Stand your ground laws: A license to kill?

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by leogator, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. reformedgator
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    reformedgator VIP Member Premium Member

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    Part of fighting like a man is not jumping on top of your opponent once he's down & trying to kill him or give him permanent brain damage. Save that for mma fighting where there's a ref to stop it when a person is no longer able to defend himself. Keep the barbarians in the ring where they can hurt each other.
  2. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Not the law in Florida; not the defense's argument at trial; not the jury's instructions.

    If you are losing a fight to someone who is making you reasonably fearful that picking that fight is going to be your last mistake in this life? Fire, because it is self-defense at that point.
  3. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    What is the definition of "reasonably fearful"?

    Seems to me this opens up justification to shoot somebody as most anytime you get in a fight (certainly GZ's injuries were no worse than an average fight between adult men). And if you extend self defense to include fights you intentionally start, where does that put us?

    Start a fight. Take a punch or two in the nose. Pull a gun out and put a bullet in your opponent's heart. Self defense.

    Sounds like Open Season to kill whomever you want. IMO.
  4. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    Again, this is all stuff that's in the jury instructions and in the statute and really isn't all that mysterious or impenetrable. It uses the objective legal standard of the "reasonable person", and whether that reasonable person in the defendants position would fear that they were in imminent danger of death, or serious bodily harm. It accounts for the possibility of warped perceptions or abnormally cowardly perceptions, etc, because the reasonable person, for instance, would not consider a single slap in the mouth likely to result in imminent death or serious bodily harm. Would not consider a dukes-up bit of fisticuffs to settle a beef, for instance. Your hypo would absolutely not be covered under the justifiable use of deadly force statute, because no reasonable person could fear that that "one or two punches in the nose" is imminently going to kill them or seriously injure them. And, what's more, if it's a fight they started, i.e. they punched first (NOT insults, NOT stared at, NOT questioend for being in the neighborhood), they would have a duty to make reasonable efforts to retreat.

    But get a man down, pin him down, and have free reign, and an apparent willingness, to deliver unguarded head blows against or with secondary impact against concrete? Yeah, at that point a reasonable person could be afraid that they may imminently die or be seriously injured. What's more, even if the person pinned down had started the fight unlawfully, he has no reasonable opportunity to retreat anymore, and he can use deadly force to defend himself.
  5. whitelakegator
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    whitelakegator New Member

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    Let's forget Zimmerman for now. That certainly isn't the ONLY time self-defense is used. I have asked several times what the threshold is for reasonable fear of great harm and the responses are all Zimmerman related.
  6. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    The answer is that it's a very fact specific question, there is no catch-all short answer for what scenarios will satisfy the statute or not. If your best friend with whom you had just been playing cards suddenly jerks his hand into his jacket like he's going for a gun, that's a different set of circumstances than if a total stranger does it, for instance. A reasonable person might be afraid in the latter scenario but not the former, so using deadly force might be justifiable against the stranger but not the friend.
  7. whitelakegator
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    whitelakegator New Member

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    Seems like WAY too much latitude for the trigger happy crowd.
  8. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    The threshold is whether the jury believes that a reasonable person, taking into account the circumstances then present, feels that a reasonable person would have believed that they were in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. There doesn't actually have to be a real risk of death or great bodily harm, but if a reasonable person confronted with the circumstances facing that person would have thought there was, self-defense is justified.

    Because there are literally innumerable potential different scenarios that you can think up, you can't draw a bright line rule. That's the reason we ask the jury to decide if they believe that a reasonable person would have had that fear.
  9. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    You would be mistaken, frankly. It doesn't just apply to guns anyway, for one thing. Deadly force, use of force, reasonability; all that calculus starts with the merest finger poke.
  10. rpmGator
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    Once again, under the old rules, Martin also was supposed to run away or face legal issues.

    Under the new rules, since he didn't run and was on top of someone and beating them up, the one being beaten has a right to defend himself.

    An Asian food business owner was just beaten to death in the Sarasota area. So much for saying there was no threat.
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  11. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    I see what you're saying.

    Although it looks like GZ gets a pass for being a pussy.

    The injuries he suffered were no worse than an average fight, and certainly not consistent IMO, with what a grown man should consider reasonable fear for his life.

    Although I am not surprised a jury of all women would consider that reasonable fear.
  12. helix139
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    helix139 Premium Member

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    Look at the statute. SYG requires you to both be attacked and not be engaged in unlawful activity. If you start the fight, you meet neither prerequisite.
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  13. MichiGator2002
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    MichiGator2002 VIP Member

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    You're still missing the target if you think his actual injuries are relevant -- especially when a state witness, for the prosecution, had to concede that the next blow could have caused serious damage, or any number of subsequent ones.

    It didn't take a jury of women. The state's own evidence established Zimmerman's defense rather than defeating it. You seriously don't think being pinned to the ground and your opponent -- whom you have no way of knowing how far they might take it -- having a free hand to pummel you about the head indefinitely wouldn't make a reasonable person afraid that they are in danger of death or serious bodily harm?

    The facts in this case would actually make a decent multiple choice question in which there is one correct answer and three wrong ones; this fact pattern would be a great way to demonstrate a situation in which one could so reasonably fear.
  14. WESGATORS
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    I don't think you should define limits this way. Instead, you can take any given scenario and debate about whether or not that threshold may have been met based on available evidence. I think it's a bad idea to try to legislate too specifically what constitutes a reasonable threat.

    Go GATORS!
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  15. WESGATORS
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    WESGATORS Well-Known Member

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    In your opinion, what was Zimmerman's alternative to pulling the gun? Receive one more blow? 10 more blows? How would you assess what Zimmerman was supposed to do once he was in the disadvantaged position? That's the part that, to me, has always been missing from the "lethal force wasn't necessary" point of view (once the fight began).

    Go GATORS!
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  16. GatorBen
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    GatorBen Well-Known Member

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    I think this is absolutely correct. For one, the reasonable person analysis has to take into account differing physical abilities and circumstances surrounding the incident.

    By way of example, me tackling and getting on top of Chuck Lidell probably wouldn't leave him fearing that shooting me would be the only way to avoid being killed or seriously injured. On the other hand someone who isn't in great physical shape being tackled and pinned down and punched by a large person high on PCP may well have good cause to fear for their life.

    So how would legislation address on a blanket basis whether or not being pinned down creates a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm? Quite clearly it can't.
  17. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    Toss his skinny azz to the side.

    That's my gut reaction anyway.

    I just don't have any respect for a guy inserting himself into a situation where his only defense against a kid his junior by 10 years and 50 pounds, is to pull out a gun... after fairly minor injury.

    There is something seriously wrong with that picture. IMO.

    And again, I believe the verdict was correct based on evidence presented. But that doesn't mean there isn't "something rotten in the state of Denmark".
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
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  18. SmootyGator
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    I'm sure that if it happened to you that you wouldn't consider it a "fairly minor injury".
  19. leogator
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    leogator Active Member

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    When a cracker is stalking you.
  20. g8tr80
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    So justifiable homicides went up, not homicides overall. I mean, would the gang banger NOT pull the trigger if there wasn't a SYG law? I'm not thinking that is part of their thought process. Now, they may now get away with it in certain instances, but that trigger was going to get pulled regardless.

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