Prosecutors are worried about how new proposed castle laws may effect prosecutions for violent crimes using weapons in Texas. Under the proposed law, if you use a weapon or shoot someone in your home, your car, or your place of business, you are presumed to have the right to use deadly force in defending yourself or your propertly.
This law would essentially turn the legal doctrine of reasonable doubt on it’s head in many criminal defense cases in Texas courts.
Prosecutors cite one hypothetical example where there is a fight in a parking lot, and a man is killed. If the defendant claims that the victim was trying to break into his vehicle, he gets the presumption of having the right to use deadly force under the Texas castle law as currently written. That means a jury would have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s claim of defending himself was untrue, in order to convict him of a crime.
One possible compromise that may be worked out is to redefine the meaning of “travelling”, in defending your car while on the road. Or maybe that entire section should be scrapped, and the castle law restricted to one’s home or property, and not defined so broadly.
But if the law passes in it’s current form, and the defenses that prosecutors fear become reality, there is no doubt that the law will eventually be ammended. But by then, it is likely that some violence criminals will have gone free by exploiting this technicality in Texas’ generous gun and self defense laws.