North Carolina Law Review

University of North Carolina School of Law

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Chapel Hill, NC 27514

A License to Kill? Working to Understand Texas Penal Code Section 9.42 and Deadly Force in Defense of Property

March 26, 2015

93 N.C. L. Rev. Addendum 69 (2014)


This Recent Development strives to better understand the dual nature of Texas Penal Code section 9.42, which allows for the use of deadly force in defense of property to prevent the commission of, among other crimes, "theft during the nighttime" and "criminal mischief during the nighttime." It ultimately suggests that the motivation behind the law appears to stem from Texas's tendency to equate property with livelihood. Finally, this piece argues that the time has come to bring section 9.42 more in line with other states' analogous statutes through the incorporation of a singular reasonableness standard-one that will simultaneously make section 9.42 less of an outlier and allow for the preservation of the uniquely Texan beliefs that undergird section 9.42. In the end, it is not Texas that needs to change, only section 9.42. 



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