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California’s Stand Your Ground Laws

California’s Stand Your Ground Laws

California’s Stand Your Ground Laws

The last thing anyone wants is to be put in a dangerous situation where they need to defend themselves from an attacker. Unfortunately, this situation does happen on rare occasions. As if this wasn’t bad enough, there are some states in the US that don’t allow people to defend themselves with any means necessary. This means that in some states, a person who may have killed someone in self-defense, could actually face murder charges.

Due to this fact, a person needs to be aware of their state’s laws when it comes to self-defense, particularly stand your ground laws.

Castle Defense

Here in California, the state does not have a stand your ground law, but it does have a Castle Doctrine. Penal Code 198.5 allows a person to use deadly force within their own home so long as certain worries arise. As long as all of the following occurs, a person is allowed to use deadly force to protect their home:

  • A person broke into their home.
  • The intruder was not a law enforcement officer doing their job.
  • There was reasonable fear of death or injury for the homeowner or a family member.
  • The occupants of the home didn’t provoke the intruder.

In those instances, a person can do whatever they need to in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.

Self-Defense While Out

The problem with Penal Code 198.5 is that it only applies when a person is in their own home. It doesn’t give a person the right to defend themselves while out in public. This is where stand your ground laws come into play in other states. These laws grant a person the ability to do what they feel they need to in times of distress in order to protect themselves from an attacker.

California does not have a particular stand your ground law. However, California does recognize that there are times where a person may need to use deadly force in order to defend themselves. California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) 505 and 506 instruct jurors to find defendants innocent of crimes such as homicide or assault if the person acted reasonably under the given circumstances, specifically:

  • The person reasonably believed they were in danger of being hurt or killed.
  • The person reasonably believed they needed to use force to keep themselves safe.
  • The person used only the amount of force necessary to protect themselves.

As long as a person followed the above, they should be found innocent.

In some states, a person needs to run away from a threat before they are legally permitted to use deadly force. That is not the case in California. As long as a person is defending themselves from threat of injury or death, they can do whatever they reasonably feel they need to in order to survive.

Stand Your Ground Vs. Castle Defense

While both stand your ground laws and castle defense laws refer to a person defending themselves from an attacker, they are not exactly the same. Stand your ground laws apply wherever a person may be while castle defense only applies when a person is within their own home or a few select places, such as their car.

No one ever wants to need to defend themselves, but the need can arise in rare instances. If a person ever finds themselves needing to protect themselves in California, they can rest easy knowing that the state will not fault them for doing whatever they felt was necessary to protect themselves during the situation.

What do you think of California’s take on stand your ground laws and castle defense?

Should people be allowed to use reasonable, even deadly, force in order to defend themselves from an attacker? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

 

Could Banning Facial Recognition Become The New Norm?

Could Banning Facial Recognition Become The New Norm?

Could Banning Facial Recognition Become The New Norm?

Today’s modern world has a lot of technology that at one point had simply been considered science fiction. Things such as ear buds, video calls, and mobile phones were just cool, out of this world ideas when they were first depicted in books and movies. Nowadays, they are a part of everyday life for most individuals. While many of these things are welcomed with open arms, some technologies are a bit invasive.

One such example of invasive tech would be facial recognition. With cameras everywhere, law enforcement agencies are able to use this kind of technology to locate people of interest in cases and bring them into justice. However, these electronic eyes are always watching, and this causes some concern amongst some people. That is why one U.S. city is considering banning the use of this technology, or at the very least, limiting its uses.

San Francisco May Be The First To Ban Facial Recognition

The city of San Francisco is no stranger when it comes to creating new laws in uncharted territory. The city has been doing this for years now, and is currently considering a ban on facial recognition technology due to its invasive nature. The current proposed law would prohibit the San Francisco police from using the software, but not affect businesses or people from using the software. It also would not prevent the software from being used at San Francisco International Airport or the Port of San Francisco.

While facial recognition technology is an incredibly helpful tool, especially for law enforcement agencies, it is also very invasive. Essentially, any camera out there in the world can be used to locate a single person. This is very helpful for manhunts, but can be dangerous if used by people with less than honest intentions. According to the New York Times, there is a fifty percent chance that a person’s face is already in a law enforcement’s database by the time they reach adulthood.

Another problem comes from a recent study published by MIT Media Lab. The study found that the facial recognition software tended to make mistakes with identifying a person’s gender if they were female or had darker skin.

It is the possible invasion of privacy and large room for error that gives some people cause for concern. However, while some people are against the technology, they do recognize its practical uses. This leads to some people supporting some sort of limitations on the technology, instead of an outright ban. This way, it can be used as needed, or allowed to come back once the tech has a better success rate.

What This Could Mean For The Rest Of The Country

Other cities and states, such as nearby Oakland and even Massachusetts, have also considered placing bans on facial recognition technology. It is safe to assume that they, along with other locations, will be paying close attention to San Francisco. Depending on how things go there, they may copy the ban or make alterations to better suite their needs or beliefs.

There is no denying that facial recognition software has many benefits, especially in the law enforcement field. The technology can help officers locate wanted criminals, or track down missing children. This is a very powerful tool. However, its strength comes at the cost of privacy. This technology looks at everyone, whether they want it to or not, and once they are in the facial recognition database, they likely earn’t getting out of it, if they ever even realize that they are there. That is what scares some people, and causes them to look for some sort of restrictions on the technology.

What do you think of facial recognition software?

Is it a helpful tool for police officers, or is it too invasive to a person’s privacy? Is San Francisco right in the idea that the tech should be outright banned, or should they do something a little less permanent? Should other cities and states follow suite? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

 

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