my life. I feel faint and would like to see a doctor. I'll talk as soon as my lawyer arrives and I'm medically cleared.

Shooting in complete darkness is a bad idea. A light can illuminate your target, it can also give away your position.

look at sorensen's post above yours. Just ask for your lawyer and nothing else. I think that a light is mandatory. What is one of the four rules? Know your target and what is behind it. You should not shoot unless you absolutely know it is not a loved one and is actually an intruder. Anyone in your home is presumed by law to be a threat, although I'd try really hard not shoot him in the back as it may be argued he is no longer a threat. Although if he was walking towards another's bedroom I wouldn't hesitate.

Sam
02-12-2009, 1:54 PM
Just playing devil's advocate.
They could argue that the person breaking in your door could have potentially been a neighbor who investigated screams coming from the TV you left on and when no one asnwered they tried to open the door and they stepped in to make sure everyone was all right. You, in a panic and acting without thought, took a shot at them.



They could, but why? I'm not sure how the law looks at questionable judgments during a shooting, but a shooting is either justified or it is not.

Solidsnake87
02-12-2009, 3:27 PM
Just ditch the light after. Why give a fact to incriminate yourself? Besides, in this state you can only fire if your attacker continues after you. If he's still coming at ya after a warning then light him up like a chinese firecracker.

Palindari
02-12-2009, 4:00 PM
Probably beating a dead horse but justifiable homicide according to CA PC 197 says...

197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.


198. A bare fear of the commission of any of the offenses mentioned in subdivisions 2 and 3 of Section 197, to prevent which homicide may be lawfully committed, is not sufficient to justify it. But the circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person, and the party killing must have acted under the influence ofsuch fears alone.


198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family orhousehold, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

With that said... in the heat of the moment one cannot be held culpable if whether or not you could actually tell he had a weapon - or made an action for a weapon (hidden gun, sheathed knife, candlestick in the study, Mr Mustard?).

So it's a call up for a good lawyer to make even with a light source? Hope no one puts this to the legal test.

NeoWeird
02-12-2009, 5:07 PM
They could, but why? I'm not sure how the law looks at questionable judgments during a shooting, but a shooting is either justified or it is not.

And who determines if it were justified or not? The police may say no charges are being filed, and the DA may say otherwise, and then it goes to court. It's now your opinion on the subject against the DAs. There is also the CIVIL law suit that you need to worry about. Just because you're not going to jail doesn't mean you can't have your life turned upside down forever by the courts.

I am constantly reminded by these topics of a case I heard about (don't know the details though, so I can't verify if it is factual or just passed hearsay) of a man who shot an intruder and police didn't press charges because they felt it was justified. Shortly after he admitted that he had not meant to shoot the man, but in the panic of the moment his body reacted and he squeezed the gun casuing it to fire. Charges where then filed as it went from him defending himself to an accidental manslaughter case.

The law is like a sword blade, and a few choice or improper words can cause you to fall to either side when you're being judged by it.

CSDGuy
02-12-2009, 6:00 PM
Probably beating a dead horse but justifiable homicide according to CA PC 197 says...

197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or,
4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.


198. A bare fear of the commission of any of the offenses mentioned in subdivisions 2 and 3 of Section 197, to prevent which homicide may be lawfully committed, is not sufficient to justify it. But the circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person, and the party killing must have acted under the influence of such fears alone.


198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that force is used against another person, not a member of the family or household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant or substantial physical injury.

With that said... in the heat of the moment one cannot be held culpable if whether or not you could actually tell he had a weapon - or made an action for a weapon (hidden gun, sheathed knife, candlestick in the study, Mr Mustard?).

So it's a call up for a good lawyer to make even with a light source? Hope no one puts this to the legal test.IOW if my house is locked, and someone who's not part of my family/household breaks in, 197 and 198.5 provides a defense. If my house isn't locked, then 197 (tempered by 198) provides my defense.

Kind of makes a good argument for locking your house, even when you're at home.

CSDGuy
02-12-2009, 6:04 PM
And who determines if it were justified or not? The police may say no charges are being filed, and the DA may say otherwise, and then it goes to court. It's now your opinion on the subject against the DAs. There is also the CIVIL law suit that you need to worry about. Just because you're not going to jail doesn't mean you can't have your life turned upside down forever by the courts.

I am constantly reminded by these topics of a case I heard about (don't know the details though, so I can't verify if it is factual or just passed hearsay) of a man who shot an intruder and police didn't press charges because they felt it was justified. Shortly after he admitted that he had not meant to shoot the man, but in the panic of the moment his body reacted and he squeezed the gun casuing it to fire. Charges where then filed as it went from him defending himself to an accidental manslaughter case.

The law is like a sword blade, and a few choice or improper words can cause you to fall to either side when you're being judged by it.
I believe that it would normally be the DA that ultimately decides whether or not to file charges. Civil suits... different story.

BillCA
02-12-2009, 6:30 PM
A light on your gun or a flashlight with your gun should not work against you in a good shooting. If the intruder was not a known person -- or was a known person who shouldn't have been there -- and presented a viable threat of violence, then it should be justifiable under
197PC.

When the cops ask what happened, you can be honest to this point: I've always been told to speak to a lawyer before answering any questions and I think I should do that.

DO point out to police anything of the intruder's that you touched or moved. If you kicked a knife away from his reach and it's under the coffee table, tell them where it is. If you moved the body to open a closet door (to get clothes for you or the kids for instance) tell them that. If the intruder does have a knife and it's identical to the type in your kitchen, you can even point out that while waiting you realized "that looks like one of our kitchen knives". It is much easier for your case if you pointed out these things before police discover them as "anomolies" in your version of the events.

Never attempt to modify the scene, such as dragging the body inside, planting a weapon on him, firing his gun, etc. Not only is it illegal, but if your shooting was justified and your actions are discovered, it will be much harder to stay out of jail.

Hamster16
02-12-2009, 8:03 PM
my buddy is a cop and he said it very important to mention that you were in fear of your life or bodily harm to yourself or your family and the most important term to use is that you only wanted to STOP the intruder from killing, raping, harming etc you or your family. if you mention that you intended to kill him in any way your screwed.

SkyStorm82
02-13-2009, 7:01 AM
Never attempt to modify the scene, such as dragging the body inside, planting a weapon on him, firing his gun, etc. Not only is it illegal, but if your shooting was justified and your actions are discovered, it will be much harder to stay out of jail.

Hell, I'd be tempted to drag his *** outside to keep the POS from bleeding all over my carpet. Wonder how much trouble I'd get into...

Palindari
02-13-2009, 7:19 AM
that's why I keep an industrial supply of Sham-Wow's by the exits, for just such an emergency ;)

Sig226
02-13-2009, 7:41 AM
IOW if my house is locked, and someone who's not part of my family/household breaks in, 197 and 198.5 provides a defense. If my house isn't locked, then 197 (tempered by 198) provides my defense.

Kind of makes a good argument for locking your house, even when you're at home.


BIIIIG +1 :thumbsup:

JDoe
02-13-2009, 8:00 AM
Say you have an intruder.
You have a light mounted.
Can you really then say you were scared he had a gun? I mean you could see him clearly.
Seems you could get away with it better if it were dark.

Now I know their has been debate over whether to shoot or not. We all know the legalities but some folks tend to say they would shoot just on principle. He broke in. Intentions are clearly illegal. How are we to know to what lengths the intruder will go to commit a burglary and get away?

So if I say I was scared and shot him it seems better than if I could see him completely lit up.

What do you all think?

1. Even when bad guys are all "lit up" and apparently unarmed you are in danger.

Have a look at this video clip of Jim Zubiena, a real life expert, from a 1984 episode of Miami Vice the good stuff starts at about 1:30.

Any fool can clearly see that Jim's character did not have a gun prior to him pulling it out. :thumbsup:

3Q2Il86-38A

2. You appear to be cleared to use deadly force via PC 197.2, 198.5 and 199 light or no light.

jlh95811
02-13-2009, 9:25 AM
That cat's got nice form.

TheBundo
02-13-2009, 11:08 PM
The victim took a pretty had hit on the concrete. I'm glad I passed on stuntman work

BillCA
02-14-2009, 2:12 AM
1. Even when bad guys are all "lit up" and apparently unarmed you are in danger.

Have a look at this video clip of Jim Zubiena, a real life expert, from a 1984 episode of Miami Vice the good stuff starts at about 1:30.

Any fool can clearly see that Jim's character did not apparently have a gun prior to him pulling it out.

Fixed it for ya. ;)

All the more reason that if you use a light, it should be very bright and hit your opponent in the eyes. He may still fire at sounds you make but his accuracy will be much diminished (especially if you move).

Force Science found that it doesn't take a professional to make a fast draw like that. Average speed for a college student to draw and fire was something like .72 seconds or just about the same as a fast reaction time to visually seeing him move.

DedEye
02-16-2009, 5:13 PM
Fixed it for ya. ;)

All the more reason that if you use a light, it should be very bright and hit your opponent in the eyes. He may still fire at sounds you make but his accuracy will be much diminished (especially if you move).

Your example is a good reason not to have a light source on your weapon actually, but in your offhand. Hold the light away from your body and if it gets shot at, you'll be safer.

Sam
02-16-2009, 11:13 PM
Your example is a good reason not to have a light source on your weapon actually, but in your offhand. Hold the light away from your body and if it gets shot at, you'll be safer.

I was told at a fairly recent tactical pistol class that although having a light is necessary in a low light encounter, having full control of the weapon is equally important and thus either strapping the light to the rail of your pistol or learning the proper techniques to both hold the light while at the same time using both hands to support the pistol are best.

BillCA
02-16-2009, 11:42 PM
Your example is a good reason not to have a light source on your weapon actually, but in your offhand. Hold the light away from your body and if it gets shot at, you'll be safer.

The old FBI technique of holding the light away from the body is what I was originally taught. In the late 80's someone discovered that it was not unusual for BG's to have lousy aim and hit the officers anyhow. One stat showed BG's shoot 8-14 wide of their intended target at distances of 7 yards or more. They spray and pray most often, which means the light held aside doesn't help you much...unless the BG is a good shot!

Sam
02-17-2009, 2:47 AM
The old FBI technique of holding the light away from the body is what I was originally taught. In the late 80's someone discovered that it was not unusual for BG's to have lousy aim and hit the officers anyhow. One stat showed BG's shoot 8-14 wide of their intended target at distances of 7 yards or more. They spray and pray most often, which means the light held aside doesn't help you much...unless the BG is a good shot!

When did criminals start shooting sideways? I'm sure this had to have some effect along the line.

Glock22Fan
02-17-2009, 8:06 AM
In the home defense shooting that you describe, it seems to me that the light on your gun would only be one small factor compared to many other important pieces of evidence that will be presented. These might include:

1. Was the intruder in fact armed? This could be established by the weapon lying next to his body, or dropped by him as he exited, or by wounds in you or his bullets in your wall.
2. Is there a disparity of force that might make his being armed irrelevant? If there were 2 intruders, or if the homeowner is older and less powerful than the young intruder, the defender would have good reason to shoot an unarmed intruder advancing on him.
3. Was your light even turned on, and can this be verified independently of your own testimony on this? If your light was turned off it is irrelevant.
4. How much ambient light was there in the room apart from your light?
5. Did the intruder make a verbal threat to harm you?

So I think that the presence of a light on your gun may not be critical in the vast majority of home defense shootings.

None of this matters. BWO quoted the law (198.5) in an earlier post. The things that matter are:

1) Is the person NOT a family member or member of your household?
2) Do you have reason to believe that the intruder made a forcible entry?

If both answers are "Yes," you are good to go (though you should still not shoot someone in the back). Both should be easy to prove in court.

CABilly
02-17-2009, 9:54 AM
Huh? We may not call it "caste doctrine" but sure as hell California laws are pretty good in that respect. If you pop intruder in your house you will get arrested, questioned and if you are not totally stupid released and not charged.

You MAY get sued in civil court, but really in your own house you can use any amount of force in your house, day or night, visible or not, intruder has weapon or not, and be pretty much assured that you will not be charged.


I often wonder how much we, Californians, contribute ourselves to the perception that CA is totally whacked out state.

:thumbsup: