Imagine that a nine-year-old girl is playing with her dolls outside her home. In the house next door, a known drug-dealer, Red Rock, is selling drugs when he notices a rival drug-dealer, Yellow Man, with whom he had an earlier confrontation, coming down the street. Red Rock retrieves a semiautomatic assault rifle to defend himself. Shots are exchanged, and in the aftermath, the little girl, once playing innocently, lies dead.
Both Red Rock and Yellow Man claim self-defense through the unprecedented changes in the Castle Doctrine law. (Although Red Rock was a criminal, a “prohibited person” can possess a firearm for short periods of time in matters of self-defense. So long as Red Rock did not own the firearm nor live in the residence where the firearm was located, he could invoke a legal defense under the expanded Castle Doctrine.)
If law enforcement cannot prove that Red Rock was engaged in an unlawful activity and that his fear of imminent bodily harm was unreasonable, he could claim self-defense. Likewise, assuming Yellow Man could legally possess a weapon, he would be justified in using a firearm in self-defense. This eliminates any legal recourse, civil or criminal, for the violent death of an innocent nine-year-old girl. Because the legislature provided blanket immunity for “self-defense,” courts are faced with situations
in which a deadly defense may be legally justified, even if negligently or recklessly executed.
On the other hand, if the Castle Doctrine had not been expanded, Red Rock would have been required to retreat to anarea—such as his home—that was safe. If he had done so,then innocent bystanders would have been spared even if theconfrontation had occurred.
Would this shooting have been avoided if the Castle Doctrine were not expanded? Perhaps not, but the family of the victim would have legal remedies, and the two perpetrators could be held responsible for their actions rather than using the Castle Doctrine as a shield from the criminal and civil justice systems.
Sadly, this scenario is not fictional. It is based on a 2006 homicide case in Miami-Dade County. Source: Expansions to the Castle Doctrine