Monday, March 14, 2011

North Carolina Bill Would Extend "Castle Doctrine" to Workplaces

Under common law, "a man's home is his castle," and that means he can use deadly force to protect it from intruders who pose a risk of death or bodily harm to the occupants.  If some North Carolina lawmakers get their way, workplaces -- even the ones without moats -- will soon be considered castles.

A bill currently pending in the state Senate, along with a similar bill in the House, would give the lawful occupant of any workplace the right to use deadly force against anyone who unlawfully and forcefully enters into that workplace.  "Workplace" is defined as any building with a roof over it, including a tent, that is used for commercial purposes.  The bill doesn't define what constitutes unlawful and forceful entry, but it appears to be worded broadly enough to encompass any number of scenarios.  Also, anyone who uses deadly force in such situations would enjoy a presumption that they were in fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm.

Critics of the bill already are charging that it's just a bad idea to essentially "deputize" everyone in the workplace and give them the right to use deadly force.  The result, they say, could be utter chaos and innocent people might well end up dead.  (Hat tip:  North Carolina Lawyers Weekly)

We'll be keeping an eye on this one.  The Senate bill is S.34.

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