Skip to comments.Floridians back “Stand Your Ground” law
Posted on 04/25/2012 5:38:36 AM PDT by marktwain
In the wake of the Trayvon Martins death, many on the Left have been blaming Floridas Stand Your Ground law, a statue passed last year that allows use for the use of deadly force in self-defense (my home state of Georgia passed a similar law a few years ago). They say that the law empowered George Zimmerman to target Martin and claim self-defense.
While I have no opinion on Zimmermans guilt or innocence in the case at this point I believe too little is known to jump to conclusions one way or the other, the ire over the Stand Your Ground law seems a little misplaced and, in some cases, dishonest. Dave Kopel, a Second Amendment scholar, explains:
The assertion that Florida law allows shooting whenever someone believes it to be necessary is a flat-out lie. The actual law of Florida is that a person is justified in the use of deadly force if (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 (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012).
The second part of the law provides special provisions for self-defense against violent home invaders or carjackers. Neither of those is relevant to the Zimmerman case.
If the factual claims of Trayvons supporters are true, Mr. Zimmerman criminally attacked Trayvon and killed him, while having no reasonable belief that Trayvon was perpetrating a forcible felony, or imminently about to kill or gravely wound Mr. Zimmerman. So Floridas self-defense laws simply would not apply, since Mr. Zimmerman would have no right under Florida law to use deadly force.
Floridas rule that deadly force may be used to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm or the imminent commission of a forcible felony is the norm throughout the United States. [ ] Like the majority of American states, Florida does not mandate that victims of a violent crime attempt to retreat before they defend themselves. The retreat rule is irrelevant, regardless of whether you believe Trayvons advocates or Mr. Zimmermans advocates.
According to one side, Mr. Zimmerman was the criminal aggressor. Thus, he would have no self-defense rights at all. According to the other side, Trayvon attacked Mr. Zimmerman, knocked him to the ground, got on top of him and continued the attack. So Mr. Zimmerman would have had no ability to retreat. Either way, the retreat rules for lawful defenders have nothing to do with this case.
Despite what the gun prohibition lobbies claim, the no-retreat rule has deep roots in traditional American law. At the Supreme Court, the rule dates back to the 1895 case of Beard v. United States, in which the great Justice John Harlan wrote for a unanimous court that the victim was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground, and meet any attack upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force as, under all the circumstances, he, at the moment, honestly believed, and had reasonable grounds to believe, were necessary to save his own life, or to protect himself from great bodily injury.
The great progressive Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes also expressed the unanimous opinion of the court that if a man reasonably believes that he is in immediate danger of death or grievous bodily harm from his assailant he may stand his ground and that if he kills him he has not succeededthe bounds of lawful self-defense. Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife (Brown v. United States, 1921).
According to a survey released yesterday by Public Policy Policy a Democratic polling firm used by the Daily Kos, Floridians are largely not buying the fuss over the law in the afterman of Martins death:
Floridians generally support the firearm self-defense law that George Zimmerman will use as part of his defense in the Trayvon Martin case, but they also support him being charged with second-degree murder because they think he is guilty.
42% of Florida voters support the Stand Your Ground law, and 32% oppose it. Republicans overwhelmingly support it (60-13), and independents like it as well (45-31), but Democrats oppose it (24-50).
49% think Zimmerman was appropriately charged, while 25% think he was not. The verdict is more narrow when it comes to his actual guilt of said charge31% believe he is guilty, and 26% think him innocent. Despite the hullabaloo, 46% believe Zimmerman will be able to receive a fair trial, and 37% think he cannot.
Floridians generally do not believe Zimmerman was motivated by racism when he killed Martinonly 32% think he was, and 45% think he wasnt.
With recent developments in the case, we may never know what exactly happened in Sanford, Florida in late Feburary, but Martins death has, been politicized to the point of absurdity, taking away any real possibility of a fair trail for Zimmerman, something he should be entitled to whether a jury ultimately finds that he commited a crime or not.
Its not surprising that the anti-gun lobby would launch an attack on Stand Your Ground laws. They would use just about any random act to do so, even though their ultimate goal of disarming the public would leave law-abiding Americans without a reasonable means to defend themsevles.
” The freedom-hating leftmedia has been, quite predictably, short-stroking this whole episode as a foil against SYG laws since the beginning”
50% cut in violent crime? Oh yeah, what the hell, get rid of SYG!!
So does this one. Moreover, what really scares me is any effort to repeal the other side of the law besides SYG, which is to forbid any civil action for wrongful death and to forbid any local antigun zealots in the State Attorney's Office from bringing the case to trial anyway, knowing full well they'd lose but just wanting to bleed the poor citizen dry and make him go broke in his defense so as to make an example and thus deter future citizens from protecting themselves. That was a standard back when Janet Reno was our not so great State Attorney here in Miami-Dade.
“...This Floridian supports the Stand Your Ground law...”
This Pennsylvanian supports your SYG Law too. We have the same law.
They mess with one of us, they mess with ALL of us.
About time we gunnies all stand together and tell them where to go.
There are millions of us. We need to never let the other side forget that.
I checked two days ago and over 919,000+ Floridians had CCW licenses.
As a Pennsylvania refugee now living in Florida, I watched and wrote my PA assemblywoman and senator during the HB 40 debates last year. It is a very similar law but one important distinction that you should know of, inserted in the waning days of the debate: In order to “Stand Your Ground” in PA, the other party must be in possession of a firearm or lethal weapon. This is not the case in FL.
Is it 919,000 Floridians with CCWs, or 919,000 people that have a Florida CCW?
Before I lived in Florida, I obtained a nonresident Florida CCW because it, along with Utah, gave me wide-ranging reciprocity across the country.
A poster on another thread said it looked like the grand-jury was being bypassed in order to persecute, er, prosecute Mr. Zimmerman. It actually seems supported by this Huffington Post article, which says:
And unless Zimmerman pleads guilty, the affidavit by itself, summarizing the investigation by the special prosecutor, will force him to stand trial without a grand jury having heard any evidence and returned an indictment, but simply on a hearsay statement from two investigators who summarized their version of the evidence.
Things are very "interesting" if that is the case; as it is a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment.
So if a crackhead kicks in your door at 2AM without a weapon you have to leave your home?
Resident holders broken down by county. I did not check for out of staters. Miami-Dade-84,000+
Gator country resident approves!
My understanding is that the ‘castle doctrine’ was always in effect and that no, you wouldn’t have to retreat. What PA legislators called the ‘Castle Doctrine’ was really an expansion to non-castle (outside your home) situations, aka ‘Stand Your Ground.’
So no, you wouldn’t be expected to retreat. But that same crackhead on the street comes after you without a weapon, perhaps you would be expected to retreat. However, nowhere outside of Philly would you ever get convicted for standing your ground.
I think the only Florida law that needs to change because of the Zimmerman case is that grand juries should be required in any felony charge.
That Trayvon was bouncing George’s head off the ground is not at present a fact as determined by a court.
It is the defendant’s story of what happened. And it may be supported by witnesses.
It may very well also be the truth. But in other cases I’ve noticed around here a certain shall we say resistance to assuming everything the defendant says is the whole truth.
But I like this story to get the police to act:
Roger Gresse, an elderly man, from Zanesville, OH, was going up to bed, when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed. Roger opened the back door to go turn off the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.
He phoned the police, who asked, "Is someone in your house?" He said "No," but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me."
Then the police dispatcher said. "All patrols are busy. You should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available."
Roger said, "Okay."
He hung up the phone and counted to 30.
Then he phoned the police again.
"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I just shot them," and he hung up.
Within five minutes, six police cars, a SWAT team, a helicopter, two fire trucks, a paramedic, and an ambulance showed up at the Gresse residence, and caught the burglars red-handed.
One of the policemen said to Roger, "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"
Roger said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"
“...919,000+ Floridians had CCW licenses....”
That’s just Florida.
Imagine if we ALL, in every state, voted as a bloc, against every Antigun candidate, showed up at rallies, voted for progun candidates, protested outside of Dem/Lib/RINO offices, etc.
They mess with ONE of us, they mess with ALL of us.
I know...won’t happen...and that’s why we’re always on the defense against these fascist pr*cks.
“...In order to Stand Your Ground in PA, the other party must be in possession of a firearm or lethal weapon. This is not the case in FL....”
Yes, I’m aware of that, brother. But still - it’s a pro-gun law, in a gun-friendly state, that the other side loses sleep over every day we exist.
And that’s NEVER a bad thing.
We are Legion...it’s about time we stand up and act like it.
Joe, Joe, Joe. You misunderstand the “legal standpoint”.
SYG simply says that IF you are lawfully in a place and are attacked that you may meet force with force and if faced with imminent death or great bodily injury you may use deadly force.
If it is established that you acted validly in self defense then you are IMMUNE from prosecution AND civil liability. It is not just an affirmative defense it provides for immunity. Very rare in law.
A motion to dismiss, PRIOR TO TRIAL, is critical as it allows you a “free shot” (no pun intended, of course ;-) to dismiss all charges and obtain IMMUNITY from any civil damages lawsuits - wrongful death, civil assault, etc.
With SYG, at such a hearing you need only establish by a preponderance of the evidence (50% +1) that, using the reasonable man standard, you were in fear of imminent death or severe bodily injury, for you or another, to act with deadly force.
The judge acts as both trier of fact (normally the province of the jury) and of law.
If the judge finds self-defense all charges are dismissed and the neither perp nor his family can sue without having to pay all costs just for bringing suit.
Even at trial, if a motion to dismiss fails, the law is in effect I believe.
No cases that I know of but aside from the prosecution needing to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, one could argue that as a matter of self defense, the reasonable man/preponderance of evidence burden of proof may be applicable allowing a dismissal at that level of proof before a jury.
Even then the prosecution alternatively has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of 2nd degree murder.
The last three paragraphs are speculation the rest is not. Trust me! Been there, done that. SYG applies here. ;-)