ABA Journal


Criminal Justice

Michigan man ordered to stand trial in shooting of Renisha McBride on his porch

Dec 20, 2013, 01:50 pm CST


Shooting through a closed, locked door, at someone banging on the door? Self-defense is going to be a tough case to make. Not impossible, but tough. Had it been me, I don't think shooting would have been my first action, so long as the door held; I'd be calling 911. But, if she'd managed to break the door open, the trigger would have been pulled a half-second later.

By MrBill on 2013 12 20, 2:55 pm CST

Shooting through a closed, locked door, at someone banging on the door is dumb. A self-defense defense is a non-starter.

By Esteban on 2013 12 20, 3:32 pm CST

@2 - I differ with you only slightly. I think an aquittal is possible if he can play up the fear that he felt, and if he's lucky enough to get a sympathetic jury. I do think it's extremely unlikely to happen, however.

By MrBill on 2013 12 20, 3:59 pm CST

The facts aren't clear, even in this article, despite the rush to judgement. Was the door (only a screen door) locked or being violently slammed?

It sounds like calling the police was a nonstarter - they already hadn't responded in 40 minutes to an accident with injuries which was only a few blocks away.

By Dr Phun on 2013 12 20, 5:39 pm CST

#4 - I had similar thoughts. A typical screen door is not much of an obstacle to intrusion. On the other hand, why didn't he just shut the main door, which typically presents much more of an obstacle.

It is not clear anyone called the police (the article says an ambulance was called, and while most of us would call 911 to get an ambulance, and the dispatcher would send the police, that's not clear). However, the homeowner couldn't have known the police weren't showing up at the site of the car accident. So the fact that he didn't call the police is not going to help him here.

Looking at this more broadly, while being drunk in public should not be punished extra-judicially with a death sentence, people who get drunk have pretty much got to expect that bad things may happen to them by accident which would not have happened were they sober, or nearly so. This may be a tough one to resolve. I think I have read of home invasions where the ploy to get inside the house was a car accident. Given the initial claim of "the gun went off on its own," maybe such thoughts were not running through this guy's head, though.

By Walt Fricke on 2013 12 21, 12:37 am CST

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