December 14, 2007
• Darwin Award 7
The Following is from http://www.buckeyestateblog.com, a liberal blog in Ohio. As you read this article, see if you are not struck with the same conclusion that I was: Cundiff should have sat by idly as he and his girlfriend was attacked, while camping. See if I get this, it’s ok to defend your life while at home…but not while camping in a federal park. Yes….perfect sense.
Interesting piece from “ThisWeek” outlinging some of the hearings going on in the Ohio House regarding introduction of the “Castle Doctrine” to the Ohio Revised Code.
I’ve written about the doctrine in the past. I still feel that if done responsibly – not giving gun owners carte blanche to shoot upon sight whenever and wherever they want – that this change in Ohio liabilities could be a positive. And, well, that’s generally at odds with most folks in the party.
A 27-year-old northeast Ohio man told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice on Dec. 5 that, more than six years after a justified shooting in self-defense, he is still in court awaiting a civil trial filed by the man he shot.
“My life is literally on hold and has been for seven years,” he said. “I cannot own property, or establish a personal savings, as I fear for the consequences that lie ahead.”
After a shooting Sept. 17, 2001, when Cundiff and his girlfriend were assaulted while camping, Cundiff himself was arrested and charged criminally. Cundiff said he was tempted by a plea bargain, exchanging a guilty plea for a six-month sentence, but he girded himself and went to trial.
“Imagine my terrible choice,” he said. “I could go to trial, risk seven years in prison, spend thousands of dollars, and rely on the jury, knowing full well I was innocent, or I could take the easier, guaranteed deal that would allow me to avoid a long prison term. I chose the jury route, but it was a terrible gamble with my life.”
In the more than five years since he was acquitted on criminal charges, Cundiff said, the only significant action in the civil suit was a successful effort by Cundiff’s insurance company to obtain a ruling that his insurance did not have to pay any of his expenses, on the grounds that the shooting was deliberate.
Hmmmm. The castle doctrine usually nullifies criminal and civil liability for use of a deadly weapon in defense when someone intrudes upon your home. Other, more expansive, versions of the doctrine allow use of a weapon for other areas which can be considered a “home” to some (cars, RV’s, tents, etc.).
In this example at the Ohio House I’m a little concerned that someone would take a firearm with them while camping. Making a bit of a leap, if they were in federal, or even state lands, there’s a good chance that the weapon was prohibited by law. But regardless, this is the exact type of expansive reading of the castle doctrine I have a hard time supporting. I think folks should be allowed to use a weapon without fear of liability to defend their own home, but once you start throwing in tents, and trailers, and campsites, and the whole yahoo in, you run into some problems where you can use a gun virtually anywhere without recourse.