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See also Deadly force to protect property. A weapon set to automatically discharge at an entryway to a building intending to harm a trespasser.


At common law, in general, deadly force could not be used solely for the protection of property. (See Model Penal Code, supra, § 3.06, com. 8; Perkins on Criminal Law, supra, p. 1026, fn. 6; 13 Stan.L.Rev. 566, 575-576.) ''The preservation of human life and limb from grievous harm is of more importance to society than the protection of property.'' (Commonwealth v. Emmons, 157 Pa.Super. 495 [43 A.2d 568, 569], quoting from 4 Am.Jur., Assault and Battery, § 63; accord, Simpson v. State, 59 Ala. 1, 14; see also Prosser on Torts, p. 115; 35 Yale L.J. 525, 528.) Thus a defendant is not warranted in using deadly force to protect his personal property.


At common law, in England, it was held that a trespasser, having knowledge that there are spring guns in a wood, cannot maintain an action for an injury received in consequence of his accidentally stepping on the wire of such gun. (Ilott v. Wilkes (1820) 3 Barn. & Ald. 304.) That case aroused such a ...

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