Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Robert Leider: Understanding 'Stand Your Ground'
Wall Street Journal ^ | 4/18/12 | Robert Leider

Posted on 04/19/2012 1:27:33 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara

The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has spurred national outrage over Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Unfortunately, the discussion of this law has been marred by misinformation. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst, erroneously claimed that the law "allows a disproportionate response; if someone comes at you with a fist, you can reply with a gun."

Many have asserted that in Florida anyone who believes he is in danger can use deadly force, no matter how unreasonable his belief. These perceptions of the law are wrong. As compared with other states, Florida's Stand Your Ground law is neither extreme nor an outlier.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: georgezimmerman; lmm; trayvon; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
Pretty good explanation of the "Stand Your Ground" laws.
1 posted on 04/19/2012 1:27:37 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara
Mr. Zimmerman had called 911, and the dispatcher instructed Mr. Zimmerman not to pursue Martin. Had Mr. Zimmerman complied, no one would have been hurt.

The author is still assuming things not known to the public.

2 posted on 04/19/2012 11:41:30 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

As well as getting his facts wrong (no 911 call) and mischaracterizing what the dispatcher said.


3 posted on 04/19/2012 11:43:12 AM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara
Recently, a black woman, Verna McClain, repeatedly shot an killed an unarmed white woman, Kala Golden Schuchardt, and abducted her three day old infant son, Keegan Schuchardt.

If Kala had been armed, perhaps she could have defended herself.

As it is, the silence from President Obama, Jessie Jackson, and other race-baiters has been deafening.

Perhaps the fact that Keegan did not look the way the president's son might have looked, if he had a son, was the reason. Strange, because Verna McClain looks like she could have been the president's sister.

4 posted on 04/19/2012 11:53:31 AM PDT by LOC1 (Let's pick the best, not settle for a compromise.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigersEye; Cboldt; Scoutmaster; doug from upland

>>The author is still assuming things not known to the public. <<

Yes, but I think his analysis of the stand your ground law is probably pretty accurate, but I’m no attorney.


5 posted on 04/19/2012 12:15:53 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara
In short, under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Mr. Zimmerman now must show that an average person in his circumstances would have viewed the Skittle-armed Martin as a mortal threat.

It would have been better if he had left out the demagoguery, deliberate distortions and outright falsehoods. If he hands in a paper like this to his professors he should get an F on it.

6 posted on 04/19/2012 12:21:17 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

Here’s something I never understood about this stuff in general:

You can shoot if it’s to stop a felony, such as robbery, but, otherwise, if someone’s coming to just “beat you up” you can’t.

Robbery is the forcible taking of property from your person and does not have to involve a weapon. Still a felony unarmed.

So why would someone trying to beat you up not be shoot-worthy when it is if they also try to take your wallet or sneakers or what not?


7 posted on 04/19/2012 12:29:41 PM PDT by fruser1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara
Nor does the Stand Your Ground law permit individuals to use disproportionate force in self-defense. Mr. Zimmerman must demonstrate that he reasonably feared that Martin was going to kill him, cause great bodily injury (e.g., permanent disfigurement), or commit a forcible felony. A few cuts and a broken nose may not rise to this level. And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.

Not completely accurate. Even if Zimmerman was the initial aggressor, that is irrelavant if he breaks off contact and retreats.

There is no need to exaggerate the leniency of Florida law. Regardless of whether he should have walked away, Mr. Zimmerman now must show that an average person in his circumstances would have viewed Martin as a mortal threat.

Kind of hard to walk away when someone is sitting on your chest and smashing your head into the concrete.

8 posted on 04/19/2012 12:34:20 PM PDT by Labyrinthos
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara
-- I think his analysis of the stand your ground law is probably pretty accurate --

It's not.

9 posted on 04/19/2012 12:38:03 PM PDT by Cboldt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: fruser1
That doesn't make sense to me either. I don't know if assault and battery is a felony or not but how much of a beating do you have to take before you can use lethal force to stop it? If you let your attacker beat you until it's absolutely clear that he's going to kill or do serious bodily harm to you then you won't be in much shape to draw and use a weapon.

Not to mention that if you let it go that far it's highly probable that your attacker will have noticed that you're carrying a gun and since you let him beat you nearly to unconsciousness how are you going to retain it?

10 posted on 04/19/2012 12:42:26 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: TigersEye

Didn’t Zimmerman say “OK”?


11 posted on 04/19/2012 12:42:50 PM PDT by trappedincanuckistan (livefreeordietryin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: fruser1
-- You can shoot if it's to stop a felony, such as robbery ... --

It has to be a forcible felony. Robbery is on the list.

The law allows you to meet force with equal force, but puts fairly tight limits on being justified in the use of deadly force.

-- So why would someone trying to beat you up not be shoot-worthy when it is if they also try to take your wallet or sneakers or what not? --

Good question. I don't have a good answer, except the law reflects a policy decision. At the same time, if the beating is of a nature that would put a reasonable person in fear of death or serious injury, then deadly force in response is justified. Being slapped, not justification for a shoot. Overwhelmed with physical force, or the opponent shows a knife or gun, or the beating continues for a length of time, etc. - the judge or jury will decide if it's reasonable to be in fear for your life. There is a recent FL case where a guy was justified in shooting at an adversary who was throwing beer bottles at his head - the throwing was a felony and justified the shoot.

12 posted on 04/19/2012 12:45:33 PM PDT by Cboldt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: trappedincanuckistan

Yes, Zimmerman said “OK” but, as we know, the dispatcher did not “instruct” Zimmerman to stop following Trayvon and had no authority to “instruct” him to if he had. The author is trying to strengthen the Lynch Mob Media meme.


13 posted on 04/19/2012 12:46:14 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

This is a much better article.

“Now that prosecutors have brought charges against George Zimmerman, you probably think that a jury is going to hear the facts and decide the case. Think again. Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, if George Zimmerman can convince a judge that he acted justifiably, he is entitled to immunity from prosecution. That means no jury; no conviction; no jail. Think of it as a big “Get Out of Jail Free” card. It is worth repeating: Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law does not just provide an affirmative defense; it provides immunity. The distinction is extremely significant.”

http://www.southfloridacriminallawyersblog.com/2012/04/why-trayvon-martins-case-may-not-go-to-a-jury.html


14 posted on 04/19/2012 12:50:59 PM PDT by ironman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: TigersEye

I realize that the dispatcher has no authority I was just challenging the author’s assertion that Zimmerman did not comply.

What is interesting is that the author puts forward the notion that Zimmerman leaving his truck in and of itself makes him responsible for Martin’s death. This nonsense was advanced in an article I read earlier where Crump (Martin family lawyer) contends that even if Martin threw the first punch Zimmerman is still ultimately responsible.

I have something to say to any “Zimmerman left his truck so he is ultimately responsible” tards still here at FR. You’re logic is deeply flawed.

I sincerely hope this is the line the prosecution takes. They`ll be laughed out of court.


15 posted on 04/19/2012 1:00:47 PM PDT by trappedincanuckistan (livefreeordietryin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Cboldt
Thanks for weighing in, Cboldt.

From the article: "Mr. Zimmerman had called 911, and the dispatcher instructed Mr. Zimmerman not to pursue Martin. Had Mr. Zimmerman complied, no one would have been hurt. Before Stand Your Ground, prosecutors could have relied on Mr. Zimmerman's opportunity to retreat in order to help rebut his claim of self-defense." (pure garbage in my never to be humble opinion. Following Trayvon was not illegal, maybe unwise, but not illegal.)

I guess this is the part that I thought was well-written: "This is not to say that eliminating the retreat requirement has no drawbacks. Eliminating the duty to retreat often makes it difficult to prosecute cases involving shady self-defense claims—such as bar fights and gang conflicts—when both parties should have simply walked away. Prosecutors have an easier time proving that a combatant could have safely withdrawn than they do convincing juries, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the person did not reasonably believe that he was in danger."

16 posted on 04/19/2012 1:17:07 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: ironman

>>Under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, if George Zimmerman can convince a judge that he acted justifiably, he is entitled to immunity from prosecution.<<

That’s a pretty big IF. He not only has to convince the judge, but he has to have a judge who is brave enough to rule that way.


17 posted on 04/19/2012 1:19:32 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Cboldt

>>There is a recent FL case where a guy was justified in shooting at an adversary who was throwing beer bottles at his head - the throwing was a felony and justified the shoot.<<

As it should be. My husband was on a jury where a cop had a beer bottle thrown at him, and it left him seriously brain damaged.


18 posted on 04/19/2012 1:22:17 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: trappedincanuckistan
I realize that the dispatcher has no authority I was just challenging the author’s assertion that Zimmerman did not comply.

I know you know that. I was just re-stating the obvious to challenge the author's assertions as well. :-)

I think it will be come clear at trial that asking someone what they're doing isn't reasonable cause to start beating them senseless and that being beaten senseless is reasonable cause to defend yourself with deadly force. Especially if testimony and forensics support the case that Trayvon tried to take the gun from Zimmerman.

I hope Z's lawyer makes that case well and I hope the jury (if it gets that far) isn't composed of politically correct Zombies.

19 posted on 04/19/2012 1:22:49 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

“And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.”

Zimmerman, NW Volunteer Captain, held no legal police power.

So if he mistakenly initiated something because he felt (incorrectly) he held police power, negates his self-defense defense.

I predict that will, in a nutshell, be the deciding theme of the trial.


20 posted on 04/19/2012 1:27:16 PM PDT by truth_seeker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TigersEye

Obviously Corey overcharged to get Zimmerman to plead out. I hope he and his lawyer resist.


21 posted on 04/19/2012 1:27:56 PM PDT by trappedincanuckistan (livefreeordietryin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: truth_seeker

>>So if he mistakenly initiated something because he felt (incorrectly) he held police power, negates his self-defense defense.

I predict that will, in a nutshell, be the deciding theme of the trial.<<

Of course, the prosecution will have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. From the evidence made public so far, it seems very unlikely they can do that.


22 posted on 04/19/2012 1:34:31 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: TigersEye

“...If you let your attacker beat you until it’s absolutely clear that he’s going to kill or do serious bodily harm to you then you won’t be in much shape to draw and use a weapon....”

Weren’t there reports (VERY short lived) that TM saw Z’s pistol and threatened to use it on Z? Or was that hairspray-headed newsreader fluffery?


23 posted on 04/19/2012 2:09:08 PM PDT by petro45acp ("Don't" read 'HOPE' by L Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman...it will bring tears to eyes.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

“Of course, the prosecution will have to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. From the evidence made public so far, it seems very unlikely they can do that.”

I doubt all the evidence is public.

There is evidence in public, that Zimmerman pursued/followed, called the PD, was warned off, etc. Plenty for the prosecution to weave into the “initiation” necessary to negate self-defense defense.

I think the trial will present the training and authority for a police officer, versus same for a neighborhood watch volunteer captain.

It will be interesting if Zimmerman testifies in his own defense.


24 posted on 04/19/2012 2:16:03 PM PDT by truth_seeker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: petro45acp
Weren’t there reports (VERY short lived) that TM saw Z’s pistol and threatened to use it on Z? Or was that hairspray-headed newsreader fluffery?

No, that is correct. Zimmerman's brother and father have both said that George told them that and a Sanford police officer unofficially talked about George's statement to police and said that too. It's all hearsay for now until his statement, further testimony and forensic evidence is introduced in court (or otherwise released to the public) but that has been published as George's version of events.

25 posted on 04/19/2012 2:30:23 PM PDT by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: truth_seeker

“So if he mistakenly initiated something because he felt (incorrectly) he held police power, negates his self-defense defense.”

Incorrect. Self-defense always applies under Florida law. Being a jerk is not sufficient reason for someone to kill you. If they try, your right to defend your jerk-life kicks in.

Unless he threatened Martin’s life, Martin had no justification for using lethal force against Zimmerman.


26 posted on 04/19/2012 2:38:57 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (A conservative can't please a liberal unless he jumps in front of a bus or off of a cliff)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Mr Rogers

“Self-defense always applies under Florida law.”

Are you sure, counselor?

I heard a Florida lawyer say one could NOT initiate a fight, and then later claim self-defense (stand your ground, etc).

When I first wrote by “initiate,” I mean the fact Zimmerman was following, which I expect the prosecution to claim is the initiation that will negate self-defense.

I’ll wait for the trial. I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t rush to judgement, either way.


27 posted on 04/19/2012 3:36:09 PM PDT by truth_seeker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

The judge could grant immunity then stay his order pending appeal. Kick it to someone else.


28 posted on 04/19/2012 3:51:15 PM PDT by ironman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: truth_seeker
776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who: (1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless: (a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or (b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
29 posted on 04/19/2012 3:51:56 PM PDT by ironman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: truth_seeker

Yes, I’m sure. It is specifically written that way in the law.

“776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or (2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.”


30 posted on 04/19/2012 4:00:50 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (A conservative can't please a liberal unless he jumps in front of a bus or off of a cliff)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: All
And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor.

Well, Mr. Leidner's clueless and didn't take the time to all of read Chapter 776 ("Justifiable Use of Force") of Florida Statutes or he would have found out that Florida allows the use of deadly force the the initial aggressor under certain conditions.

First, Leidner apparently stopped reader at Florida Statutes 776.012(1) ("Use of force in defense of person"), which says, pertinent part:

[A] a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if . . . [h]e or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.

If he'd continued for four more sections, he would have found Florida Statutes 770.041(2) ("Use of force by aggressor"), which reads in pertinent part:

The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who . . . Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

So, Mr. Leidner, it's not that "Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor." Florida Statutes 776.041 sets circumstances under which an initial aggressor can still use deadly force.

In the early 45-minute press conference, one of Zimmerman's initial attorneys (Hal Uhrig) said that a physical altercation was necessary to trigger this - that following somebody would not. (Given that you were wrong about Florida law, and wrong when you say Zimmerman was 'instructed not to purse' Trayvon Martin, Mr. Leidner, are you certain that Zimmerman has to prove he wasn't the aggressor? Could it be that the state has to show Zimmerman was the aggressor? You're just a law school student, you know. Some of us passed the bar and think enough to read the statute before commenting on it.)

31 posted on 04/19/2012 4:09:51 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: truth_seeker
>>There is evidence in public, that Zimmerman pursued/followed, called the PD, was warned off, etc. Plenty for the prosecution to weave into the “initiation” necessary to negate self-defense defense.<<

Yes, Zimmerman followed Trayvon (not illegal) and was told “you don't need to do that.” (not a legal order)

If Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of bed that morning, none of it would have happened either.

It is my opinion that the prosecution will never be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman took the first swing, which I believe is the crucial point. And Trayvon’s girlfriend actually gives credence to the theory that Trayvon took the first swing. She said in her TV interview that Trayvon asked why George was following him and George replied by asking why Trayvon was there. The girlfriend said she heard no more conversation, but only what sounded like his phone falling. The next logical thing would be a response from Trayvon. I believe that the most likely response would have been the first swing from Trayvon.

32 posted on 04/19/2012 4:13:14 PM PDT by Aunt Polgara
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Aunt Polgara

It’s going to be fun watching Corey try to make the case that Zimmerman was the initial aggressor because he left his truck.

It’ll also be fun to see her try to make the case that he remained the aggressor even though he had lost Martin.


33 posted on 04/19/2012 4:31:22 PM PDT by trappedincanuckistan (livefreeordietryin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Scoutmaster
Yep, Mr. Leidner, the South Florida Criminal Lawyers' Blog says:

"However, if the prosecution can show that the defendant "provoked" the incident, the Defendant loses his right to claim justifiable use of force."

That's written by Kevin F. Moot, who's a member of the Florida bar and has a criminal law practice in Florida.

You, Mr. Leider, wrote:

"And Mr. Zimmerman will have to show that he was not the initial aggressor."

You're a law student from Connecticut who didn't read the Florida Statutes on self-defense. Forgive me if I take the actual lawyer over the law student, the Florida lawyer over the Connecticut law student, and the criminal lawyer over the law student.

34 posted on 04/19/2012 4:42:01 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson