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Author Topic: "Justified" shooting cannot be sued by a civil action?  (Read 4335 times)
MarkB
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« on: January 14, 2015, 06:38:21 PM »

On DefensiveCarry.com member losdime from Lincoln, DE posted this:

"True.... In Delaware if the shooting is found to be JUSTIFIED.....NO civil suet can be brought against the individual involved in the defensive shooting."

Is this true.  Is it mentioned in the DE Code or some other area?
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fdegree
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Posts: 194


« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 07:09:28 PM »

I suspect there is no way to actually stop someone from suing you, but the code does say that you should not be found guilty in a civil suit if you are found not guilty in a criminal suit.

Interestingly, this is only mentioned in the Protection Of Property part of the code. I do not see it in the other parts...Protection Of Self and Protection Of Others. Unless I'm missing something.

Here is the code, and a link to the exact spot on their web site:

TITLE 11

Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Delaware Criminal Code

CHAPTER 4. DEFENSES TO CRIMINAL LIABILITY

466. Justification -- Use of force for the protection of property.

Quote
466 Justification Use of force for the protection of property.

(a) The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable when the defendant believes that such force is immediately necessary:

     (1) To prevent the commission of criminal trespass or burglary in a
          building or upon real property in the defendant's possession or
          in the possession of another person for whose protection the
          defendant acts; or

     (2) To prevent entry upon real property in the defendant's
          possession or in the possession of another person for
          whose protection the defendant acts; or

     (3) To prevent theft, criminal mischief or any trespassory taking
          of tangible, movable property in the defendant's possession
          or in the possession of another person for whose protection
          the defendant acts.

(b) The defendant may in the circumstances named in subsection (a) of this section use such force as the defendant believes is necessary to protect the threatened property, provided that the defendant first requests the person against whom force is used to desist from interference with the property, unless the defendant believes that:

     (1) Such a request would be useless; or

     (2) It would be dangerous to the defendant or another person
          to make the request; or

     (3) Substantial harm would be done to the physical condition
          of the property which is sought to be protected before the
          request could effectively be made.

(c) The use of deadly force for the protection of property is justifiable only if the defendant believes that:

     (1) The person against whom the force is used is attempting
          to dispossess the defendant of the defendant's dwelling
          otherwise than under a claim of right to its possession; or

     (2) The person against whom the deadly force is used is
          attempting to commit arson, burglary, robbery or
          felonious theft or property destruction and either:

          a. Had employed or threatened deadly force against or
              in the presence of the defendant; or

          b. Under the circumstances existing at the time, the
              defendant believed the use of force other than deadly
              force would expose the defendant, or another person
              in the defendant's presence, to the reasonable
              likelihood of serious physical injury.

(d) Where a person has used force for the protection of property and has not been convicted for any crime or offense connected with that use of force, such person shall not be liable for damages or be otherwise civilly liable to the one against whom such force was used.

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Violence, when there is an alternative, is immoral.
Violence, when there is no alternative, is survival.
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A battle avoided cannot be lost.
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fdegree
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Posts: 194


« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2015, 07:20:25 PM »

Also, here a few links to some discussions regarding this part of the code:

Justification -- Use of force for the protection of property.

Justification -- Use of force for the protection of other persons

Justification -- Use of force in self-protection
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Violence, when there is an alternative, is immoral.
Violence, when there is no alternative, is survival.
-Unknown-

A battle avoided cannot be lost.
-Sun Tzu-
MarkB
Life Member
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Posts: 378



« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2015, 08:44:13 PM »

Thanks, fdegree.  That helps a lot but it's still a little murky.  The laws really need to be made more clear in this area.  I would like to see a law to block all civil suits if you are found not guilty in a criminal case.
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CorBon
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The Revolution starts in your heart...


« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 03:32:48 PM »

It is difficult to bar civil cases based on the outcome of criminal cases or investigations because the standard of proof is much lower in the civil cases -- and for a good reason.  Remember, being found "not guilty" or having the authorities decide not to prosecute doesn't mean "innocent" -- it just means that they couldn't get over the hump on being sure that what the person did was wrong.  A criminal conviction can have lifelong effects, so the burden is higher. 

We may not like it, and we certainly don't want to go through an ordeal like that twice -- but changing how the legal system has functioned (and again, sometimes for good reason) is always difficult.  And with the clowns that we have in Dover, I am afraid every time that they start tinkering with laws. 

Also, I have never understood Delaware's "defense of property" position.  it's nice to see words on paper, but if you shoot someone stealing your lawn mower -- TNJ will launch a campaign against you, including rallies, until you are arrested. 
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