NY: Homeowner facing charges after shooting at burglars

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Smashy, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Smashy


    Likes Received:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Southwestern Oregon
    By Rod Watson

    I’d love to be on Dennis Cherry’s jury. Of course, I’d never get the chance, even if I lived in Niagara County. All a prosecutor would have to ask me is, “Do you promise to follow the law?” and I’d be out quicker than Cherry could fire 15 rounds at a burglar’s car instead of at his head.

    If the case goes to trial, I hope 12 other people will be more circumspect during the selection process so that Cherry gets a jury of his peers—common-sense homeowners who see no reason to let burglars go free to target some other poor soul who may not have a gun.

    The Royalton homeowner, Vietnam vet and hunter should get a public service award for taking a bite out of crime. Instead, he faces two felony charges and had his guns confiscated after the Jan. 21 confrontation—the second burglary at his Akron Road home in three days. During the first, the intruders stole a handgun that Cherry could resonably assume they had.

    But Cherry was ready the second time. He held one —his 18-year-old stepdaughter—at gunpoint while her 24-year-old accomplice was in the car they drove into Cherry’s garage. He said the car lurched toward him, and that’s when he unloaded.

    For his troubles, he has a date with the district attorney.

    “Dennis did everything right that day,” said his attorney, Jon Louis Wilson, adding that Cherry had gotten hang-up calls that morning—days after the first burglary—had tried to call the investigator working on the case, and called 911 when he saw the car approach.

    As the trophy heads mounted on his wall attest, Cherry is a pretty good shot.

    “He hits what he aims at,” Wilson said.

    In fact, the most remarkable thing is the restraint Cherry showed. I’m not sure I would have aimed at the car.

    Law enforcement officials cite a “duty to retreat” when not faced with imminent threat, and they warn of a “Wild Wild West” scenario if homeowners shoot at fleeing scum.

    But what they don’t talk about is the other scenario: When the intruder sees the armed homeowner, says, “Never mind!” and feels free to claim a do-over by just walking away.

    What’s a homeowner to do? Wait until the invader comes back, perhaps when he’s asleep? Or, worse, let him pick a different house, one with somebody’s grandmother who can’t defend herself?

    Cherry’s alleged burglar was later caught, but only after Cherry disabled his vehicle.

    Two dozen states have “castle doctrine” laws that remove the duty to retreat and let a homeowner defend his castle, said Alexa Fritts, a National Rifle Association spokeswoman. Not surprisingly, New York is not on that list.

    Fritts couldn’t recall a similar instance in which the burglar allegedly tries to retreat, but notes that charges often get dropped in home-invasion cases “because people realize, ‘Let’s not victimize the victim a second time. Let’s go after the criminal here.’ ”

    When should the punishment for burglary be death? It’s a tough question.

    Maybe it’s for the burglar to decide, especially if he’s an adult. If the intruder figures it’s worth the risk, who is a nervous homeowner to argue?

    But we don’t have to answer that question here because Cherry didn’t shoot to kill. He wasn’t some Wild West cowboy. He wasn’t even Dirty Harry inviting this punk to make his day. He was just a guy who opted to spare a burglar’s life while defending his home.

    If the district attorney won’t drop the charges and give him his guns back, I hope Cherry takes it to trial.

    Even if I lived up there, I’m sure the prosecutor would never let me sit on the jury. But I’m equally sure a lot of other people feel the same way.

    The DA can’t get us all.

  2. minderasr

    minderasr NRA Life Member

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    May 19, 2009
    New York
    This nonsense needs to stop. Bring the castle doctrine to NY NOW!

  3. semper fi

    semper fi

    Likes Received:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Palm Coast,Fla.
    Perfect case for Jury Nullification. All it takes is one informed juror. :cool: