The Jefferson County District Attorney is pursuing charges against an 82 year old man who protected his property, and his life, with a firearm back in February of 2010. Two suspected illegal immigrants, who attempted to steal a trailer from Robert Wallace and run him over with a pickup truck, were finally arrested Friday in connection with the case. Robert Wallace, the 82 year old homeowner, still faces 12 felony charges, including four counts of attempted first degree murder. Furthermore, the two suspected illegal immigrants went months without being charged at all.
Dave Dechant, spokesman for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office explained that Colorado’s “Make My Day” law only applies to homeowners protecting themselves in their homes. The Wheat Ridge Police Department Public Information officer, Lisa Stigall, echoed that interpretation of the law by saying “it specifically talks about inside your dwelling, inside your home. Not in your front yard, not on the street.” (As if, somehow, having four walls and a roof is a requisite to defending one’s life and property. But I digress.) The 12 felony charges are being pursued after Wallace fired two shots at the alleged burglars when they attempted to steal a trailer on his property and run him over in the process. One of the shots connected, and one suspect was hospitalized.
But the DA’s assessment of Colorado’s “Make My Day” law might not be completely accurate. The law does, in fact, speak specifically about the right to defend property and life within the confines of a dwelling, but it seems disingenuous to assert that the instant a threat or confrontation moves onto the front lawn homeowners have no right to protect themselves. Furthermore, the audacity of criminals is often emboldened by the limitations and restrictions placed upon law abiding citizens to defend themselves. It is appalling and saddening that the honest and hardworking have to fight and pray for freedom, while the criminals and punks commit crimes with near immunity. (The two suspects in this case were finally arrested July 7th, after ICE threatened to deport them on unrelated immigration violations.)
So while the law does specifically address the rights of homeowners to defend themselves with deadly force inside their home, (and omits any stated right to do so outside) the law also lays specific justifications for a law-abiding citizen to utilize deadly force in defense of property and person. Specifically it states the following:
18-1-704 Use of physical force in defense of a person.
(2) Deadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes a lesser degree of force is inadequate and:
(a) The actor has reasonable ground to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury; or
(b) The other person is using or reasonably appears about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling or business establishment while committing or attempting to commit burglary as defined in sections 18-4-202 to 18-4-204; or
(c) The other person is committing or reasonably appears about to commit kidnapping as defined in section 18-3-301 or 18-3-302, robbery as defined in section 18-4-301 or 18-4-302, sexual assault as set forth in section 18-3-402, or in section 18-3-403 as it existed prior to July 1, 2000, or assault as defined in sections 18-3-202 and 18-3-203.
In short, Colorado Citizens do not have the right to defend themselves with deadly force only in the confines of a “dwelling,” so long as there is reasonable justification for such action. Our right to self defense, and defense of our property, does not disappear the instant we step outside of our front door. Moreover, what right is it of the government to dictate when, if, and how one can protect their life and limb?
However, setting aside the bastardization of Colorado law, the simple fact that the victim of a robbery is faced with jail time for the rest of his life certainly merits an outrage. It is a bastardization of freedom to take legal action against a homeowner who, in defense of his property and life, took action against two thugs who the system nearly let free.
To what damaging extent has common sense fled our system? George Washington once said that we are a nation of laws, not of men. However, those laws were supposed to be orchestrated to preserve our freedom and defend the innocent against the intentions of the malicious; not used to punish the righteous for defending their property.
As Robert Wallace’s arraignment nears (September 7th, 2010) it will be interesting to see how the District Attorney continues to justify his attack on a Colorado homeowner for resisting victimization. Perhaps not all the facts are being made clear, but from the reported nuances of the event it seems common sense, and preservation of self defense, is under assault in Jefferson County.
Below is an open letter to the District Attorney’s office for Jefferson County Colorado. Feel free to copy and paste this message, or write your own, and send forward it to the DA’s office. Click here for the Jeffco DA’s contact information.
To whom it may concern;
The right of a free man to defend his property and his life with lethal force is a right that cannot afford to be infringed upon. Criminals thrive on the leniency of the justice system, and the inactions of the innocent. Do not belittle our right to self defense by casting upon Robert Wallace burdensome and fallacious charges.
I hereby encourage you to revisit and reevaluate the charges against Mr. Robert Wallace. Our rights as homeowners and Colorado Citizens are being assaulted by this apparent attack on his actions. Make public the specific reasons for each of the 12 Felony charges, or drop them.
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