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Bits And Pieces From The Chaos That Is The Internet | Main | Food Thread: Pilgrim's Progress: Turkey To Evers To Pork Roast
November 11, 2018

A Legal Opinion On The Tucker Carlson Mob From A Real Expert [Andrew Branca]

Hey fellow morons!

In the aftermath of the attack at the home of Tucker Carlson I’ve been kindly invited to do a brief guest post on use-of-force law in the context of defense of one’s home.

It’s a humbling honor I could hardly decline.

Use-of-force law gets complicated fast when we’re talking about defensive force in the context of highly-defensible property, such as ne’s home. American jurisdictions have taken wide variety of approaches to achieving what they each feel is the appropriate balance between the value of the property rights of the defender on the one hand and the value of the life of the aggressor on the other.

That said, most jurisdictions create some special provisions for the use of deadly force in the context of highly-defensible property, such as one’s home, where the use of that same deadly defensive force would be unlawful absent the context of the highly-defensible property.

The Carlson home is located in the District of Columbia, and the relevant defense of highly-defensible property law is most conveniently found in DC criminal jury instruction 9.520, which reads in relevant part:

[A person may use deadly force to protect [[his/her [home] [business]] [a home in which s/he is a lawful occupant] if s/he has a reasonable belief that an intruder is entering the home or business with the intent to commit a felony or to do serious bodily harm to any of the occupants.]

The news reports I’ve read have indicated that the angry, threatening mob had used sufficient force against the Carlson home to substantially damage ("crack") the front door, which can be reasonably perceived as little else but an intent to unlawfully and forcibly breach and enter the home.

Would such aggressive conduct lead a reasonable resident inside that home to conclude that an intruder is attempting to enter the home with the intent to do serious bodily harm to any of the occupants—meaning not just to Mrs. Carlson but also her children present?

I rather think so.

Further, it’s worth keeping in mind that the burden on this issue is on the prosecutor, not the defender. That is, the defender need not prove that they were reasonably in such fear, and thus justified in killing the apparent intruder. The defender must merely reasonably assert that they were in such fear, which is certainly supportable on these facts, at which point the burden shifts to the prosecutor to disprove the claim beyond a reasonable doubt, and to do so to a unanimous jury.

Does it seem likely given these facts that a DC prosecutor could convince a jury unanimously and beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs. Carlson, having the duty of protecting not just herself but her children present, lacked a reasonable fear that the angry, threatening mob apparently breaching her front door intended her and her children serious bodily injury?

I think not.

The particular individuals apparently attempting to breach the Carlson’s home should be grateful every day for the rest of their lives that Mrs. Carlson was not armed with, and willing to use, deadly force upon them as they attempted their violent breach of her home.

Not only would an effective use of deadly defensive force by Mrs. Carlson been highly likely to have maimed or killed some number of them, that use of deadly defensive force would almost certainly have been found to be both lawful under DC law and a social good by American citizens generally.


Andrew was kind enough to prepare this analysis of the attack on the Carlson house with no notice at all! As many of you know he is an attorney specializing in the law of self-defense in the United States, and has written a rather good layman's book on state-specific issues. I have read it and found it quite interesting and informative. It's worth a read, especially since he is offering free shipping until midnight tonight, because we are such a wonderful (and profane) audience!

In addition to his legal work, Andrew is a lecturer at the FBI National Academy and has been cited as a subject-matter expert by the national media. He is also a gun guy! And a Moron in good standing!

Andrew provides free content at his Patreon page,, and also hosts webinars, including one tomorrow evening, Nov. 12,: a FREE two-hour live webinar on precisely this topic, the use of force in defense of highly-defensible property. He is partnering with ConcealedCarry.com. Head over to this link if you are interested.

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posted by Open Blogger at 01:45 PM

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