Monday, September 29, 2008

The Castle Doctrine at Work

This is one of those news stories that illustrates the difference between the USA and many other countries. Suppose this incident had occurred in the UK or Sweden — can you imagine what would have happened to the father if he had acted in the same way to protect his daughter?

According to The Chicago Sun-Times:

Sex Offender Dies During Home Invasion in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — A convicted sex offender died Sunday during a struggle with a father who found the naked man in or near his 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom, police said.

Police responding to a call from the city’s northwest side about 3:20 a.m. found 64-year-old Robert McNally on the hallway floor with his arm around the neck of 52-year-old David T. Meyers, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Mount said Meyers had a heart condition and may have had a heart attack. An autopsy was planned.

Police said Meyers was naked except for a mask and latex gloves and had entered the home through a window near the girl’s bedroom with rope, condoms and a knife. He was familiar with the home’s layout because it belonged to a relative, police said.

The girl awoke and screamed when she saw the man in her room, police said. The father responded and struggled with the intruder while the girl’s mother phoned 911.

Police did not anticipate any charges against McNally.
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“If a person breaks into your home, you are justified in using deadly force in defending your family,” said Mount. “In this situation, I don’t think he was trying to kill him, he was trying to hold him down.” [emphasis added]

There may be some liberal jurisdictions in the USA which the father would have been prosecuted. And sometimes a local state’s attorney will feel it necessary to go through the motion of a manslaughter charge, even when everyone knows there will be an acquittal.

I’d be interested to hear from our European readers: in which countries would this man have been prosecuted and (probably) convicted for what he did? Are there any countries which have the equivalent of our “Castle Doctrine” that would allow a householder to use deadly force to protect himself and his family against a home invasion?


ɱØяñιηg$ʇðя ©™ said...

If it had happened in Sweden the father had been thrown in jail so fast he wouldn't have known what happened to him. And had the perpetrator survived he could probably cash in some money as well. At least most likely.


Had the latex-gloved(!) and mask-equipped sex offender started attacking the father, it would have been OK for the father to defend himself by using not more violence than judged necessary to momentary passivate the intruder. Full Stop! To thrash the combined sexoffender and intruder would absolutely not have been permitted - it would have been called 'severe assault and battery' - penal code 3rd chapter = no lees than 6 months behind bars. In this case the poor fellow died (which served him right); which should have been a clear case of manslaughter = 6-10 years behind bars!
A legendary Swedich case was about the thief and burgler who in wintertime tried to break into an empty house. There was ice on the staircase up to this uninhabited house -- the burglar fell and broke his leg and was found first the next day utterly exhausted. The house-owner was convicted to pay damages to the burgler for not having deiced the staircase. Never forget that Sweden probabely is the dumbest country in EU.

Conservative Swede said...

Well he brought condoms. Very considerate...

X said...

Not consider, CS, he just didn't want to catch anything. God forbid he should suffer any consequences for what he was doing...

Anyway, here in the UK that father would be up on charges and probably given ten years for manslaughter. And if his daughter was younger she would probably end up in care to take her out of the "dangerous and violent" home environment that the father obviously created by being so "aggressive". Some expert witness would arbitrarily decide that the man had in fact been raping his wife and daughter before proving that he was in cahoots with the intruder, and then the tabloids would concoct a story of wild sex-games gone wrong, vast conspiracies and possibly even mention a steamy affair with the Duchess of Cornwall. While he was inside there'd be a dozen or so "Life With a Sex Maniac: My Story" stories where the daughter, wife, other daughter who previously wasn't known about, son, cousin and aunt all told their "story" of their relationship with the "unhinged" and mentally unstable man, who murdered for fun and kept his family virtual prisoners while he sold them as sex toys to friends and family.

And then it would all disappear as another Madeline McCann sighting hit the front pages.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Here in Denmark we had a somewhat similar case a couple of years ago, where a shopowner dealing with fine clocks and watches shot and hit (but didn't kill) three (Serbian) robbers in his shop.

He was aquitted in court of charges of excess violence, as it was found that he was acting in appropriate self-defense of his life (property doesn't quite count).

However, he was given 6 months of jail time for owning several unlicensed guns. That's another matter.

We contemplated celebrating his release :)


Unfortunately I seem to have smeared my country of birth unfairly much - allow me, please, to change my statement from "dumbest" to "on of the dumber"

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, he would not likely have been charged in Canada. There was a recent case in Alberta where a man was surprised in bed with his girlfriend by his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend and another man, both wielding baseball bats. The victim responded with a knife and in the resulting fight killed one of the attackers and badly wounded the other. Crown prosecutors considered the case and then the Attorney General announced there would be no charges as it was a clear case of self-defence. The Canadian Criminal Code says you can use lethal force to defend yourself, or someone else, if your life or the other person's is in imminent danger.

So, yes, we have the Castle Doctrine here in Canada and for the same reason the United States does: English Common Law.

Too bad about England now.

Anonymous said...


I grew up in the Bronx during the '50s and '60s. One time a burglar broke into our apartment and robbed us. That night, my father told me that if I came home and found a robber, he was all mine and if I finished him to remember to get the carving knife from the kitchen and put it in his hand.

Conservative Swede said...

Of course, Graham. Now it makes sense. Quite as that Swedish winter burgler should have been wearing a helmet.

I wonder if a rape victim could be sentenced for giving an STD?

Mother Effingby said...

When I was 13, a violent neighbor with a reputation as a peeping tom and rapist was peeping at the bathroom window while my little sister was taking a bath. My dad had the foresight to replace the windows with brown tinted mottled glass, so the peepster went from window to window, back and forth, as I watched him from my bedroom window. I went into my closet, where I kept, just in case of emergencies, an iron skillet with a long jumprope tied through the hole in the handle, and holding on to one handle of the jumpe rope, I let the skillet fall. It hit him squarely on the noggin, and he fell over, and limped away from the window and collapsed into the dill bushes out in the yard. He moaned for awhile, and when he got himself together, I said, "If I catch you peeping around our house again, I'll drop something heavier".

Afonso Henriques said...


I am just seeing "Pros e Contras", the best Portugese debating problem where they call the elite to debate. What's on the table? Marriage and divorce. The Socialists want to pass (that will pass) a law like the Spanish that alouds divorce just because and that makes men pay the women if she leaves him. I just heard a Socialist on the table claiming that the ideal law was the muslim law but aplied to women as well:
The conjuge only has to say: "I repudiate you" three times to consumate the divorce.


Anyway, here in Portugal considering that the man was obviously there to rape the man daughter, that would happen nothing to the man. Maybe he would have been charged but I doubt he would go to prision. Unless he was to be charged with racism/starting the violence or something deeper (having prior discussions with the rapist) I doubt the man would go to prision.


Archonix, Maddie? Still?
Well, I'll leave you a tip about what happened to little Maddie.

Now that nobody hears us... Inocent? Of course, the power of powerfull can turn you innocent.

I bet she was taken to Morocco, but not by Moroccans and with the worst intentions. Pervert intentions.

Homophobic Horse said...

"There was a recent case in Alberta where a man was surprised in bed with his girlfriend by his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend and another man, both wielding baseball bats. The victim responded with a knife and in the resulting fight killed one of the attackers and badly wounded the other."

Excellent result. He must be pretty handy with a knife, of course had it been me they would have both lived, minus eyes, gonads, ears, nose and hands.

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty Powerful Video about the U.K. and how it is about to cede everything it has ever fought for. Some of this blokes other videos are pretty damned good too.

cousinarlo said...

Thank you martin j. You're not kidding about this video. It brings the truth home in a powerful, and for me, emotional way, especially the images of our soldiers and what they fought for.

I was compelled to put it on my blog. What else has the author done?


Barack Obama specifically Voted Four Times in the Illinois
Legislature To Allow Criminal Charges Against Homeowners Who Defend Their Person and Home With a Gun