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The Trayvon Martin Murder

I have been reluctant to comment on this until I could figure out what was going on in the case, and frankly, it is worse than you think.

I finally figured it out from reading this Miami Herald story, Miami judge decides fatal stabbing was self-defense, which is about a totally different case.

That led me to locate the law itself, and not just the part that everyone quotes. I found it on the site of the Florida legislature, so this is the real deal:

Title XLVI Chapter 776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The ‘stand your ground’ provision [subsection (3)] is not a general defense, it is only supposed to be related to the specific crimes listed in this law. This is why Durrell Peaden, my former state senator and the author of the law, can correctly state that the Martin case has nothing to do with the ‘stand your ground’ law.

What has happened is that the elected local judges are applying the provision to anything, and everything, without regard to the fact that it is limited to specified crimes. The Miami decision is a case in point. This was the standard theft of a radio from a parked vehicle, and the owner caught the thief in the act. The owner chased the thief about a block and stabbed him with a large kitchen knife, killing him. The vehicle wasn’t occupied, so the ‘stand your ground’ provision wasn’t applicable, but the judge applied it anyway. The prosecutors have already said they will appeal the decision. The Florida Supreme Court needs to tell local judges to stop enabling murder and mayhem.


1 Kryten42 { 03.23.12 at 9:24 pm }

OK, So now I see your point (comments in another thread). I was going to make a few snarky comments, and could make several… But honestly, why bother? *sigh*

2 Bryan { 03.23.12 at 10:19 pm }

Amazing, isn’t it? This has been applied to gang fights with multiple deaths, and no one was charged with anything. No explanation as to why a provision about home invasion and carjacking gets applied to all of these other circumstances.

The regular plea of self-defense requires the defense to prove that the defendant was attacked and had no choice, but this ‘stand your ground’ provision puts the onus of proof on the prosecution, and the decision is made by a judge prior to any trial.

This is nuts, just as the opponents of the provision said it would be. The police and prosecutors were the main opponents, not ‘liberal bleeding hearts who want to take away everyone’s guns’.