Castle Doctrine and concept of curtilage

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Castle Doctrine and concept of curtilage

Post by johndoe3 » Thu May 09, 2019 4:42 pm ... your-home/

Excellent blog discussion by self-defense lawyer Andrew Branca on a case in NC, where curtilage came into play on a 'castle doctrine' shooting. (Note: curtilage is outside the 4 walls of your castle but immediately around your house that is used as an extension of the house--porch?, patio?, lawn? driveway?).

Some states extend the castle doctrine defense to curtilage while others restrict it to within the 4 walls of the castle(MA, etc.).
As is true in many (but not all) states, North Carolina has several provisions favorable to a defender who uses defensive force in the context of highly-defensible property, such as one’s home.

Perhaps the most common special provision for use-of-force in the context of one’s “home” or “castle”, a provision shared by all 50 states, relieves the defender of an otherwise existing legal duty to retreat before defending oneself against an intruder in that “castle”—this is the proper definition of the term “Castle Doctrine.”

Another common special provision of this type, one less widely available than the Castle Doctrine but available in North Carolina and many other states, grants a legal presumption that the defender possessed a reasonable fear of imminent deadly force harm from an intruder who unlawfully and forcibly enters that property. Such a legal presumption in effect grants the defender almost all of the elements required to justify his use of deadly defensive force (the only remaining element is that of innocence, that the defender was not the aggressor in the fight).

For any of these special provisions, however, the question can arise whether the use-of-force did or did not occur in the context of highly-defensible property. In other words, was the defender “in his castle” at the time he used the defensive force, or was he “outside his castle?”

The answer to that question determines whether the defender can claim the benefit of those special provisions for the use of force in the context of highly-defensible property.
Branca's general advice that is easy to remember: Rely on enhanced self-defense protections within your castle walls, and outside your walls, then fall back to normal defense of person law protections available anywhere. The reason is that curtilage is an iffy proposition (challenged by the other side in court) for castle doctrine protections.
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Re: Castle Doctrine and concept of curtilage

Post by whiterussian1974 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:04 pm

You are certainly correct in each fact and opinion that you stated.
It does vary by State. In TX, simply being on the Property is insufficient Justification for ANY use of Force other than Mere Presence, or Verbal Command.
In order to Use Force, (even simply touching the person without any violence) the Intruder must commit a certain Class of Offense (such as Criminal Mischief During the Nighttime,) or Commit a Felony (such as Burglary of a Habitation or Structure) or commit Theft as defined: Depriving a Person of the use of their Lawful Tangible Property. This means something which one can touch, as opposed to Intellectual Property.
A Person may "Prevent the Immediate Effects of Theft" meaning stop the person from getting away with your stuff. Presumption to commit Theft is that they physically took possession of whatever is being stolen. "Immediate Effects" means that you can chase them "in Hot Pursuit" but can't go to their Home a day later to take back your stuff.
A Homeowner has "enhanced Protections once a Person enters a Structure" (whether or not it's a habitation) that he does NOT have upon the Curtilage. This is because a Person may have a Legitimate Purpose for Entering the Property, but not the Habitation or uninhabited Structures upon the Real Property.
Also, a Jury will consider the Attendant (Depending on, or owing duty or service to) Circumstances, such as "Did you attempt to de-escalate or disengage?"
The Moral is: don't think that Castle Doctrine is set in stone or a magic key. It only removes your "Duty to Retreat" not much more.
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