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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: August 5, 2013 10:45 AM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Castle Doctrine Amendments
 
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend the current Castle Doctrine statute in Pennsylvania.

Castle Doctrine law in the Commonwealth, most recently amended via Act 10 of 2011, provides for a subjective rather than objective standard of defense. My legislation would remove the subjectivity of the law and create a more clear-cut, objective defense.

Particularly, under Title 18, Section 2, §503 (Justification generally), a new subsection would be added to ensure an affirmative defense is specifically laid out. This would be done by requiring that in order for deadly force to be used as justification for conduct resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another, an actor charged with an offense must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the actor was justified in the use of such deadly force at the time of the commission of the offense. Such a defense would not be admissible if the actor claiming such justification acted in direct contravention to or recklessly disregarded the instruction or direction of any peace officer or public safety official.

My language would also eliminate the presumption standard for the use of deadly force outside a dwelling, residence or vehicle and provide that an actor “may prove that he has” a reasonable belief that deadly force is immediately necessary when force is used outside the aforementioned places.

In addition, my bill would strike out the civil immunity provision under Title 42, Section 7, §8340.2 when an action was taken outside a dwelling, residence or vehicle.

The legislation would not change existing law regarding self defense or civil immunity when it comes to actions taken in a dwelling, residence or vehicle.

I encourage all members to join me in sponsoring this important rewrite to stand your ground legislation in Pennsylvania.


Introduced as SB1093