Issues Facing the 80th Legislature - The Castle Doctrine
AUSTIN -- This session, I was proud to co-author Senate Bill 378, relating to the use of force in the defense of a person. Senate Bill 378 was authored by Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), and has the support of 27 additional Senators. This bill, also known as the "Castle Doctrine" has already passed out of committee and may soon be taken up by the full Senate.
Recently, the Senate Research Center published a document entitled "Issues Facing the 80th Legislature." This document outlines several issues that will be taken up by the Senate this session, and this Capitol Update will focus on this legislation. If you would like to view the entire document, please visit www.senate.state.tx.us or call my office for a copy.
"Stand Your Ground" Law
Texas law permits a person to use deadly force against another in self-defense, if a reasonable person in that position would not have retreated and deadly force is immediately necessary to protect the person against the other's use of deadly force or to prevent the commission of certain serious crimes. A person does not have to retreat before using force against another who has unlawfully entered the person's habitation.
In 2005, Florida enacted what supporters call the "stand your ground" law. Under the law, a person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of great bodily harm or death when using deadly force against a person who has unlawfully and forcibly entered the person's habitation or occupied vehicle. A person who is not engaged in unlawful activity and is attacked in any place where she or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat. The law also provides immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the use of force in accordance with the law. A number of other states have since enacted similar legislation. Supporters of such laws assert they allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves against violent crime and prevent crime victims from being prosecuted or sued for protecting themselves.
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: firstname.lastname@example.org