What rights do burglars have?


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Yorkshire, UK
Here's a sticky issue - a very high profile case in Britain saw a lone farmer, whose remote rural home had been repeatedly burgled, literally shot out the last time he was burgled. One burglar was killed outright and another slightly wounded. It caused a big fractious outcry in the UK.

And it continues - now the wounded burglar is suing for damages. It's now being allowed to go to court to ascertain what exact rights criminals have.

This is going to be a long and drawn out case, but the repercussions will be far-reaching.

Shot burglar wins right to sue Martin
whatever rights the burglar may have one would hope that the victim has priority on the issue of rights.
Unfortuntely, it always seems the case that the concerns of the victims are rarely served in any due course or time.
Yes, too often we seem to put the rights of the perpetrators of crime ahead of the victims. It's going to be interesting to see how this case pans out.
I would have a "Caution" or some sort of sign for no trespassing into my property.

And if anyone trespasses , especially a burglar, I would shoot him right away. It is for my own safety because I may never know if the burglar has a weapon on him.

Sue? How pitiful.
In the US, the defense of "defense of habitation" or "castle doctrine" may be used as a justification for a possible crime (e.g. battery or homicide) committed to protect one's home. However, if deadly force (violent action known to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm, e.g. shooting the burglar) is used by the homeowner, he must reasonably believe that:

- the intruder will imminently and unlawfully enter, and that the use of deadly force is necessary to stop him (e.g. shouting would not be enough to make him flee);
- the intruder will commit a forcible or atrocious felony inside (e.g. homicide, rape, robbery, arson, kidnapping, battery, but NOT larceny).

A minority of states (e.g. Texas) do not apply the second bullet point, but the defense is generally recognized everywhere.

In summary, any conduct harmful to the burglar must be sufficient to protect the place of abode, and be reasonable in relation to the harm threatened. This, BTW also applies to traps set by the homeowner.

So be careful before you shoot. You might be liable!

Here in the UK I'm under the impression that only "reasonable force" can be applied. In British terms, this effectively mean telling the person to "clear off" or else gently leading them by the arm from your property.

If you (or your pets) injures a burglar on your property, then I'm very strongly under the impression that you are liable for compensating them for their injuries - unless you were simply defending yourself from certain death.
In the US it will vary by state, but in the words of one lawyer of my acquaintance "if you're going to shoot them, (a) shoot to kill [that way even if you're liable, the payments are smaller], and (b) make sure they fall *inside* your house". There was a case here a couple of years ago (Georgia, I believe), where a homeowner shot a foreign exchange student dead as he was coming up the walkway (the wrong house) for a party. The homeowner was acquitted.
Namaste all,

a bit late for the thread, eh?

in any event...

when my mother moved back to the states from africa, we ended up in a rual area. my mother was a bit concerned about crime and so forth, though there was nothing to be wary of, as far as i know.

we even had the local police department come by the house to talk with my mother. they told her to get a weapon, perferably a shot gun (don't have to aim as much, don't ya know?) and if she had to shoot someone, do it while they were outside the house. then... drag them in.... then call the police.

interesting that.

in my state of residence now, there is a case that is very similar except that it took place at a business.

seems that two brothers owned a buisness that dealt in machine parts and so forth. they came to work one day and found that they had been broken into. not a big deal, all things considered, as they had insurance. 10 break ins later, in the relatively short span of 2 months, and they decided to resolve the issue themselves.

so.. they purchased some weapons, got some food and drink and lay in wait after hours. they did this for two weeks. one night, as they were there in the shop after hours, the burglars broke in again. of course, this time things went very differently and the two burglars were shot to death. the state prosecuted the shop owners for using deadly force when it was not requried... even though they said that they felt that they were in immient danger.

they won their appeal and are not serving any jail time. i do not know if there is a civil suit pending from the families of the burglars.
This case isn't really concerning burglars, but the same principle applies:

A number of years ago here in Milwaukee, two "men" were being chased in a stolen car, and the driver of the stolen car caused an accident. The vehicles involved in the accident were the stolen car, a second car, a semi (a lorry), and a County bus, and a building was involved, too (Brother Booker Ashe's House of Peace). The driver of the semi was forced into the storefront window of the House of Peace by the stolen car (the car then hitting the bus and the other car) and the truck driver was pretty shaken. All of the witnesses to the accident, including Brother Ashe and the people in the House of Peace, told the truck driver and the investigating officers that the truck driver was not at fault.

Fast forward about a year: the passenger of the stolen car, now a quadruplegic, sued the truck driver for his injuries sustained in the accident. Witnesses for the defense were the investigating officers, the people from the House of Peace, the bus driver, and the driver of the car that was hit.

He (the passenger) won. He got a seven figure judgement against the truck driver. The truck driver lost his "ticket" (his license to drive a truck), his insurance, and his job. I've heard two differing stories as to what happened later concerning the case (one saying that the judgement was overturned completely because the "facts" presented by the prosecution didn't add up or that the stuff presented by the defense was found too convincing by the Court of Appeals, the other saying that the truck driver lost his appeal and either killed himself or had to take a lower paying job while his family went on the dole to make ends meet.)

As the saying goes, sh*t happens.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine