Sen. Royce West Challenges Texas’ Castle Law After Florida Shooting

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you believe that a man or woman’s home is their castle, then perhaps you feel the same way as handgun owner, Mike Schneider. “I feel it’s important to be able to protect my family,” said Schneider.

In Texas, the Castle Doctrine allows residents to protect their property from intruders. “In Texas, if somebody is trying to get into your house or get into your car, you have a right to use deadly force to stop them,” explained CBS 11 legal analyst, Jerry Loftin. “You don’t have to wait until they’re inside the place,” added Loftin.

In Florida, the “Stand Your Ground” law gives residents there a much wider scope outside of the home to use deadly force, rather than retreat.

Florida’s law also allows police on the scene to determine whether self-defense was justified.  Police discretion sometimes means that self-defense cases are not always filtered through the legal system for the courts to decide.

Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, spoke at  UT-Arlington Friday and said the claim of self-defense in the Trayvon Martin case should not have been left up to the sole discretion of the police. “How will a police officer know if a person is standing their ground until there is an investigation”, asked Bush. “Clearly, there should have been an investigation and clearly that’s what’s happening now,” the former Governor added.

Nearly 300 students, neighbors and children rallied Friday on the campus of Paul Quinn College in South Dallas. They too questioned the Florida law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, to go free after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Democratic State Senator, Royce West of Dallas, says the Florida shooting has him rethinking the Castle Law in Texas. “I’m going to ask the Lt. Governor to have the Criminal Justice Committee of the Senate study the Castle Doctrine in light of the Trayvon Martin assassination in Florida,” West told the applauding crowd.

sen royce west Sen. Royce West Challenges Texas Castle Law After Florida Shooting

State Sen. Royce West - (D) Dallas

The shooting has even President Barack Obama challenging Florida’s law and other laws like it. “I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen”, said President Obama. “That means we examine the laws and the context for what happened,” the President added.

Those calling for Zimmerman’s arrest want to know why he pursued Trayvon Martin, despite being told by a 911 operator that it was unnecessary, and that he should wait for police to arrive.

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  • Sen. Royce West Challenges Texas’ Castle Law After Florida Shooting « Fort Worth News Feeds

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  • Noemail

    What’s the alternative when your life is threatened? You could do like Washington DC and Chicago are doing: Disarm honest citizens, strip them of their right and ability to defend themselves, but most importantly, just remember:

    “When seconds count, the police are just minutes away.”

    • buyerbwear

      That’s exactly right. My home, my family, my castle; if you’re coming in uninvited, you run the risk of being greeted with a small piece of lead/

    • nonya

      One of the reasons to carry a weapon is because a cop is too heavy.

  • bob the builder

    Oh heck here we go!!……Got to side with the darn MINORITIES!….THATS RIGHT YOU GOT TO GET THAT MINORITY VOTE BEHIND YOU!! That was in Florida, are you going to be the one to make Texans not be able to protect thier prperty??….come on now

  • Bill

    Apples and turnips. West is just shooting his mouth off comparing two totally different laws. Leave us the heck out of Florida’s business or move down there to spout your nonsense.

  • Howard Hull

    West is an idiot! Simple as that. All these people chase is votes so that they can get reelected and steal more from the taxpayers of this great state and country. We need to completely purge the political system of these vermin! FROM THE TOP DOWN!!

  • Texan

    This guy was not defending his home or property. He was playing renegade rambo wannabe cop and threw all rules, warnings and laws to the wind. He went out picking a fight and found one in the guise of this innocent young man. Possession of Skittles does not merit being killed. Don’t think they qualify as a weapon. The man’s racist comment to the 911 operator, who was telling him not to follow, etc., will hopefully bite his ass big time.

    • Jack

      You are exactly right!!! I have no idea why the media keeps referring to this law?!?!? He was not protecting “his” home, and he clearly was in no danger. I’m so sick of the media relating this law to this case.

      • JustAThought

        The ‘Stand your ground’ law is not simply about protecting your home. It states that you have a right to protect yourself wherever you are. You do not have to flee the scene if you feel threatened. If you are not breaking the law, you have every right to protect yourself when you are in public. I am not siding with either of the two men, only trying to clarify what is intended by the law itself.

    • Doc Neaves

      what racist comment? the operator can’t order him to do or not do anything, and didn’t. you’re just full of misinformation, aren’t you? You really should try getting some facts into that decision making machine of yours.

      • No Name 12

        Hey Doc! It’s been all over the news and in countless stories about the comment he is saying on the 911 call. Why don’t you read and pay attention to more national news instead of getting your information from local news outlets. Texasn is not making things up. Get your facts straight.

    • tired of it

      BS BS BS….He was attacked from behind and NOT with a bag of skittles…u r a DA

      • CrustyOldGuy

        If you were really tired of it, you’d stfu and let the law take its course.

      • james grey

        America never heard about the Black Florida kid that SHOT 2 whites, as they were on their knees begging for mercy? So, what about that? Sure anyone that is shot is very bad & sad, but I guess it is okay for Blacks to KILL WHITES? No one should kill anyone regardless of race, color or religion. My question is Why is it that our TV and all MEDIA never covers ALL the NEWS nor ever tell the rest of the story. It is a Democrat MEDIA. That is why I listen to FOX NEWS. They tell it all.

  • JOHN


  • Steven

    Re: Trayvon Martin shooting

    How about a little objectivity, CBS 11?

    Kyle Rogers
    Charleston Conservative Examiner

    Recently, I wrote about the media’s handling of the Trayvon Martin shooting. I pointed out that on February 27th, the Fox station in Orlando interviewed the witness who called 911. The article I wrote has received tens of thousands of Facebook shares. It was also quoted at length in a recent AP article that is now syndicated all over the nation.


    Many news articles have also claimed the neighborhood is “mostly white.” This is also a lie. The neighborhood is only 49% white.


    All the way back on February 27th, the local Orlando Fox station interviewed the witness who dialed 911. Almost none of the thousands of articles since have mentioned any of the details described by the witness. Some, however, have attributed false statements to this witness. On March 16th, the Sanford police department released new details to the Orlando Sentinel. Once again, these details have been ignored or changed by the media.

    The witness reports that George Zimmerman was on the ground and Trayvon is on top of him punching him.
    The witness says that George Zimmerman was screaming and yelling for help.

    Police arrive and find Zimmerman bleeding on his face and the back of his head. He also has had grass stains on his back. All this confirms the story told by Zimmerman and the witness.
    Police play the 911 tape for Trayvon Martin’s father, who tells police that the voice screaming is not the voice of his son.


    The media also characterizes Trayvon as a “model student.” In fact, he under a five day suspension when the shooting took place. …

    • Texas_Wyatt

      Yes, he may have been on the ground. But do we know what caused the initial confrontation? Maybe Mr. Zimmerman instigated the confrontation and then was getting his A– whipped by the subject of his confrontation. I know if someone were to confront me, I would not hesitate to fight back if I were doing nothing wrong.

      • Doc Neaves

        If someone asked you what you were doing, would you assault them? Do you seriously think Zimmerman assaulted Martin? Why? What sense would that make? Martin is clearly in the wrong here, but you’ll continue to try and find some way for it to be the other way around. Face the facts. Another black youth thug assaulted someone and got shot for it. Too bad, so sad.

      • Dear Mr. Senseless

        If you think it’s ok to assault someone for following you or asking you a question, then you’re going to get yourself shot and/or arrested, tough guy.

    • bruce_4u2day

      Found your problem, FAUX news!

      • Yvette

        OMG bruce…one thing has nothing to do with another…get a life

      • Doc Neaves

        No, Bruce…we have found YOUR problem.

  • the dude

    what a shameless attempt to make self-defense a crime. of course he has no solution to what happens if you don’t defend yourself, and considering his constituency…..well, you do the math!

  • Dallas Guy

    I hate too say it…but you can always tell when election time is coming up.

  • JCSAzle

    This is the reason we do NOT need democrat senators in Texas, he should do us all a favor and relocate anywhere north of the Red River.

    • DIVA

      Oklahoma doesn’t want him either.

  • A Realist

    US law is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY: In California, you can get lifetime imprisonment for stealing a pizza or non-violent drug offenses, so that prisons are overcrowded with non-violent people (the money should be invested in healthcare, social systems, and education), and in Florida, the “Stand-Your-Ground Law” allows you to get away with murder, just by saying you felt threatened by your victim. Since the introduction of that Law, the number of killings has doubled. But everybody wants to have his own gun and can get it with no problems, and when a massacre happens, people pretend to be shocked, but just one week later, they have forgotten it completely and continue to buy–and use–guns and protest gun control. If you lose a beloved person–who cares? Remember, IN THE US, A PIZZA IS MORE VALUABLE THAN A HUMAN LIFE.

    • BigFED

      I had a case where a woman and her pre-teen daughter were robbed outside a pizza shop after picking up their order at gunpoint by a 15 year old. A citizen with a CHL license saw what was happening and came to the couples assistance. The punk pointed his gun at the CHL holder and was shot by the citizen. When the inevitable question “You shot him over a pizza? came up, his response was perfect, “No, I shot him because he pointed a gun at me!” Giving the a hole the pizza was NO guarantee the he would not have still shot the lady and/ or her daughter.

      It isn’t about WHAT is being taken, it is about the PROCESS of HOW the item is being taken!!! Ask me for it and I have a choice whether to give it to you or not. Use a weapon and you have made my choice easy.

    • Dear Surealist

      In what alternative universe do you think that a gun ban will do anything other than leave victims at the mercy of gun-toting criminals. Felons cannot own handguns and yet they still do. Your naivete is amusing.

      • BigFED

        Not amusing, potentially fatal!

      • A Realist

        Of course, there is no 100% safety. In countries with strict gun laws, massacres can happen, too. But since it is much more difficult to get guns there, massacres happen MUCH, MUCH RARER than in the US, and after massacres, gun laws are usually TIGHTENED. In the US, gun laws are sometimes even SOFTENED after massacres (e.g. guns in schools and campuses!?) , and the Stand-Your-Ground Law is a real INVITATION to killers. Fighting guns by even more guns means more massacres. As I said: If you believe a pizza is more valuable than a human being, you have no reason to mourn when a person you loved is killed. Just by a new pizza, and you have replaced him/her perfectly. This means your children’s lives are an EXTREMELY LOW price for your right to bear arms (SARCASM!!).

      • Doc Neaves

        To A Ridiculist

        To NOT have that law is a real invitation to REAL killers, those who prowled the streets before the law. How many did it take away? I don’t care if one guy died instead of robbing us, or if one guy decided to get a real job instead of robbing us, it was worth it.

        You are allowed to defend yourself, and to much offensive behavior goes unchallenged. A gun isn’t the answer until someone starts to threaten your life, and in some cases, that just means “I’ll kick your butt!”. In this case, Zimmerman had every right to follow him, but when assaulted, also had every right to shoot him. To carry a firearm in case of attack when on patrol isn’t offensive, it’s prudent. Those who tell you to leave your firearm at home should be telling you to carry it, but in these days of political correctness, they are too willing to surrender to PC as long as they get to pretend like they can carry a weapon AND use it.

    • DvlDoc

      It is a sad state of affairs when we should ever allow ourselves to be disarmed, for any reason! It would be all the more traggic to surrender this God Given Right the whining incompitent ramblings of a person who has no respectfor the institution of personal freedom and responsibility. You see “A Realist” must realize that the right to keep and bear arms is never one that our founding fathers intended to even be up for debates…Hence the “the right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” Now if we take a close look at this statement the laws that have been passed recently are not even constitutional. Of course such a little thing as the constitution never seems to stand in the way of irrational thought processes such as your own…..Please wake up!

  • Republican leaders express sympathy, support ‘stand your ground’ – Fox News | Rss News Desk | Daily News Magazine

    […] CBS Local […]

  • Ken

    The real politics have begun. Royce West called the shooting an assassination which only serves to inflame an already tragic situation. West said it just to get his name in the newspaper and on TV. He is the worst type of politician.

  • bill moore

    I will leave it up to you to see who is getting into this mess with their 2 cents

  • bruce_4u2day

    Bad call West. This Dem is keeping his 9 and his .38 close by. The “stand your ground” law does not apply to the alleged murderer Zimmerman because he chased Martin down and started the altercation.

    • Doc Neaves

      with absolutely no evidence of that, you make such a hateful statement. Were you there? None of the witnesses described what you say happened, including the one who actually saw Martin attacking Zimmerman. Tell me, if you are following someone in public, does this give them the right to attack you? Are you prevented from defending yourself? But of course, you want this to be a certain way, so don’t bother you with facts, right?

      You are what’s wrong with America.

      • Doc Neaves

        Zimmerman’s presence or actions in no way instigated a fight. By your reasoning, Martin’s presence was just as much a factor, so they split responsibility. However, witnesses say Martin was attacking Zimmerman, which would bring self-defense back into play.

      • SDM

        The 911 call proves Zimmerman was following the kid. If he would have kept his distance and stayed in his car, nobody would have been hurt. Instead he decided to play the hero and it backfired on him. Who started the fight? I do not know, I only know it wouldn’t have happened if Zimmerman didn’t create the confrontation to begin with.

  • Juju

    Royce West should keep his big fat black mouth shut. Somebody always has to take an incident and blow it up if it involves a MINORITY. Quit comparing apples to avocados. Somebody breaking into your private house,TheCastle Law, has NOTHING to do with some idiot gunning down a citizen in the middle of the street.
    I have a doormat that is beside my door that says “Forget the dog, beware of the owner”, It has a picture of a gun pointing forward. You better believe if you break into my house, I don’t care what color you are, you’ll be DEAD!

  • StandMyGround_4Ever

    Leave it to the elected-elite to shoot off their mouths before all the facts are in and known.

    Obama and Royce West should be calling for calm and review while the case is being investigated.

    Right now, they know squat. Keep you mouth shut and let this mess get sorted out.

    Obama and West are idiots for having diarrhea of the mouth.

    From the limited amount of information available, the “Stand Your Ground” law is not in play here.

    Royce, why are you asking for a review of the law??? Are you really the idiot we know you to be?

    • Juju


  • FedUpTxn

    When you ASSUME, you make an A** out of U and ME.
    There are two sides to every story.
    Might doesn’t make right!
    The only difference between races are the ones WE create for ourselves.

  • BigFED

    On his best day, Royce West is a dolt instead of an idiot!!! For an attorney, he sure does NOT know anything about the law. If the Treyvon incident had occurred in Texas, the entire process would have FULLY investigated by the police, passed on to the District Attorney and presented to the Grand Jury. In no way would the case of ended with the police saying, “Ho hum, self defense because the live guy said so!”

  • sandy

    royce west is a fool he should go away

  • Yvette

    Royce West is an idiot. Protecting your home has nothing to do with Trayvon’s murder where a man stalked him and hunted him down.

  • larianna

    Royce…please leave our state…you are a joke… are a socialist …wonder what you would do if an intruder entered your place and would do something sinister to you or your family.. The castle law is legit… why dont you look at the people who are doing home invasions…. oh yeah that would be racist…If you check our local news many of the perpetrators are minority based….hmmmmmm lately the media trying to defend the thugs vs. innocent people who defend their homes… This is the push for gun control plain and simple…. Many who are Dems on here take notice of your leadership…..before it is too late… Socialism is prevalent …and it starts from the top…..some of the things the media has been posting is ludicruos


    On 8:02am, June 8th 2008, 24-year-old Kenneth Bain, was coming from a bachelor party at 8:15 a.m. Sunday. Bain, according to police, struck bike riders Meredith Hatch and Mike Alfaro from behind with a Lincoln Navigator. The collision was so harsh it tore up the hood of the car and killed the two bicyclists instantly. Bain’s family hired Senator Royce West to help defend their son form intoxication manslaughter charges. West was able to use his influence to reduce Bain’s sentence to two years for killing two people.

  • raymond

    I have had tires slashed, autos keyed, and personal threats, so I am supposed to call police, if they ever show up it’s over. These acts or performed by drug dealers, drug users and out of control teens usually Afro American or Hispanic. So how am I supposed to protect my family, hide under the bed? These people have no respect for them self’s or others. They made their beds so let them sleep in it, even if it’s in the ground.

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