“Make My Day” Law: Castle Doctrine in Colorado
In 2009, a Colorado Springs man avoided a potential homicide charge as a result of 1) the reasonable actions he took when protecting himself from an intruder at his home; and 2) Colorado’s Castle Doctrine—which permits people—such as this Colorado Springs’ man—to use self-defense and even deadly-force to protect their home from intruders who put them in danger.
To sum-up the events, James Parsons and his girlfriend were at their home one evening when a 22-year old assistant golf-pro at the Colorado Springs golf course, Sean Kennedy, pulled into Mr. Parson’s driveway and proceeded to enter the house. Supposedly, Mr. Kennedy (who’s BAC was reported to be three times over the legal limit for driving) thought he had arrived at his own house and accidentally locked himself outside. Prosecutors reported that Mr. Kennedy then proceeded to bang on the door and yell until he eventually broke a window in an attempt to unlock a door. Mr. Parsons, having a reasonable belief that the intruder meant to harm he and his girlfriend, procured his revolver and shot at Mr. Kennedy three times—all while his girlfriend notified authorities
In this circumstance, by responding to the intruder reasonably and by not impulsively reacting to the potential threat, Mr. Parsons managed to avoid breaking any state laws, and as such, law enforcement officials could not charge him with homicide. Furthermore, had this same set of circumstances occurred in one of the two dozen states to which the doctrine doesn’t apply (i.e., a “Stand Your Ground” state), Mr. Parsons may not have escaped charges and consequently, may have faced conviction.
Break-ins and intrusions occur more than most people would like to acknowledge or admit. Property crime rates in Colorado stand at about one in every thirty-three, so with so many people becoming the burglary victims, you may want to take it upon yourself to start learning about your rights. Furthermore, if you or anyone you know has recently dealt with an intruder, you should seek the help of a Colorado defense attorney immediately. While the Castle Doctrine may have served the interest of the Colorado Springs resident, not every victim gets so lucky immediately. If that’s the case with you then, you’ll want to make sure you have a qualified criminal defense attorney available to guide you through the potentially confusing road ahead of you.