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Should stand your ground laws be repealed?

MaggieD

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I was going to put this thread under Law & Order and not Zimmerman/Martin. I decided not to, because most of our experience in SYG relates to this case alone. Please try not to make this thread all about Zimmerman/Martin as it relates to anything other than the SYG laws. Thanks.

So. What are SYG laws anyway?

The Stand Your Ground laws actually find their place in 17th century English law called the Castle Doctrine, which basically says that if an intruder breaks into an individual’s home, or castle, the individual is not obligated to try to retreat before defending him or herself with force. [Further], the Castle Doctrine of the 1600′s literally told people they must retreat “to the wall at one’s back” with the understanding that the king and his men would do their best to defend their citizens while in public.

Read more at Stand Your Ground Law History Prior To George Zimmerman Trial
The problem, if there is one, is that SYG laws extend one's right not to retreat to the outdoors, as I see it. Few would argue that, if one is in one's home, he doesn't have a duty to retreat...that, if he can run out the back door, he mustn't use deadly force. That's crazy.

Outside. Is it any different? If I can run, do I have an obligation to do so? Sounds crazy to me, by the way.

In my mind, though, the only real benefit of SYG laws is, that if one is successful in invoking the SYG law, he is immune from arrest, prosecution and civil suit. And if one is sued, the defendant has the right to collect all of his attorney fees and other expenses.

Why aren't all of our self-defense laws written that way? "If you are found not guilty by reason of self-defense, you are immune from civil litigation." Forget about being immune from arrest and prosecution. Whether or not you're not guilty by reason of self-defense is a jury's job to decide.

Would we need SYG laws if civil suit immunity were automatic in self-defense cases? Isn't what's "self defense" the job for a jury?
 

Fishstyx

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Actually, the SYG laws were done because of overzealous prosecutors going after self defense claims and winning as well as the barage of civil suits many self defenders are succumbed to. These are the stories of burglars suing someone for shooting them, etc.
 

MaggieD

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Actually, the SYG laws were done because of overzealous prosecutors going after self defense claims and winning as well as the barage of civil suits many self defenders are succumbed to. These are the stories of burglars suing someone for shooting them, etc.
Well, maybe another one of the benefits of the SYG laws is to allow a quick hearing to determine if it applies. So maybe that shouldn't go away. I don't know. And yes, I absolutely know that burglars have successfully sued homeowners for injuries they suffered during a break-in. Ludicrous.

But don't we just need a law that says, in all self-defense cases, the 'victim' can't sue? After all, if a person is found Not Guilty of injuring/killing someone, the only defenses are accident and self-defense. If it's an accident, that's something else again. But if it's ruled self-defense, why should anyone be allowed to sue?

Even if a person WINS a civil suit, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend. Doesn't seem right. But seems like it could be handled with specific legislation that addressed all self-defense claims rather than have this controversial "stand your ground" wording.
 

CRUE CAB

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How about this, we repeal all laws.
Every man for himself, take care of your own.
Those of us that are armed to the teeth and willing to turn our homes into fortresses will do just fine.
Everyone else? Who knows.
 

ecofarm

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'No retreat', iirc, is the most common manifestation of self defense law. Very few, if any, states require retreat. Such is by no means exclusive to SYG.


The only things exclusive to SYG are (1) the no-arrest protocol and (2) the use of lethal force against forcible felonies (regardless of fear).

In the Z case, the first was ignored/over-ridden by higher-ups and the second was not part of the case (the defense utilized 'fear of grave harm' and not 'forcible felony').
 
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ttwtt78640

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My main concern with the Floriduh SYG law is that it extends too far in the favor of the initial aggressor, that is where it differs greatly from the Texas law. Under Texas law the self defense "right" of the initial aggressor is limitted to exclude the use of deadly force. A recent Texas case involved moron, upset that a neighbor was playing loud music at his party, going armed (and with a video camera) onto that neighbors property, confronting him, demanding that he turn down the music, when the neighbor (and a friend?) tried to get him to leave his propery the aggressor moron then shot and killed that neighbor citing self defense - that moron is now in prison with a 40 year sentence (no parole is possible for at least 20 years).

Texas man gets 40 years in stand-your-ground case
 

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I would not support the FL SYG law. I think Obama was correct when he pondered that if Martin had had a gun, the law may would have given him the right to shoot Zimmerman. There needs to some variation of the Clean Hands Doctrine applied outside the home.

As for the civil stuff, I am a supporter of contributory negligence in all civil tort cases, not just when it comes to this. For those not familiar, it means if you are partially at fault in what happened to you, you recover nothing. Likewise all defendants should be jointly and severally liable for torts. It would greatly simplify civil trials in a lot of place.
 

MaggieD

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My main concern with the Floriduh SYG law is that it extends too far in the favor of the initial aggressor, that is where it differs greatly from the Texas law. Under Texas law the self defense "right" of the initial aggressor is limitted to exclude the use of deadly force. A recent Texas case involved moron, upset that a neighbor was playing loud music at his party, going armed (and with a video camera) onto that neighbors property, confronting him, demanding that he turn down the music, when the neighbor (and a friend?) tried to get him to leave his propery the aggressor moron then shot and killed that neighbor citing self defense - that moron is now in prison with a 40 year sentence (no parole is possible for at least 20 years).

Texas man gets 40 years in stand-your-ground case
Just from what you've shared here, it's hard to believe Florida's SYG laws would have protected him. I think people have a wrong conception of what that law's all about. *shrug*
 

ecofarm

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My main concern with the Floriduh SYG law is that it extends too far in the favor of the initial aggressor, that is where it differs greatly from the Texas law. Under Texas law the self defense "right" of the initial aggressor is limitted to exclude the use of deadly force. A recent Texas case involved moron, upset that a neighbor was playing loud music at his party, going armed (and with a video camera) onto that neighbors property, confronting him, demanding that he turn down the music, when the neighbor (and a friend?) tried to get him to leave his propery the aggressor moron then shot and killed that neighbor citing self defense - that moron is now in prison with a 40 year sentence (no parole is possible for at least 20 years).

Texas man gets 40 years in stand-your-ground case

If you believe that case would be found not guilty under SYG, then you don't understand SYG. At the moment he was told to leave the property, he was there illegally and thereby eliminated any legal protection under SYG.
 

MaggieD

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If you believe that case would be found not guilty under SYG, then you don't understand SYG. At the moment he was told to leave the property, he was there illegally and thereby eliminated any legal protection under SYG.
I had to go look that up just to be sure. The Florida statute:

(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.
Actually, it doesn't say what you claim. Not trying to be argumentative, but I think we have an obligation to understand the very law people are railing about. Example: If I refuse to leave your store after you've asked me to leave, you cannot automatically shoot me in the head and claim a stand-your-ground defense. At least not successfully.
 

CRUE CAB

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I would not support the FL SYG law. I think Obama was correct when he pondered that if Martin had had a gun, the law may would have given him the right to shoot Zimmerman. There needs to some variation of the Clean Hands Doctrine applied outside the home.

As for the civil stuff, I am a supporter of contributory negligence in all civil tort cases, not just when it comes to this. For those not familiar, it means if you are partially at fault in what happened to you, you recover nothing. Likewise all defendants should be jointly and severally liable for torts. It would greatly simplify civil trials in a lot of place.
Small ball Obama has no idea what he is talking about.
Had Trayvon been armed, he would have been a minor in possesion of a hand gun. A crime.
Had Trayvon shot Zimmerman for following him and watching him, he would be a murderer.
All the "what ifs" in the world would not change any of that.
 

CRUE CAB

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My main concern with the Floriduh SYG law is that it extends too far in the favor of the initial aggressor, that is where it differs greatly from the Texas law. Under Texas law the self defense "right" of the initial aggressor is limitted to exclude the use of deadly force. A recent Texas case involved moron, upset that a neighbor was playing loud music at his party, going armed (and with a video camera) onto that neighbors property, confronting him, demanding that he turn down the music, when the neighbor (and a friend?) tried to get him to leave his propery the aggressor moron then shot and killed that neighbor citing self defense - that moron is now in prison with a 40 year sentence (no parole is possible for at least 20 years).

Texas man gets 40 years in stand-your-ground case
You call Florida Floriduh, yet you got the moron that shoots a neighbor over loud music.
I always wonder why Texans are so arrogant.
 

ecofarm

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Actually, it doesn't say what you claim. Not trying to be argumentative, but I think we have an obligation to understand the very law people are railing about.
You are wrong. Pay attention to the bolded part:

(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.
Here you have the example (presented above, regarding a case in Texas) confused:

Example: If I refuse to leave your store after you've asked me to leave, you cannot automatically shoot me in the head and claim a stand-your-ground defense. At least not successfully.
In the example cited, the person had gone to another's house, been told to leave and then shot someone - he was not "where he or she has a right to be" and thus SYG is not available to him.

In that example, the person would have not been afforded protection under SYG and most certainly would have been found guilty here in Florida. The person presenting the example was apparently not familiar with the bolded (above) part of the statute.
 

MaggieD

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You are wrong. Pay attention to the bolded part:

Here you have the example (presented above, regarding a case in Texas) confused:

In the example cited, the person had gone to another house, been told to leave and then shot someone - he was not "where he or she has a right to be" and thus SYG is not available to him.
My point is what the law doesn't say. It doesn't say that the juxtaposition of those circumstances makes one ineligible. It doesn't say, "If you have no right to be where you are, stand your ground is not a legitimate defense."

That's my point.
 

ecofarm

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You call Florida Floriduh, yet you got the moron that shoots a neighbor over loud music.
I always wonder why Texans are so arrogant.
I find it amusing that someone who would spam the "Floriduh" BS would utterly and totally fail to apply Florida law, miss an important aspect of it and basically make an ass of himself.

His example of that case, and claiming that in Florida it would be legal, is a big DUH. I guess everything is big in Texas, even embarrassing misapplications of other state's laws.
 

ecofarm

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My point is what the law doesn't say. It doesn't say that the juxtaposition of those circumstances makes one ineligible. It doesn't say, "If you have no right to be where you are, stand your ground is not a legitimate defense."

That's my point.
You have the story presented confused. In the case cited, regarding Texas, the person WENT TO SOMEONE ELSE'S HOUSE AND REFUSED TO LEAVE. That immediately, certainly and totally removes their rights to SYG self defense. Then HE (THE TRESPASSER) shot someone at the residence that he had no right to be at.

Believing the shooter would be protected under Florida SYG is nonsense - the law is clear.
 

MaggieD

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You have the story presented confused. In the case cited, regarding Texas, the person WENT TO SOMEONE ELSE'S HOUSE AND REFUSED TO LEAVE. That immediately, certainly and totally removes their rights to SYG self defense.
If Florida's SYG laws allow a homeowner to shoot someone because they won't leave their property, then it should be repealed. That's a job for 911. (I don't think the trespasser had any entitlement to a SYG defense. Perhaps we are talking past each other here, as my illustration is not the case in the Texas incident.)
 

ecofarm

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If Florida's SYG laws allow a homeowner to shoot someone because they won't leave their property, then it should be repealed. That's a job for 911. (I don't think the trespasser had any entitlement to a SYG defense. Perhaps we are talking past each other here, as my illustration is not the case in the Texas incident.)
The TRESSPASSER is the one who shot someone!

My main concern with the Floriduh SYG law is that it extends too far in the favor of the initial aggressor, that is where it differs greatly from the Texas law. Under Texas law the self defense "right" of the initial aggressor is limitted to exclude the use of deadly force. A recent Texas case involved moron, upset that a neighbor was playing loud music at his party, going armed (and with a video camera) onto that neighbors property, confronting him, demanding that he turn down the music, when the neighbor (and a friend?) tried to get him to leave his propery the aggressor moron then shot and killed that neighbor citing self defense - that moron is now in prison with a 40 year sentence (no parole is possible for at least 20 years).


Texas man gets 40 years in stand-your-ground case

In that case, SYG would NOT APPLY, as per "where... right to be" in FL SYG.

Ttwtt, in claiming that the case would have played out differently in Florida, has made an error - he is incorrect, beyond any shadow of doubt.
 
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Black Dog

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I had to go look that up just to be sure. The Florida statute:



Actually, it doesn't say what you claim. Not trying to be argumentative, but I think we have an obligation to understand the very law people are railing about. Example: If I refuse to leave your store after you've asked me to leave, you cannot automatically shoot me in the head and claim a stand-your-ground defense. At least not successfully.
If someone ask's you to leave private property even if you have a CCW. You are now in violation of the law if you don't leave immediately. If you don't leave you can be arrested for a felony.

I know this because I had my weapon at Universal Studio's, and instead of bringing it in, left it in the car. You can legally bring it in with you, but if they see it they will ask you to leave the park. If you don't the police will arrest you. They will also arrest you if they do not think you are making every effort to leave.
 

MaggieD

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The TRESSPASSER is the one who shot someone!

In that case, SYG would NOT APPLY, as per "where... right to be" in FL SYG.

Ttwtt, in claiming that the case would have played out differently in Florida, has made an error - he is incorrect, beyond any shadow of doubt.
:rofl -- I know. I get that. Let's just pass this one by -- I don't want to go back and see where we went off track.

I agree with you.
 

MaggieD

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If someone ask's you to leave private property even if you have a CCW. You are now in violation of the law if you don't leave immediately. If you don't leave you can be arrested for a felony.

I know this because I had my weapon at Universal Studio's and instead of bringing it in, left it in the car. You can legally bring it in with you, but if they see it they will ask you to leave the park. If you don't the police will arrest you. They will also arrest you if they do not think you are making every effort to leave.
I think others are misunderstanding my point; so I won't try to make it any further. ;)

I agree with you.
 

ecofarm

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If Florida's SYG laws allow a homeowner to shoot someone because they won't leave their property, then it should be repealed. That's a job for 911. (I don't think the trespasser had any entitlement to a SYG defense. Perhaps we are talking past each other here, as my illustration is not the case in the Texas incident.)
Events in ones home are not covered under SYG but under Castle Doctrine (a more common self defense law, present in almost all states iirc).


I think others are misunderstanding my point; so I won't try to make it any further. ;)

I agree with you.
We seem to have crossed the streams. My concern was pointing out how that case in Texas would NOT have been decided differently in Florida.

Regarding people in ones home, and ones right to shoot them, we must refer to Castle Doctrine.
 

ttwtt78640

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If you believe that case would be found not guilty under SYG, then you don't understand SYG. At the moment he was told to leave the property, he was there illegally and thereby eliminated any legal protection under SYG.
How is simply being on private property illegal unless it is posted? Had he tried to enter the house, that would be another story, but he did not leave the driveway. His actions were illegal because, being the initial aggressor, he cannot use deadly force.

Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON.

(a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another:


(1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and

(2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

(A) to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or

(B) to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.

(b) The actor's belief under Subsection (a)(2) that the deadly force was immediately necessary as described by that subdivision is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:

(1) knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the deadly force was used:

(A) unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor's occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;

(B) unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor's habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or

(C) was committing or attempting to commit an offense described by Subsection (a)(2)(B);

(2) did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and

(3) was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.

(c) A person who has a right to be present at the location where the deadly force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the deadly force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the deadly force is used is not required to retreat before using deadly force as described by this section.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), in determining whether an actor described by Subsection (c) reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the actor failed to retreat.
Texas Gun Laws - Use of Force and Deadly Force - Self Defense
 

ecofarm

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How is simply being on private property illegal unless it is posted? Had he tried to enter the house, that would be another story, but he did not leave the driveway. His actions were illegal because, being the initial aggressor, he cannot use deadly force.

Texas Gun Laws - Use of Force and Deadly Force - Self Defense
Refusing to leave someone's property (including yard and driveway) eliminates an SYG defense - period. One is no longer "where he or she has a right to be".

Do I need to list ALL the ways that case would be found guilty in Florida (including his failure to attempt retreat after aggression)? There are a few ways that SYG statutes are violated in the case you present, but I figured the most obvious and conclusive would suffice. That case would have been found guilty in Florida (just on the OBVIOUS violation of basic SYG qualifications, let alone other issues). Deal with it.
 
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I was going to put this thread under Law & Order and not Zimmerman/Martin. I decided not to, because most of our experience in SYG relates to this case alone. Please try not to make this thread all about Zimmerman/Martin as it relates to anything other than the SYG laws. Thanks.

So. What are SYG laws anyway?



The problem, if there is one, is that SYG laws extend one's right not to retreat to the outdoors, as I see it. Few would argue that, if one is in one's home, he doesn't have a duty to retreat...that, if he can run out the back door, he mustn't use deadly force. That's crazy.

Outside. Is it any different? If I can run, do I have an obligation to do so? Sounds crazy to me, by the way.

In my mind, though, the only real benefit of SYG laws is, that if one is successful in invoking the SYG law, he is immune from arrest, prosecution and civil suit. And if one is sued, the defendant has the right to collect all of his attorney fees and other expenses.

Why aren't all of our self-defense laws written that way? "If you are found not guilty by reason of self-defense, you are immune from civil litigation." Forget about being immune from arrest and prosecution. Whether or not you're not guilty by reason of self-defense is a jury's job to decide.

Would we need SYG laws if civil suit immunity were automatic in self-defense cases? Isn't what's "self defense" the job for a jury?
Repealed, no. Clarified, yes.

The problem with using the castle doctrine in the Z/M context is that M did not go anywhere near Z's residence (or "castle" if you will). If you leave your "castle" to go on patrol, should that doctrine apply. IMO, no. We don't know if M would have attacked Z if Z hadn't followed him, but I don't think it's unreasonable to say that Z following him created the situation in which the altercation took place.

IMO, if you had a hand in creating the situation, you weren't standing your ground.
 
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