Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Castle Law" in Alabama

Tower_of_london This morning's Tuscaloosa News brings a front page story on Alabama's new "Castle Law," which expands the situations in which someone who is attacked may use deadly force. 

According to the paper:

Alabama law has always allowed residents to use force, including deadly force, to protect themselves in their homes or at work.

The new law, which took effect June 1, eliminates a provision that a resident, if threatened outside these two locations, must reasonably try to escape or flee before killing an attacker.

So why it's called the castle law is a little unclear, because the expansion of the right of self-defense apparently goes beyond the house, workplace, and car.  (I'm having trouble finding the act on the Alabama legislative service's website and it still has the older version of 13A-3-23 on its website.) 

The name of the original principle (the castle doctrine)--that you do not have to retreat if attacked in your house--is a piece of the idea that the home is a casle.  Propertyprof readers may recall Ben Barros' talk about the home as castle (paper here).  In a similar vein, Joseph Singer has an important article on The Ownership Society and Takings of Property: Castles, Investments, and Just Obligations  in the most recent issue of the Harvard Environmental Law Journal.


[The image of Windsor Castle is provided by our friends at wikipedia.]

Alfred L. Brophy

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