Castle Doctrine

Last night, I met with many of the great folks who live in Hibbard just outside of Rexburg. I really enjoyed answering questions and hearing what matters most to people in the district. One question that came up involved my position on self-defense and something known as Castle Doctrine.

This concept comes from English Common Law. It provides for the right to defend ourselves in our homes or other legally occupied spaces (e.g., office building, vehicle) against attacks, up to and including deadly force, without fear of prosecution. A bill passed during the 2018 session codified Idaho’s Castle Doctrine to include existing case law and jury instructions related to self-defense.

I support Castle Doctrine 100 percent. What I don’t support are poorly worded resolutions.

As I shared with the group, a resolution presented at the 2018 state party meeting would have opened the door to Idaho being on the hook for legal expenses from ANY individual found not guilty of ANY crime that involved the use of deadly force. The resolution suggested support for something I doubt few of us would get behind.

Imagine a guy shoots and kills a store clerk during a robbery but gets off on a technicality. As written, the resolution would make Idaho responsible for reimbursing this guy’s legal bills. Or how about a driver who, in a fit of road rage, forces another car off the road, killing the other driver. The jury acquits the driver and now the state and your tax dollars must pay the defense costs. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

I doubt that was the intent of the resolution’s authors, but part of serving means thinking through these sorts of unintended consequences.

We have every right not to fear prosecution when we’re defending ourselves. That is why I wholeheartedly support Castle Doctrine. We just need to make sure we’re defending our rights and not creating new rights for criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens.

Please know that if I do something you don’t understand, I’ll do my best to explain why. That was my goal last night because being your state representative demands accountability. And with less than five weeks to go, I want to make sure you feel confident placing your trust in me to serve District 34.