“Stand your ground” laws like the one at issue in the Trayvon Martin incident have come under substantial scrutiny as of late. The laws permit an individual to use self-defense, including sometimes deadly force, during a fight, without having to worry about an arrest. Texas has a similar law, the Castle Doctrine, which allows an individual to use deadly force when attacked on one’s property. Recently, some Texas law makers have been fighting to have this law appealed.
In spite of backlash, many still advocate in favor of the self-defense law. Advocates specifically point to instances of family violence as a particular situation which may necessarily require use of deadly force. For example, a 31-year old mother recently received a domestic violence conviction for shooting at her husband. However, she argues the act was in self-defense.
The mom says that after her husband viewed text messages on her phone, he came after her in their home, accusing her of cheating on him. She allegedly escaped while he was strangling her. Apparently, while she tried to get away in her vehicle, which was in the garage at the time, she realized she didn’t have her keys. The mom states she made a decision at that point to defend herself. She got her weapon and after re-entering the home, allegedly shot at the air. She claims she did not intend to him the man. No one was injured in the incident.
Now the mom faces a sentence of 20 years in prison. The stand your ground defense failed in front of the jury, who convicted her after 12 minutes of deliberation.
Advocates in defense of the Texas Castle Doctrine champion that if someone is attacked in their home, they should be allowed to defend themselves. Further, they claim that individual should be immune from any liability for that act of self-defense. In spite of much debate, the Texas law is still in place.
Actions in self-defense most often should not lead to conviction. A criminal history which includes aggravated assault or attempted murder results in not only substantial jail time, but also damage to reputation, penalties and other serious consequences. An experienced advocate will be well-versed in self-defense laws in order to ensure justice is served appropriately and fairly.
Source: Click2Houston, “Stand your ground law under scrutiny in domestic violence case,” Chuch Hadid, April 24, 2012