Florida stand Your ground law?

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WBraun

climber
Mar 21, 2012 - 10:47am PT
The way all laws are set up in the world are:

You can shoot anyone anytime you want anywhere.

You just have to make sure you do it right ...... :-)
rectorsquid

climber
Lake Tahoe
Mar 21, 2012 - 10:50am PT
I think that regardless of the self-defense issue, any time someone kills someone else, they should be locked up that minute. There needs to be a period of time when the cops can investigate the incident so that they can determine if the shooter is completely nuts and likely to run around killing more people. Maybe it's cool to let someone go a few hours later but they should have initially treated this like a murder until there was any evidence at all either way.

The fact that the victim was unarmed and going about his lawful business seems like enough reason to throw out the self-defense claim immediately. There should be no "I'm a pansy with a gun and got myself into this situation because I'm an ass" defense!

It would suck for the victim but society may have been better off if this guy found another gun and killed another person a few hours later. That would have gotten rid of this concept of going scot-free after a shooting.

Dave
Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 21, 2012 - 10:55am PT
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony"

Many readers have asked whether, given the 911 recordings, a case against Zimmerman would be easier than most homicides in which "self-defense" is cited by a defendant. In Florida, the answer probably is no: The courts' interpretation of the stand-your-ground law has been extremely broad—so broad that, to win an acquittal, a defendant doesn't even have to prove self-defense, only argue for it, while to win a conviction the prosecution has to prove that self-defense was impossible.

Numerous cases have set the precedent in Florida, with the courts arguing that the law "does not require defendant to prove self-defense to any standard measuring assurance of truth, exigency, near certainty, or even mere probability; defendant's only burden is to offer facts from which his resort to force could have been reasonable." When a defendant claims self-defense, "the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense." In other words the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt never shifts from the prosecution, so it's surprisingly easy to evade prosecution by claiming self-defense.

This has led to some stunning verdicts in the state. In Tallahassee in 2008, two rival gangs engaged in a neighborhood shootout, and a 15-year-old African American male was killed in the crossfire. The three defendants all either were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, because the defense successfully argued they were defending themselves under the "stand your ground" law. The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, was beside himself. "Basically this law has put us in the posture that our citizens can go out into the streets and have a gun fight and the dead person is buried and the survivor of the gun fight is immune from prosecution," he said at the time.
Alan Rubin

climber
Amherst,MA.
Mar 21, 2012 - 02:21pm PT
It is worth noting that there has been more than a two-fold increase in "justifiable homicides" in Florida since the law went into effect. Most places "justifiable homicide" is a very rare determination (unless it's cops doing the shooting--a whole 'nother story)but it now seems to be pretty routine in Florida. The law in every state, including Florida pre-"stand your ground" allows the use of force, even deadly force, in self-defense in certain strictly-defined circumstances. By enacting this vast expansion of pre-existing law Florida (and probably some other states as well?) has effectively given a license to kill to armed yohos like Zimmerman--and there are plenty of others like him out there (and maybe even a few on here).
Barbarian

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Mar 21, 2012 - 03:26pm PT
I'm afraid for my safety with laws like this on the books. What are the implications of that?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 21, 2012 - 03:34pm PT
Heinlein predicted it. The world gets more and more dangerous.
Being out in public puts you at risk.

Lock yourselves in. Work from home. Order food.

Climb in your dreams...





My prediction;
Zimmerman gets convicted of violating the civil rights of the kid in federal court, then gets taken to the cleaners in civil court but the victim's family never collects half.
Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:05pm PT
I'm afraid for my safety with laws like this on the books. What are the implications of that?

When "stand your ground" laws are combined with more and more concealed carry laws, the implications are pretty clear.

If somebody gives you a dirty look on the street, you can just cap their ass. You believed they were a threat. They might be carrying, after all.

I once knew a group of NRA and CRPA competition shooters. When they were all sitting around together, the main topic of conversation was hoping somebody would screw with them on the street. They were all drooling to plug somebody. Now these new laws are bringing paradise to their door.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:11pm PT
Thanks, Gary, for the clarification. The broad interpretation of the "fear" defense makes the law's application irrational, if not immoral. It sickens me to think that a Zimmerman can escape prosecution, much less, As El Cap points out, that he's potentially even insulated from civil liability. I wonder if federal Civil Rights legislation applies. That would at least trump the immunity from civil suits.

In contrast, I think someone inside a dwelling or a car has every right to believe he or she is in imminent danger of great bodily harm if someone else is trying to enter forcibly. People entering forcibly should have to overcome a very high burden of proof to show that an occupant used unreasonable force. Frankly, a law like Florida's seems, to me, perfectly justified if confined to forcible entry of occupied dwellings or cars, or walking into your home and finding an intruder. The Zimmerman situation, however, looks like a travesty right out of the worst days of the post-Reconstruction South.

John

Edit: Piton Ron, I see you beat me to it.
Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:15pm PT
In contrast, I think someone inside a dwelling or a car has every right to believe he or she is in imminent danger of great bodily harm if someone else is trying to enter forcibly.

You betcha. John, your a professional, how do you think this will evolve?

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Gary,

There have been plenty of civil cases in which an intruder has sued the homeowner for excessive force. In most places, there's no presumption or immunity to help the homeowner. The intruder usually loses, but so does the homeowner, because the allegations require an expensive defense, and there is no "loser pays" shifting of attorney's fees.

Contrast that with the booby-trap cases. For example, an owner of a seldom-used cabin rigs a spring gun while he or she is absent. Intruder opens the door and gets shot. The homeowner loses in that situation, because he or she was not at bodily risk.

The real problem with the Florida law is section (3) which, as you point out, basically allows violence whenever and wherever you feel like it. If one Zimmerman-type killed another Zimmerman-type, that would just be Darwinian promotion of natural selection. When, on the other hand, Zimmerman kills a completely innocent victim . . . I don't even need to finish the sentence. The unspeakable injustice is obvious.

John
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:30pm PT
Hopefully the Feds will come in and prosecute this jackass and send him to prison for most of the rest of his life.

Edit: Good prediction, Ron.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Mar 21, 2012 - 04:50pm PT
The state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, was beside himself. "Basically this law has put us in the posture that our citizens can go out into the streets and have a gun fight and the dead person is buried and the survivor of the gun fight is immune from prosecution," he said at the time.

This law favors whoever is the fastest to draw and shoot, so long as is able to shoot to kill. Dead men tell no tales.

This law is good, if are a killer.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
How fast would the guy have gone to jail if he was black and shot a white kid?

There are some freaking ignorant SOB's overseeing the application of our laws in some of these places. His ass should be in jail until he can prove he was in danger. He F-ing killed an unarmed kid on a public street for Buddhas sake!

I lived in Georgia for a while and love the South for the most part, but some of them haven't joined the 21st century yet.

Pretty soon some will bust a cap on you for flipping them off.

They should fence off part of Texas for people that want to believe they still live in the Wild West. They can carry in the open and kill eachother for any percieved insult.

BTW - If someone breaks into my house, they better see me first. I don't have a gun, but I have a pretty sharp samurai sword and won't hesitate to remove the threat or portions there of.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 21, 2012 - 06:29pm PT
Sean Connery's line in The Untouchables comes to mind when I hear somebody boast of their ability with a hand held edged weapon.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 06:39pm PT
Yep. Not a boast though. It is all I have ;-)

Haven't heard of too many people getting accidentally killed with sword.

Just a personal choice.
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 21, 2012 - 06:54pm PT
Fattrad,

I remember. I lived in LA during the peak of the road rage shootings.

I remember a movie with Steve Martin (I think the programable freeway signs were talking to him) where he told the passenger "Cover me, I am going to change lanes".

Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 21, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
There have been numerous cases in So. Calif. of shots fired over getting flipped off on the freeway.

The difference, fattrad, is that in Florida, and the other states that are adapting this, the shooter will get off. A car is a deadly weapon, after all.

The Indiana law is interesting, too. You can plug "public servants" entering your house. The Republicans that passed it say it won't do what it says, but...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 21, 2012 - 07:52pm PT
In Cal they shoot for flipping the bird but in Florida they don't bother flipping off drivers because they are mostly octogenerians who can't see to begin with.

You might not be safe from pistolero vigilantes walking around the neighborhood but the roads are worse!
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Mar 22, 2012 - 02:47pm PT
You says that he is following Trayvon and then at 2:18 mutters "f*#king coons." You can clearly hear it.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2012/03/22/probably_a_bad_idea_to_mutter_a_racial_slur_on_a_911_call.html

Gary

climber
"My god - it's full of stars!"
Mar 22, 2012 - 05:11pm PT
http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/florida-shooting-focuses-attention-on-stand-your-ground-law/

Trevor Dooley stood his ground, brandished his gun and killed a man after an argument over local skateboarding rules in a Florida town.

He argued in court last month that he had a right to do so under the state’s Stand Your Ground law...

...the law is currently being invoked as a key defense by Mr. Dooley.

The man he killed, David James, had been playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter in September 2010 when he and Mr. Dooley began arguing over whether a boy on a skateboard had a right to ride on the court, according to an account in The St. Petersburg Times. There was a “physical confrontation,” the police said, during which Mr. Dooley fired the weapon he was carrying, killing Mr. James in front of his daughter.

“You agree you do not want to go to prison for killing David James?” he was asked at the trial, according to televised footage from the courtroom.

“I don’t think I should,” responded Mr. Dooley, who has been charged with manslaughter but says he feared for his life during the altercation with Mr. James.

His lawyers are seeking to have the case dismissed by a judge on the grounds that the Stand Your Ground law permitted him to defend himself with deadly force...

...Q: Can an unarmed person legally pose a deadly threat?

In case after case during the past six years, Floridians who shot and killed unarmed opponents have not been prosecuted. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer, a major force behind the law’s passage, cited her own size and age in 2006 interview with the Sentinel about what she would do if confronted by a younger and larger aggressor.

“I’m 4-foot-11. I’m 67 years old,” she said. “If you came at me, and I felt that my life was in danger or that I was going to be injured, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot you.”
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