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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Knowing What You Can and Can't Do to Protect Property

The Virginian Pilot has a story today about a former Suffolk police officer who used a firearm to, according to the news report, to stop an alleged robbery of personal property.
A week ago today, he'd just come home from the hospital. Shortly before 3 a.m., police said, Duck saw a man trying to load a dog box from Duck's lawn into a pickup.

Duck got his gun, went to the window, and yelled at the man to move to the front of his vehicle. Instead, he jumped into the passenger side of his pickup, and Duck, a retired Suffolk police officer, started shooting, police said.
Charles Duck only wounded the intruder.  But two law professors say Duck may not have been justified in shooting. 

"In Virginia, you do not have the right to use deadly force to merely protect property or to evict that trespasser," said Darryl Brown, a professor at the University of Virginia Law School.

The incident is currently under investigation. According to the law professors interviewed by the Pilot, a citizen is only protected by law in using deadly force if he believes his life in in danger.  Those who worked with Duck in his days as a police officer say he was especially good at sizing up  criminal situation.  We will have to wait and see if he was equally as good in sizing up this one.

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