Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Armed Citizen! Will NJ ever pass a Castle Doctrine?

I smiled when I read this story about Jack Crawford, a 72 year old man from Florida who was attacked in his own home by three bat wielding young men. Mr. Crawford pulled his .22 pistol and shot two of the three men who were trying to illegally enter his home and cause him harm, as well as, presumably, rob him of his possessions.

Mr. Crawford is quoted as saying "They're lucky I let them live," he said. "The next time I'll kill them.". I for one hope there is no next time and these three criminals head to jail for a long time, and if they are ever let out, hopefully, they have learned their lesson and don't try again. But since that hope seems unreasonably optimistic, I'll also hope that Mr. Crawford gets himself a 9mm, or maybe even a .45.

For the record, Mr. Crawford is protected by Florida's Castle Doctrine. The Castle Doctrine effectively establishes your rights on four basic issues.

First, it generally establishes that an intruder in your home is there to cause death or great bodily harm to you and you may use any manner of force, including deadly force, against said person.

Second, it establishes you have no "duty to retreat". Technically, here in New Jersey, an armed home owner is expected to run away and leave his home to be ransacked by criminals.

Third, it establishes that use of said force against a criminal can not be prosecuted. Ie, if these three thugs return to Mr. Crawford's home and he murders the criminals, Mr. Crawford can not be charged with murder in their deaths.

Not unrelated, and Forth, it establishes that criminals and their families can not sue the would-be victim for injuring or killing the criminal.

NJ does not currently have a Castle Doctrine law established. Currently, in NJ, the law states that you are expected to "retreat to a safe place" and allow your home, your castle to be invaded.

Hopefully one of our Assemblyman will sponsor legislation to adopt a Castle Doctrine.

The full story, for future reference is this:

A 15-year-old boy charged in the baseball-bat beating of a 72-year-old man wiped away tears with a paper towel on Monday as a judge set his bond at $200,000 and told him he could face life in prison.

The boy, Earl Benard, is one of three accused in the armed invasion of Ferry Pass resident Jack Crawford's home Saturday night.

Crawford allegedly was holding a .22-caliber pistol when the three knocked on the door, then tried to force their way in.

Curtis Crenshaw, 18, and Nathaniel Nichols, 17, were both shot. Crenshaw was treated and released from Baptist Hospital; Nichols remains hospitalized.

Only last month, Benard was before Circuit Judge Ed Nickinson, accused of violating his probation on a litany of charges ranging from battery to burglary.

"We ask for high bond," Assistant State Attorney Marjorie Anders told Nickinson on Monday, noting Benard's already lengthy court record.

Benard's sniffles echoed over the courtroom's sensitive public address system. His mother was present for the hearing; she declined to comment afterward.

Benard is due back in court on Feb. 18 and is to be charged as an adult.

Across town at adult court in the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, Crenshaw appeared before Circuit Judge Michael Allen.

He held his hand to his left rib cage, where he had been shot. The judge set his bond at $300,000 and ordered him returned to court Feb. 24.

Allen noted three burglary arrests on Crenshaw's juvenile record that date back to 2008.

Nichols appeared before Nickinson via teleconference from the hospital. He's under guard there and will go to jail upon his release.

The three are accused of forcing their way into Crawford's home in the 3300 block of Raines Street about 8:50 p.m. Saturday and hitting him in the head with the bat.

After the shooting, they ran away.

About 40 minutes later, Adam Simoneaux, 25, identified as Crenshaw's and Nichols' roommate, and Haley Nida, 18, dropped Nichols and Crenshaw off at Baptist Hospital for treatment of the gunshot wounds, arrest reports say.

Nida and Simoneaux told investigators that they received a phone call that Nichols and Crenshaw were shot and needed to go to the hospital.

Despite being near Sacred Heart Hospital, they took their bleeding friends to Baptist Hospital more than five miles away, Pensacola police Capt. Paul Kelly said.

The two wounded suspects told investigators they were robbed and shot near the Days Inn motel, a story that was quickly dispelled, Kelly said.

Kelly said an investigation into the events leading up to the home invasion is continuing.

Crenshaw's mother, Louise White, appeared at her son's hearing. She said she didn't approve of her son's current living situation but can't control him at 18.

The three suspects all are charged with armed home invasion robbery and aggravated battery on a person over the age of 65.

On Monday, Crawford, a tough-talking former truck driver, sported a large gash, held together with staples from the top of his head to the middle of his forehead.

He was wearing more than a dozen gold rings on his hands and several gold chains around his neck. Asked whether he thought all of that gold made him a robbery target, he shrugged his shoulders.

"They're lucky I let them live," he said. "The next time I'll kill them."

No comments: