I think that is the point of those signs.
A notice that leaves nothing open to interpretation.
If someone reads the sign and ignores it then that person is of
your later observation (ie. burlar) because burglars are the
ones who ignore the sign. So, now the burglar and the property
owner are in agreement as to the persuasion of the would be
I've always wanted to have some signs printed up saying "Trespassers
will be eaten."
On the serious side:
In many (most) areas of the U.S., the Castle Doctrine only applies to
the inside of your house/trailer/car, not all of your property.
In many areas, you can legally shoot someone trespassing on your
property, but ONLY if you have very specifically worded signs at
minimum intervals around your property. Using your creatively worded
signs won't cut it legally.
I knew some of the comments were in jest, but for anyone who might not
know, in most of the U.S. at least any kind of intentional booby trap
is illegal even if no one has any legal reason to be there. And they
are certainly the definition of "premeditation" if that turns out to
An old man calls the cops and tells them someone is trying to get into
his shed. Cops say they are very busy and since no one is trying to get
into his house turn on a bunch of lights and lock all doors.
Old man waits five minutes and calls back. Tells cops there is no hurry
since he just shot the SOB. Hangs up. THREE minutes later first sirens
followed by multiple cop cars and an ambulance. Cops can't find anyone.
Where is the bad guy? Old man says "I thought you were very busy".
Use of deadly force against a simple trespasser alone is never justified.
Use of booby traps is universally condemned and considered illegal
everywhere. There are any number of people who can lawfully enter your
property without your knowledge and even against your wishes.
* A peace officer with a warrant,
* Fireman, paramedic, animal control officer, or anyone else under exigent
* A child who has no criminal capability,
* A simple civil trespasser,
* Meter reader, postman, delivery service, and the like
* And maybe a hundred other classifications.
You should read a little about Joe Horn. I wish I had him for a
Robbery, Breaking and Entering, or whatever the perpetrators would have
been charged with if they had lived is *not* an offense punishable by death.
I find it difficult to believe that even if the *cops* had been called
and had witnessed the break-in or saw the perps exiting the building
carrying the loot, they would have shot to kill.
You are correct in that the penalty imposed by the state for robbery or
burglary does not include the death penalty. However, here we're talking
about the prevention or apprehension done by non-governmental citizens.
Texas Penal Code Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY.
A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land
or tangible, movable property:
(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under
Section 9.41; and
(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is
(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary,
robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal
mischief during the nighttime; or
(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing
burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from
escaping with the property; and
(3) he reasonably believes that:
(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other
(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the
land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of
death or serious bodily injury.
Texas Penal Code Sec. 9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY.
A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to
protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the
circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be
justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to
protect his own land or property and:
(1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes
attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible,
movable property; or
(2) the actor reasonably believes that:
(A) the third person has requested his protection of the land or
(B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property;
(C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly
force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the
actor, or is under the actor's care.
Remember, this is TEXAS, not some pussy-whipped, left-coast, malfunctioning
Good question. The question that goes to the police, the prosecutor, and,
perhaps ultimately, to the jury is: "Would a reasonable person in the same
or similar circumstances have concluded the trespasser was a threat?"
If the trespasser is in MY bedroom at 3:00 a.m., wearing a mask and armed
with a chainsaw, each of the above evaluators would probably tilt in one
direction. If, however, the deceased is a letter-carrier with a
signature-required letter in one hand and my door-knocker gripped in the
other, the decision might tip in the other way.
On the situations that fall between these two extremes, its probably best to
shoot first and tell the cops: "He screamed he was going to kill me!"
Actually, it's probably better to tell the cops nothing. And there's no
requirement that you even HAVE to even CALL the cops. Maybe after the ball
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