Sunday, April 01, 2012


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.

Governor Jeb Bush vanishes after signing stand your ground law in Florida
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.