Complete coverage of the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.

Lawmaker Aims to Modify Texas' Castle Doctrine

Lawmaker wants law to focus on incidents in homes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Castle Doctrine allows homeowners to protect themselves if someone is threatening their home or property, but one lawmaker says your car isn't your castle and wants to change the law. (Published Friday, Feb 8, 2013)

    Lawyers and lawmakers met in Dallas on Friday to discuss the state's stand-your-ground laws.

    The meeting was part of a larger meeting put together by the American Bar Association at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

    State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said he favors reviewing the state's stand-your-ground laws. West added that he favors reviewing all laws after they've been implemented.

    But state Rep. Garnet Coleman, of Houston, said he's ready to change part of the law.

    "The idea is, if you're threatened in your home, you should be able to use force," he said. "But if you're threatened on the street, the Castle Doctrine was never designed to say that anybody anywhere, if they perceive they've been threatened, can shoot someone."

    The Castle Doctrine states that "a person is justified in using force and in some instances, deadly force to repel an aggressor." The law applies in a person's home and even at a place of work or in someone's car.

    But the language of the law is too subjective, Coleman said.

    "This is where people's prejudices and their thoughts come in," he said. "This is very subjective, and that is one of the challenges with the law. It's too subjective. If you look at who's been harmed, it's mostly people of color."

    Coleman said he also thinks the law should only refer to incidents in a home.

    "The thought that your car is your castle, and the thought that a parking lot is your castle, and the thought that the public street is your castle -- it is not," he said.

    The bill hasn't been filed yet, but Coleman plans to file it this session.