Florida was the first state to pass a Stand Your Ground Law and under withering national criticism Florida may be the first state to repeal it. Stand your ground has been extensively discussed and ridiculed in this Blog as being Your Perfect Defense to Murder in Tampa Bay Florida, long before the current newspaper cases and more recently here. The law is leading to rampant injustice where killers are protected even when the killer began the altercation, according to Tampa Bay Times. One case involved a botched burglary to an automobile where the burglar was seen, was chased and was killed, all before the police were called, sadly in fact not even a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney was called.
Under the previous Florida law a common law standard prevailed which required that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. This is not an unreasonable standard and has been the rule of law for a few hundred years in civilized societies.
|Magritte, Man Reading Newspaper, 1928
Under the new Florida law anyone who is attacked anywhere whether in their home or not, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.”
A significant flaw in the law is that it actually forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of anyone covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against the gunman. This means that law enforcement must tread carefully before determination to make an arrest, as a wrongful arrest is strictly forbidden under the statute.
The Florida law destroyed hundreds of years of well thought out common law by expanding the right to shoot anyone who poses a threat, not merely a threat to the occupant of a home’s safety.
As a professor of law noted, “In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.”
What we have is a Florida Government that values property over life. Every member of the legislature who voted for this law should be voted out of office and that fool of a governor who signed it before vanishing – Jeb Bush, should be ashamed and as punishment should be forced to read a Pinellas Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog every morning with his breakfast, like I do.
Stand your ground is the law in Florida. Recently in Tampa a man stabbed another man in the head with an ice pick after a traffic dispute leaving the stabbed man in critical condition. His defense was that he was standing his ground.
In Clearwater the police determined there would be no arrest of a man who shot his neighbor after a shouting match over putting out garbage.
In Hillsborough a jogger shot and killed
an unarmed man eight times, yet the jogger was not prosecuted after establishing that he’d been struck in the face first and believed the other man to be armed. But eight shots, you’d think he might have stopped at seven…
The Florida law gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes or vehicles, no longer needing to prove fear for their safety, only that the person who is stabbed, shot with a firearm or even killed intruded unlawfully and forcefully. Thus making a defense to charges of aggravated battery
Previous Florida law and common law required that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now someone attacked in public, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.
The central innovation in the Florida law is in expanding the right to shoot intruders who pose no threat to the occupant’s safety. According to the International Herald Tribune, one professor of law noted, “In effect,” Professor Sebok said, “the law allows citizens to kill other citizens in defense of property.” At least the Florida Supreme Court
has ruled in its standard jury instructions
that the Defendant must actually believe that the threat and danger is real. Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
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.
(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
(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.
(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Members of the Florida Supreme Court rest after a hard day’s work in the Fields of Justice.