Saturday, April 20, 2013

Criminals Can Also Defend Themselves with Deadly Force

The Seattle Times

A 36-year-old Puyallup man has pleaded not guilty to a federal indictment on gun and marijuana-manufacturing charges after he killed two people in December while protecting his marijuana grow operation.

If convicted, Jeremy Peter Capodanno could face a 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence — and possibly as many as 40 years — for drug trafficking and for using a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The government is also seeking to seize his property, including two homes, and vehicles.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Thursday that his office formalized its decision not to charge Capodanno for the shootings.

“Regardless of whether you are operating an illegal enterprise, you still have the right to to use deadly force in defense of yourself or others or your property,” he said. “It is undisputed that these men were armed intruders.”

The federal indictment said Capodanno was armed with a 9-mm Glock handgun. Police also found two assault-style rifles, a Tec-9 semiautomatic handgun and a shotgun.

“This defendant chose to enter the illegal drug business, and armed himself to protect his trade, not his home,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said. “This conduct brought thieves to his door, put his 7-year-old son at risk, and ended with him taking two lives.”

It doesn't sound to me like the prosecutor did him any favors.  Allowing that he was justified in the shooting and then charging him with  "using a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking" sounds like bullshit to me.  He was growing pot, for crying out loud.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. The use in furtherance was for simply having the gun with him at the drug field. That's how broadly some of those laws are written. It's just one of the types of overbreadth in how some of our gun laws are written.

    This is why we fuss when a new proposal is badly written--there's already far too much of this, both in our gun laws, and the criminal laws as a whole.

  2. The "war on drugs" is going through some changes and right now is a bit conflicted with itself. On one hand it is intentionally backing away from Washington and Colorado in response to the state level of legalization of marijuana. But somehow needs to enforce the laws pertaining to the less publically acceptable drugs.
    How you can justifiably defend youself and family and then be charged by suggesting you were merely defending your illegal business seems like quite a leap, But you can often be suprised by creative lawyers.
    Perhaps it's time to end the war on drugs.

  3. The solution that's obvious to me is to legalize marijuana.

  4. As the others have basically said, end the ineffectual, unconstitutional, and immoral "War on Drugs," and the only crime here would have been the attempted robbery--and without said "War on Drugs," perhaps marijuana would be sufficiently plentiful as to not draw the prices that make it attractive as a target of robbery.