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Residents Rights When Confronting Intruders

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Authorities in Lyon County are investigating after a homeowner shot an intruder breaking into his home near Neosho Rapids

The shooting has left some asking what their rights are when defending their home or property from intruders. So-called Castle Laws or Doctrine date back to old English law removing the duty of a resident to retreat before using deadly force.

"Controversial cases like this always create a great hue and cry from the public" says Wichita attorney Dan Monnat. We asked Monnat, who has spent decades inside Kansas courtrooms, to research the law on the use of force when someone in breaking into a home.

"Kansas law permits a resident to use such force as the resident believes is reasonably necessary to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry into a dwelling." says Monnat.

Last September, a Wichita resident shot at three men he says were breaking into his southeast Wichita home, striking one of them.

"Deadly force may used by those persons in those circumstances but only if the person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to the resident or another person." according to Monnat.

He says the state law allows a resident to satnd their ground with no duty to retreat and repel an aggressor's force. However, Monnat says the law is different when defending property. He says the legislature has been careful to spell out when force and deadly force can be used.

"I would think that simply to prevent interference with private property deadly force would rarely be justified. We don't want to go back to the wild, wild west."


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