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How self-defense is covered under law

Following Tuesday’s ongoing investigation on a Pocatello man who shot an intruder who forced his way into his home, here’s a look at how the law protects those who act in self-defense.

According to the Defense of Habitation law, or the Castle Law, people have the right to use force if someone is breaking into their home.

Russ Shissler, a resident who lives in the same neighborhood the shooting occurred, said he would have acted the same way given only seconds to make a snap decision.

“That is man’s instinct,” Shissler said. “To protect himself, his home and his family. Sometimes we do what we have to do and sometimes it gets a little out of hand, and people get hurt, but they shouldn’t be coming into our space.”

Shissler said safety had never been an issue in their South Fifth Avenue neighborhood before the shooting took place at around 5:30 Monday afternoon.

This form of protection falls under what is called the Castle Doctrine, and even local law enforcement officials say they have to deal with this area of self-defense on an almost-daily basis.

“In a police officer’s situation, we can’t use more than a reasonable force necessary,” Pocatello Police Department’s Lieutenant Paul Manning said. “I think our courts are set up on a reasonable standard.”

With the key word being “reasonable,” Manning also noted the importance of being able to protect oneself while still acting in a reasonable manner.

“To try and pin down exactly when you can and can’t (act), it’s using the reasonable force necessary to protect you and your family,” Manning said.

However, Corey Johnson’s arrest is related to various drug-related charges, including possession of marijuana that police found growing in his home.

Here is the link to the Johnson shooting story:

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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