WV Criminal Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

WV Senate Passes “Castle Doctrine” Bill

From the Beckley Register-Herald:

Senate unanimously OKs ‘Castle Doctrine’ bill

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — Senators agreed Tuesday that one’s home is a castle, open to the wind but not to intruders with evil in mind.

And if any is caught pilfering, the owner is allowed to use deadly force, and may use the fear of a threat the intruder poses as a “full and complete defense” in case the burglar files a lawsuit over his wounds.

As things turned out, the bill’s leading proponent the past two sessions, Sen. Shirley Love, D-Fayette, wasn’t around to take part in the 32-0 tally that propelled the “Castle Doctrine” bill on to the House of Delegates.

Love missed a second straight day, tending to an ailing sister in another state, his secretary explained.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, made note of Love’s lead sponsorship of the bill, saying it was intended to protect families and homeowners from acts of invasion and violence.

A stronger version was offered in time to beat the 41st day deadline for offering legislation by Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Unger, D-Berkeley.

Unger offered his own tack, one that would disallow a wounded intruder to even file a lawsuit in the first case.

In the Eastern Panhandle, Unger said, seniors increasingly have become targets of burglars who apparently consider them easy marks for break-ins.

To Unger, the idea of a senior citizen forced to use deadly force to thwart an invader, then face a lawsuit, was unthinkable.

“They amend it over in the House and it may have to come back for conference,” Unger said.

For now, he said, the Senate at least has a Castle Doctrine bill out, and like any other proposed law, it can be altered if the need presents itself.

“We can always come back and tweak it in the future, be it this session or a future session,” he said.

The measure was pushed by the National Rifle Association, and so far, at least 20 states have some form of it.

Perhaps, Unger suggested, seniors could be accorded some extra protection outside the concept of the Castle Doctrine.

“Maybe in enhanced penalties or whatever to people who prey on seniors and put them at risk,” he said.

“Who knows what we can do as far as the crimes and type of penalties associated with it?”

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February 20, 2008 - Posted by | Legislation, Self Defense

9 Comments »

  1. Excellent! Hopefully the governor signs it into law. The fact that a criminal thug can SUE YOU after breaking into your house is revolting.

    Comment by Bob | February 21, 2008 | Reply

  2. We West Virginians will feel a great sense of relief after Gov. Manchin signs this into law. As a resident of Coon Creek, WV (18 miles from any law enforcement)it is a comforting feeling to have my 1911A1 loaded and on the table by my bed, ready for whatever comes along. As a senior citizen, this law is a MUST!!

    Comment by yancey burns | February 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. It should have always been this way in every state of the Union. Now if only Charleston will get rid of it’s ludicrous ban on open carry that is legal state wide, but not here in the Capital city.

    Comment by Larry Chapman | April 21, 2008 | Reply

  4. This is a great piece of legislation. Does anyone have an update as to what the House of Representatives has done with
    it?

    Comment by James E. Jenkins, Jr. | May 11, 2008 | Reply

  5. This is a must sign piece of legislation. Since criminals seem to have more rights than their victims, it is great to see us regaining the ownership of some peace of mind!

    Comment by James E. Jenkins, Sr. | May 11, 2008 | Reply

  6. LIVING OUT HERE IN THE COUNTRY, THERE ARE MORE CHANCES OF BEING BROKEN INTO. SOMETIMES THE LAW CANNOT BE CALLED IN TIME TO AVOID WHAT COULD BECOME A “SITUATION” I NOT STOPPED IN TIME. WE HAVE NEEDED THIS LAW FOR QUITE SOME TIME. I JUST HOPE THAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT WILL SEE THE NEED.

    Comment by RG NELSON | October 20, 2008 | Reply

  7. Unfortunately, “the next President” is proving to be a communist who does not care about our constitutional rights. At least West Virginia is taking the right stand on this.

    Comment by Bruce | April 4, 2009 | Reply

  8. This is the third time my house has been broken into. The state police just left an hour ago. It takes them almost an hour to get here. I will protect my home and family any way I can. I’m a Vietnam vet. I know what deadly force. I won’t like to use it,but I will. Thank you Governor Joe. We need not make criminals out of law abiding folks.

    Comment by Jim Lilly | June 6, 2009 | Reply

  9. This is great! I have a neighbor that is 80 some year old that has been targeted by thiefs in the day light already.one held a rug up to show her while the other slipped off in the back room and got her purse along with other things.who’s to say they won’t come back at night to do worse.this happens more than is realized…we need to make a stand!I am a nice guy but come in my house uninvited..any man should have the right to protect his family,he may not have time to see if the intruder has a gun or knife…please add your comments at the bottom..we need all the support we can get…I look forward to reading them!I hope anyone reading this never has to use deadly force but there is always a chance.

    Comment by arthur j byrd | January 29, 2010 | Reply


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