In November 2007, Joe Horn, citizen of Texas shot two intruders. According to the Castle Doctrine, he had the right to do this. If someone is breaking in your house or your neighbor’s house, you have the right to defend yourself and your house. Your house is your castle (thus the Castle Doctrine) and you can do anything to defend it. Horn wasn’t indicted by the Grand Jury. Is Horn a hero? Is he a vigilante?
When I was teaching captial punishment in class last fall, everyone–including the pro-death penalty people–said that Horn should not of done it. The reasoning was because everyone has rights until it’s decided by juries. At that point, rights can be taken away. John Locke came with the same conclusion about how society gets along. We all have basic rights: life, liberty, property, and retributive justice. It’s just that we give up our right to retributive justice when we enter society and we give that right to a judge. So I would imagine that Locke would be against the Castle Doctrine.
What I find interesting is what’s taken from the article:
The flavor of the law basically shifts the burden of proving self-defense from the shooter to the state.
So instead of the shooter proving that it was in self-defense, the state has to prove that it wasn’t. What do you think? Is the Castle Doctrine a good idea?