Law expert explains ‘stand your ground’ law following home invasion

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A law expert at Indiana Tech weighs in on people’s rights to protect their home following a shooting during a home invasion Monday morning. It happened in the 700 block of Guildford Avenue at the corner of South Wayne Avenue, south of downtown.

According to police, two armed suspects went into an apartment on Guildford Avenue trying to rob the place. The three people inside the home tried to lock themselves inside a room. That’s when one of the suspects fired a shotgun through the closed door. One of the men inside the room grabbed a gun himself and opened fire hitting one of the suspects several times. The other suspect took off running.

So the question is: What rights do you have if someone breaks into your home? According to Chuck MacLean, Associate Professor of Law at Indiana Tech, people have the legal right to protect their home from an intruder even if that means using deadly force.

Indiana is one of the states that adheres to the controversial “stand your ground” law. It wasn’t always that way though. Originally there was the “castle doctrine.” Under the castle doctrine, a person who is being threatened must retreat from the threat as much as possible before responding in self defense. Now, there is no longer an obligation to retreat to safety.

“Under the stand your ground law there is no long an obligation to retreat even if you can to a place of safety,” said MacLean. “You can still use deadly force to protect an assault in your home or an invasion of your home.”

Based on what we know about the home invasion on Guildford, McLean believes the homeowner is within his right to use deadly force.

“I understand that the intruders brought at least one weapon with them. At lease one gun was discharged at the scene perhaps in the direction of the homeowner and he shot back,”said MaClean. “In that circumstance there’s a clear appropriate use of force.”

The suspect who was shot is in critical condition. Police are still looking for the other suspect.

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