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When You Can And Can't Stand Your Ground

Housemats with a clear warning against trespassers available at the LAX Firing Range in Inglewood, California where gun enthusiasts can come fire at targets. A Castle Doctrine, also known as Castle law, is a defense of habitation law.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A piece of legislation known as the “Castle Doctrine” played a central role in a case decided this week where an off-duty police officer killed a black man in his own apartment.

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger believed she was in her own apartment when she shot Botham Jean, 26, dead. She had mistakenly entered his apartment one floor above her own.

The Castle Doctrine is similar to Florida’s “stand your ground” laws. Its original architect says that it was intended to allow a person to protect themselves in their own home, and not that of someone else.

Why are such laws necessary? How pervasive are they today?

Produced by Haili Blassingame.


Alex Piquero, Professor of criminology, University of Texas at Dallas.; @DrAlexPiquero

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