Castle Doctrine Would Let Some Guilty Go Free, Prosecutors Say - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Castle Doctrine Would Let Some Guilty Go Free, Prosecutors Say

Randall County District Attorney James Farren Randall County District Attorney James Farren
Local Defense Attorney Jeff Blackburn Local Defense Attorney Jeff Blackburn

It could allow guilty people to walk away free. The Castle Coctrine, the law that allows you to protect your home and family, is again in the spotlight because some prosecutors across texas say one of its clauses is too lax on those who claim self defense. But some defense attorneys disagree.

The clause that has lawyers talking is the court instructing the jury to presume a person was acting reasonably in killing someone if there is evidence that person's property was threatened.

Take an incident from December: A homeowner claims he shot and killed a man when he came to his door demanding to know where a dog is. The homeowner was no billed last week in a grand jury, but if the case had gone to trial, the judge would have told the jury to presume the homeowner was acting reasonably. Randall County District Attorney says, "the result is sometimes those who did not act reasonably will gain the benefit of that instruction."

And he says that makes prosecuting a case much harder, saying "overcoming a presumption, getting inside someone's head...it's very difficult."

Local defense attorney Jeff Blackburn says this is the age-old debate of people versus government. He says "it gets the business of real law enforcement somewhat out of the hands of the law enforcement apparatus." Giving that business to the people is why he says the law should be in place. He says "I'm in favor because it expands the power of the people against the government."

The Castle law went into effect last September. Farren and Blackburn do agree on one thing: when more power is given to the people, we run the risk of some guilty people going free.

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