Another Castle Doctrine Case in Florida Heads to the Courts

There’s probably another castle doctrine case coming our way and this one takes place in Florida. Gwendolyn Jenrette of Liberty City (outside of Miami) lives in a high crime area and had previously been the victim of burglaries.

She had installed a security system with cameras which she could access from her phone and rushed home one day last week when she received an alert that her residence was being broken into yet again. At that point things went south quickly. (Washington Post)


Seventeen-year-old Trevon Johnson died Thursday night after Jenrette shot him once as he allegedly fled the scene of the home invasion, according to Miami-Dade police. There have been no indications that Johnson was armed.

The slaying of the teenage burglary suspect was reported triumphantly by local television station WSVN, which said Jenrette had “turned the tables” on Johnson.

“Police say this would-be robber chose the wrong home because this homeowner did more than just call the cops,” reported WSVN’s Brandon Beyer. “She had a gun.”

But Johnson’s family said the young man didn’t deserve to die over mere property, which they said he hadn’t even taken.

“I don’t care if she have her gun license, her rights or any of that. That is way beyond the law,” Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris told CBS Miami. “Way beyond.”

At first glance it looks like the homeowner was not only in the right, but should be in good shape with the law. Florida does have a Castle Doctrine Law and it’s been in place for more than a decade. It provides for a number of assumptions, starting with the premise that a criminal who forcibly enters or intrudes into your home or occupied vehicle is there to cause death or great bodily harm. That immediately invokes the right to use deadly force in response. The law also declares that there is no duty to retreat, that the shooter can’t be prosecuted and the perpetrator and their family cannot sue for damages from the shooting.

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