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Stand Your Ground: The “New” Self-Defense Doctrine That’s 136 Years Young

Stand Your Ground: The “New” Self-Defense Doctrine That’s 136 Years Young

Much has been made lately of the self-defense legal doctrine of Stand-Your-Ground, mostly for political purposes unrelated to any actual legal application of the doctrine (for more on this, see here: Stand-Your-Ground: Gun Control Zombies Exploit Grieving Black Community).

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Reverend Al Sharpton protests the Stand-Your-Ground laws that exist in 33 states.

Stand Your Ground Does Not Make it Legal to Just Kill on a Whim

Those denouncing Stand-Your-Ground characterize it as something “new,” a misguided initiative adopted in recent years by state legislatures that has now been clearly demonstrated to have profoundly negative unexpected consequences. “Why, under Stand-Your-Ground you can shoot and kill someone just because! And it’s totally legal!”

This has  become the common refrain of the pro-thug crowd who now begrudgingly concedes that Zimmerman had to be acquitted based on the facts and the law of the case–but the problem, they say, is not the thug, but the law. (For a discussion on why the Zimmerman case was never a Stand-Your-Ground case, look here: The Marissa Alexander Case Wasn’t About “Stand-Your-Ground” Either.)

Justifiable Killings Spiked in Florida After SYG Adopted – Self-Defense is Good

But are the consequences of Stand-Your-Ground either negative or unexpected? FBI data shows that there was an increase in justifiable homicides in the aftermath of Stand-Your-Ground, from an annual average of 13.2 during the period 2001-2005, to an average of 42 during 2006-2012. But isn’t that a positive and expected consequence of Stand-Your-Ground?

After all, a homicide that has been ruled justifiable is, by definition, one in which the person who killed was justified in doing so. Under American law, that means (with very rare exception) that the person they killed was reasonably perceived to be representing an imminent danger of death or grave bodily harm. That aggressor was subsequently killed by the use of defensive force.

What alternative outcome would the opponents of Stand-Your-Ground desire? That the defending victim of the aggressor be the one that was killed? Or perhaps merely maimed? Raped, Beaten down?

Highly aggressive acts of violence carry an inherent threat of death occurring to one of the participants, but the two participants are not operating on the same moral plane. The innocent defender is right in his use of defensive force, the aggressor is not. The innocent defender did not choose the initiation of violence, the aggressor did. If death must strike one of them, it is infinitely better that it strike down the thug than the law-abiding citizen.

To put it another way, it’s hard to get too worked up about an increase in the number of justifiable homicides occurring if the right people–the aggressors who initiated the deadly fight on an innocent–are doing the dying. When that’s the case, Stand-Your-Ground is working just fine, and the justified homicides will stop when criminal aggressors stop committing acts of aggravated violence on lawfully armed citizens. It’s the criminals’ call.  (To hear this notion propounded by yours truly to a rather shocked NPR radio show, click here:  Attorney Andrew Branca Participates on NPR Zimmerman Panel.)

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The Venerable “New” Doctrine of Stand-Your-Ground

What about this concept that the Stand-Your-Ground doctrine is somehow “new.” It’s certainly true that a number of states in the last couple of decades have adopted explicit Stand-Your-Ground statutes. Florida’s was adopted in 2005, and my neighboring state of New Hampshire just adopted their version in 2011, overriding the veto of the Democratic governor, and many other states have adopted similar legislation in the intervening years.

Supreme_Court_1932.30120858_std

In fact, however, Stand-Your-Ground is far older than today’s mainstream media and racial activists–but I repeat myself–would have you believe. A quick review of my own notes shows the earliest reference to the Stand-Your-Ground doctrine dates back to when the United States numbered a mere 38 states, the Indiana case of Runyon v. State, 57 Ind. 80 (1877). In that case the court noted:

The tendency of the American mind seems to be very strongly against the enforcement of any rule which requires a person to flee when assailed, to avoid chastisement or even to save a human life . . . [Therefore,] [t]he weight of modern authority . . establishes the doctrine that when a person, being without fault and in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel force by force, and if, in reasonable exercise of his right of self-defence, his assailant is killed, he is justifiable.

(As quoted in: Of the Enemy Within, The Castle Doctrine, and Self-Defense.)

Other venerable cases supporting are found strewn widely around the closing of the 19th century: People v. Lewis (a California case from 1897), Boykin v. People (a Colorado case from 1896), Ragland v. State (a Georgia case from 1900), State v. Hatch (a Kansas case from 1896), and State v. Partlow (a Missouri case from 1887).

So, it’s pretty clear that Stand-Your-Ground has been around a very long time. Indeed, it has always been the majority doctrine in the United States, with only a minority of states adopting a generalized duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. Even today, only 17 states apply such a duty.

Why the Pendulum from SYG to Duty to Retreat, and Back to SYG ?

But what about the states that have more recently gone Stand-Your-Ground, and were previously “duty to retreat” states by either statute or court decision? Why the change? After all, the moral imperatives that argue for Stand-Your-Ground have existed in America for at least 136 years, yet these states had moved away from the Stand-Your-Ground doctrine despite these imperatives. What drove the change from Stand-Your-Ground to “duty to retreat”? And what drove the change back again?

The shift away from Stand-Your-Ground and towards the generalized duty to retreat was predicated on the notion that all life is precious, and before a defender can take the life of an attacker he must first exhaust every other option. And sometimes they really mean every other option. You hear that sentiment expressed by the anti-Stand-Your-Ground folks today. Listen to the pro-thug faction talking about the Zimmerman case and you’ll soon hear someone lament that poor George should have exhausted his brains on the sidewalk before being justified to use deadly force to stop Martin’s vicious attack. After all, it was just an “ass-whuppin.” Indeed, much of the State’s prosecution of Zimmerman was based on the (legally ludicrous notion) that Zimmerman’s injuries were too minor to justify his use of deadly force in self defense. (To see why this notion is ludicrous, click here: Zimmerman Update — How Much Injury Is Required Before Self-Defense is Justified?)

So, what happened? Why the shift back?

“An Unarmed Society is an Impolite Society”

First, as is typical of liberal policies, even (especially?) when well intended, they had massive and genuinely negative unexpected consequences. A criminal who knows he can seize physical control of his immediate surroundings with no fear of death or grave bodily harm being visited upon him is emboldened to do exactly that. You get more violent aggression from the criminal element of society, not less, when you force law-abiding citizens to cede control to violent criminals.  It’s Heinleins’, “An armed society is a polite society,” turned topsy-turvy.

Duty to Retreat Greatly Facilitates the Destruction of Otherwise Solid Claims of Self-Defense

Second, the imposition of a generalized duty to retreat made defeating almost any claim of self-defense child’s play for hyper-aggressive prosecutors. In a fight for your life your attention is focused sharply on staying alive–at least, if you survived we can assume that was the case. After allocating the cognitive bandwidth to staying alive, there’s often not a whole lot left to allocate to identifying and carefully assessing the prospects for safely retreating down that particular path, or through that particular door, or behind that particular obstacle.

But in the cool, safe environs of a court room, the Prosecutor will point to ALL of these avenues of escape and demand the jury ask why not one of them were pursued–why they were not even attempted? And if he can convince them that a reasonably safe avenue of retreat existed and you failed to take advantage of it, failed to meet your generalized duty to retreat, before using deadly force, your use of that force is not justifiable under the law. Your entire claim of self-defense collapses out from under you, and instead your conduct has become an unlawful killing.

(Note: There are some duty-to-retreat states that do not entirely strip you of your right to claim self-defense if you failed to take advantage of a reasonably safe avenue of retreat. Under the doctrine of “imperfect self-defense” they allow you to mitigate what would have been a murder conviction to manslaughter. Recall that in the Zimmerman trial George was actually facing more jail time if convicted of the “lesser included charge” of manslaughter than if he was convicted of murder.)

States Became Fed-Up With Negative Consequences of Duty to Retreat, Switched Back to SYG

As prosecutors increasingly began to leverage this avenue of attacking self-defense claims, and society observed ever more miscarriages of justice with law-abiding defenders receiving lengthy, sometimes life-long, prison sentences because of the generalized duty to retreat, pressure gradually grew to return to the always more popular doctrine of Stand-Your-Ground.

And now you know the rest of the story.


NOTICE: “Law of Self Defense” Seminars are now being scheduled for the fall.

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” now available at www.lawofselfdefense.com and also at Amazon.com as either a hardcopy or in Kindle version, and at Barnes & Noble as hardcopy or in Nook version.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

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Comments

Uncle Samuel | July 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

Excellent article! You are doing important work, Mr. Branca.

I will send this link to answer any queries and misconceptions about self-defense and SYG law.

The current campaign by the Obama administration seems to be a Trojan horse, named Trayvon, intended to remove the last vestiges of authority from local and state law enforcement and courts as well as freedom, self-defense and safety from the citizens.

Anyone notice that the MSM sat on the story about Zimmerman rescuing the car crash victims – until after Sharpton was done with his Hundred Man Marches?

The rescue actually took place last week.

    Does not fit the msm first rule:
    “If it bleeds it leads”, especially in this day and age of, dwindling readership and ones using their print versions for bird cages and fish-wrapping.

    jayjerome66 in reply to Musson. | July 23, 2013 at 11:15 am

    FOR THE RECORD: tho I like putting nails into the MSM’s forehead, there’s no evidence they were aware of the story before it appeared two days ago.

Bravo Branca !

Do we know which states have actual statutes requiring duty to retreat v those states that have ‘moved’ that direction via the judiciary? My contention is that most states arrived at their duty to retreat doctrine by judicial decree, not the conscience acts of the legislature. Which makes the duty to retreat doctrine even more noxious. Imposed by an un-elected elite that ignores the constitution at will and without penalty.

We are at two generations of citizens that have no concept of the constitutional roles of our own govt. Just the way the progressives have designed it.

Apparently State Senator Barack Obama was co-sponsor of a Bill which included a self defense immunity provision and did not include a duty to retreat.

That Bill became lawas <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=093-0832"Public Act 093-0832

I wonder if Andrew can opine on whether “Stand Your Ground” is implicit in this act.

    sequester in reply to sequester. | July 23, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Sorry a good link to the bill is:

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=093-0832

    John Fund originally brought this to light.

    Folks keep conflating SYG and self-defense immunity, then calling them both SYG.

    SYG and self-defense immunity are NOT the same thing, and speaking of them as if they are merely causes confusion.

    The IL statutes 7-1, 7-2, 7-3 each have a self-defense immunity clause. They do not, however, speak explicitly to the issue of SYG.

    SYG is, however, the law in IL, if only by case law. See In Re T.W., 888 N.E.2d 148 (IL Ct. App. 2008) — http://is.gd/rThm4M — which states in relevant part that:

    However, “a person who is not the initial aggressor has no duty to retreat.” People v. White, 265 Ill.App.3d 642, 651, 202 Ill.Dec. 668, 638 N.E.2d 314, 320 (1994).”

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

Humphreys Executor | July 23, 2013 at 9:46 am

The Zimmerman raises some issues that both anti/pro GZ forces could possible agree need to be addressed for the good of all: Prosecutors seem to have too much discretion to over-charge. Florida allows the prosecutor to unilaterally forego indictment by a grand jury in serious cases. Society might have more confidence in the verdict of a 12-person than a 6-person jury.

[…] The “New” Self-Defense Doctrine – Andrew Branca, L.I. […]

“Why, under Stand-Your-Ground you can shoot and kill someone just because! And it’s totally legal!”

That one is so infuriating, and I hear it a LOT.

It’s the same breed of ninnies who were predicting back in 2004 that if SYG got passed in Florida, we’d have people shooting each other willy-nilly over arguments in supermarket checkout lines and our streets would just be running with blood.

There are over 19 million of us here, over a million with CCW licenses, and SYG has been in effect for more than seven years.

~~takes a quick look out my front door~~

WHERE ARE ALL THE BODIES?

    WHERE ARE ALL THE BODIES?*

    *Dead armadillo on the parkway currently being eaten by turkey vultures notwithstanding. I think he was a victim of the State, i.e. the garbage truck ran over him 🙁

    Hucklebuck in reply to Amy in FL. | July 23, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I saw a squirrel dead by the road today. Maybe he was a victim of SYG.

Excellent analysis. The most irritating misuse of the stats on SYG that I read repeatedly is the “increase in deaths” without comment on who the dead is. If the aggressors are being killed or wounded, then SYG, and self-defense in general, is working as it should. This distinction is rarely drawn by MSM “analysts”.

Also, enjoyed your live tweets throughout the case.

Yet another excellent posting/article by Andrew.

I’m always infuriated when people use the fact that findings of justifiable homicide went up significantly after the passage of the law in FL provides evidence that it had unleashed some torrent of “murders” in which the “murderer” was now able to avoid “justice” through some unfair law. It does no such thing.

In total the number of homicides during the comparable periods may have either gone up or down for a multitude of reasons. The increase in justifiable homicide suggests the success of the law. It points to the fact prior to 2005 (the year of passage of the law) it is likely that many people who were actually justified in the use of deadly force were denied the opportunity to use it effectively in their defense due to laws that imposed upon them a severely restrictive duty to retreat.

(BTW, Andrew, I recall that you are not sensitive about someone pointing out typo’s or some comment, etc. that you might want to look at or change so here goes. In the section listing several of the venerable cases around 1900 and before your comment says “…around the closing of the 20th century.”)

The new meme: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/832/1hd2.png/

Yes, there are some people claiming that if your daughter knees or pepper-sprays some creep who’s following her, under SYG laws he’s justified in shooting her.

    SMH. I can’t even…

    What world do these people live in?

    Wherever it is, I hope it’s one of the ones that’s vowed to boycott Florida.

    OmegaPaladin in reply to smokefan. | July 23, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    First of all, the daughter would be the aggressor, unless the guy was actually refusing to back off. She’d be going to jail for assault. Attacking or offensively touching someone without provocation is a crime.

    Regardless of that, this is why there is a reasonable belief standard. Unless you were on a cliff, those actions are not presenting the opportunity for grievous bodily harm.

    However, if the guy went into anaphylactic shock from the pepper spray, and she kept on pepper spraying him and kneeing him, he could shoot her.

Bruce Hayden | July 23, 2013 at 10:51 am

I appreciate in particular an explanation of why the retreat doctrine can make self-defense problematic. If Florida had had a robust retreatt doctrine, maybe the only thing keeping GZ out of prison might have been the forensic pathologist determining that the only really possible explanation of the gun shot evidence on TM and his clothes was if TM were shot by somone underneath him, showing that no retreat had been possible at the time that the shot was fired (Good’s testimony of who was on top and bottom would have been good, but might not have been sufficient on its own).

That is the scary thing that Andrew brings out about the retreat doctrine, that when someone is trying to kill you, the only thing that you have in your mind is survival, but prosecutors have plenty of time to identify plausible avenues of retreat, time that you didn’t have when facing death or major bodily injury.

Do we have any stats on homeowner deaths by criminals before and after SYG?

The justifiable homicide stats just tell us that the bad guy died. What about the effects on the good guys.

Florida –

2006 – one murder every 7 hours 46 minutes
2012 – one murder every 8 hours 42 minutes

Total violent crime 2005 – 125,825
Total violent crime 2012 – 93,965

http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/state/florida-firearm-violence-hits-record-low-concealed-gun-permits-up

“The Firearm-involved violent crime rate has dropped 33 percent between 2007 and 2011, while the number of issued concealed weapons permits rose nearly 90 percent during that time, state records show.”

This chart tells it

http://www.justfacts.com/images/guncontrol/florida-full.png

from

http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

    jayjerome66 in reply to pjm. | July 23, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Damn! Why do I have to be the bad guy, and prick the party balloon?

    Look at the chart. The violent crime rate fell drastically throughout the US – Florida included.
    That means it dropped in states without increased concealed weapons permits issued. And in states that tightened up on issuing those permits too (I think elsewhere Andrew said his home state was one of those).

    That’s not to say there isn’t a link, but you need additional linking data from a lot more states to show an increase in concealed weapon permits appreciably affected violent crime rates.

    It would also be interesting to see statewide statistics for home owner gun purchases during that time, to see if that could link up to the falling violent crime rate.

    And for the falling violent crime rates over the last decade, police organizations throughout the US have already take credit for that, claiming better policing methods and community based programs reduced them. And statisticians say changes in the way data was defined and processed has something to do with the falling numbers as well.

      The one thing off the top of my head that I could see those figures supporting, is that restricting access to firearms is not a prerequisite to getting your crime levels to come down.

      There’s no evidence that loosening gun laws causes more crime; & there’s no evidence for the liberals’ pet hypothesis that we need to make gun laws tighter and more restrictive in order to have less crime.

      (Not that I ever believed that the gun grabbers’ main goal was ever to lessen crime rates anyway, but since that’s what they pretend, we’ll play along and pretend to believe them.)

      absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

      I wonder how many lives have been saved by anti-lock brakes?

    While those figures pretty much falsify the hypothesis that “the streets of Florida will be running with blood if you (a) bring in SYG laws and (b) arm a record number of citizens”, getting them to prove the implied hypothesis that there’s a causative relationship between more citizens with CCLs, stronger SYG laws, and less crime, is a little more complicated.

    Florida’s crime rate is currently at its lowest point ever, in the whole 42 years that they’ve been compiling this particular set of data. Everybody will have their own pet hypothesis to explain the current trends. I’ve heard everything from better policing, to more welfare programs, to the phasing out of leaded gasoline, to the Roe vs Wade decision, given credit.

    Mac45 in reply to pjm. | July 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    One thing accounts for the spikes in homicide in 1972 and 1984: the domestic drug trade. In the early 70s, it was largely heroin [though marijuana and meth were also involved] and wars broke out between established distributors and those wanting to break into the trade. In the mid 1980s, it was cocaine and the Cocaine Cowboy wars. Both spikes resulted in increased federal, state and local enforcement of drug laws which put many drug merchants out of business and drove down the homicide rate. In Florida, ancillary crimes, mostly non-homicides, committed by drug users continued to elevate citizen concerns about violent crime which led to the passage of firearms preemption and state wide concealed carry laws. In 1995, the 85% rule for serving prison sentences went into effect. This kept convicted criminals in prison longer and cut the crime rate even further. Some other socioeconomic factors, such as a robust economy, probably also served to lower criminal violence stats. Increased firearm possession may have added to this decrease, but it was not THE driving force.

      Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Correction:

      The spikes centered around 1972 and 1980, not 1984. Sorry about that.

      Pettifogger in reply to Mac45. | July 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      Perhaps so. But whatever the explanation, it’s hard to argue concealed carry and SYG increased gun-related crime. Ought not the worst-case assumption regarding concealed carry and SYG be that they are immaterial to rates of gun-related crime? And if that’s the case, then by what Divine right do the bureaucrats deny us as individuals the right to try to defend ourselves in an effective manner? Individually, we are not statistics, and we have rights as individuals, not as racial cohorts.

cjharrispretzer | July 23, 2013 at 11:44 am

This is the post we’ve been waiting for, thank you. This is great information. I’ve had the unenviable experience of having gone through a criminal jury trial as a rape victim, which is a very unique experience because you are judged almost as much as the defendant himself. It was a horrible experience as my rapist denied everything and called me a liar and said we had “rape role-played”. My point is, there was A LOT of effort dedicated to whether or not I tried to “retreat” or not during the trial. This man was threatening to kill me, had choked me, beat me, etc, and I decided to get to a recording device (they are all around these days) and hit “record” in order to prove what was happening to me. Oh, and my two toddlers were upstairs while this was happening to me, so I couldn’t just leave them behind either. But it was suggested that I should just run? Where? He would catch me and hurt me more. I can only imagine how much worse it would be if the trial would have been murder. This man is getting out of prison in May 2014, which is why I carry concealed. If he ever violates the restraining order, I can’t believe laws may be weakened that may make it harder for me to defend myself.

    Phillep Harding in reply to cjharrispretzer. | July 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Could be he really was/is convinced all women are masochists. Not excusing him. Some people cannot learn this side of the grave. Treat him like a mad dog.

    Good work both with the recorder and getting the CCW. Be sure to carry at all times, especially at home.

    There are a number of web sites you might want to check out by and for women who face real threats, and several holster manufacturers have /finally/ started making them for women CCW.

    Even if you know what resources there are on the net, not all women will as the above are new developments. Good luck, and keep and ear open.

Henry Hawkins | July 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

So, SYG *doesn’t* mean I can shoot someone for no damn reason? Well, it certainly would have been nice to know that BEFORE last night.

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I have a few questions about immunity in Florida. I understand that if someone tries to sue George Zimmerman, he has to request of the court that he be granted immunity. The court would then hold an evidentiary hearing. Would the trial record be enough for the court to grant immunity or would witnesses have to be called? Could the plaintiff call Zimmerman? Based on the fact that the prosecutors circumvented a grand jury, could the prosecutors be called to justify such an action?
( To be honest I just want to see OMara and West examine Corey and BDLR. )

This post. Bravissimo.

Juba Doobai! | July 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm

The campers in that picture are very unhappy. All that lovely money they expected to get, gone, gone, gone. What a difference a ‘not guilty’ verdict makes. Like Obama, TM’s parents have never once asked the thugs who have been attacking people in their son’s name to cease and desist. Why is that? I’m sorry they lost their son, but they knew he was a thug. Now, they’re trying to milk the grievance train for all its worth.

As for SYG, it’s laughable that the amazingly ignorant Al Sharpton, he really is astonishingly ignorant and uninformed, is blathering on about it when he doesn’t have a clue about it. But that’s Sharpton stock in trade–talk loud and say nothing.

Don’t forget the U.S. Supreme Court addressed “Stand your ground” as to the home.

From Wikipedia: The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)) that a man who was “on his premises” when he came under attack and “…did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm…was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground.”

    So, in the highly unlikely event that you end up in a Federal court arguing self-defense, you can always call up Beard.

    *shrug*

    Very, very few self-defense cases end up in Federal court. Charges of unlawful killing, and the claim of self-defense as justification, are almost entirely state matters, not Federal.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

One has to wonder what sort of person thinks it is a good idea to empower criminals to go around forcing peaceful folk to run away from them.

    Phillep Harding in reply to TeeJaw. | July 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    The sort that wants a docile electorate, one that does not question anything the high status and powerful people do.

[…] but I can’t say for sure one way or the other), but the doctrine is over a century old. Andrew Blanca notes numerous cases doing as far back as […]

[…] the history of "stand your ground" (i.e. the abolition of the duty to retreat): Stand Your Ground | New Doctrine | Over 136 Years Old Gunhandling trumps shooting, avoidance trumps both. Reply With […]

Liberals want to eliminate the “Stand your ground” aspect of the law. Without this law, the victim of a crime could be at fault rather than the attacker. The victim is supposed to run away and if he doesn’t he, therefore, must be at fault. Correct?

[…] to the “stand your ground laws”.  Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection does a little research about the law and provides us with […]

The Detroit City Council(yes, Detroit, the bombed out city with no money that is bankrupt)spent their precious council time this morning voting to approve a resolution asking the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

Oh, all this Trayvonite stuff is just a new logical fallacy, that I call:

Post hoc, Urkel propter hoc

Which roughly translates to, “If he is a Black Yute, that is why he was shot.

Squeeky Fromm
Girl Reporter

[…] Stand Your Ground laws allow a person to defend himself against attack without evading the attacker, running away, begging for mercy or freeing prisoners from Guantanamo Prison so they can return to the battlefield. Without Stand Your Ground laws if, just for instance, a teenager trained in mixed martial arts techniques and stoned on cough syrup and watermelon soda found himself smashing your head into the pavement for some reason, you would not be allowed to rush to judgement and automatically take this amiss just because the attacker happened to be African American. Instead, you would be required to say something like, “Excuse me, young man. Pardon me. I say, I understand your people have suffered from discrimination, but would you mind terribly not smashing my head into the pavement?” If he refused and went on to kill you, you would then be permitted to come back to life and shoot him. […]

      jayjerome66 in reply to DriveBy. | July 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      WTF. Are you Trayvon come back to life, to graffiti this blog with your favorite graffiti letters?

      Really,WTF is with that?
      And DriveBy, stop hitting the thumb down button for everything but your own posts.

        DriveBy in reply to jayjerome66. | July 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        OK, thanks! So it was you! My bad, my first thought was that Uncle Samuel had posted it, but you received an email notification of my post and you stupidly and immediately responded to my post. LOL! Sucks to be you… Try this blog instead: http://www.stormfront.org

          D’oh. It’s an automatically generated pingback from when Andrew Klavan linked to this blog post from PJ Media.

          We really did end up with the dregs of the trolloverse here, didn’t we. This one’s about as sharp as a bag of wet mice.

          DriveBy in reply to DriveBy. | July 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm

          I follow you Amy, thanks for the heads up. You are obviously a more advanced participant in blogs than me. Who is Klavan, and why does he matter? IDK. I went to your link, he has a bunch of comments on his blog post, specifically he has one (1) posted comment.

          What was LI before the Zimmerman trial and before Andrew posted a bunch of stuff about SYG and started selling his book here? I only ask because it seems pretty “dead” on most any blog post here except for those related to or about Zimmerman, and even those are only about 50 comments now, mostly by racists IMO. I look forward to learning more from you. BTW, this post that we are using is old, there are so many more newer that have been posted since – why / how are you commenting on this old one?

          Make no mistake, the Professor did me a huge favor by inviting me on his very popular and highly-Google-rated blog, not the other way around.

          I’m glad to be here, and honored by the privilege.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

Phillep Harding | July 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Perhaps Guncite.com has some information that might be useful for this discussion? They try to use only information that can be backed up with reliable sources.

Midwest Rhino | July 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

If someone was contemplating a murder using SYG as a defense, they’d probably have a better chance if they just found opportunity to murder without being discovered. Setting up a scenario where the victim appears to be the attacker, and the murderer appeared to be in fear of his life … gets messy quickly.

On the other hand, thugs and robbers prefer the ability to rob and attack, where an armed victim must give written notification the he has said gun, and a “if you fracture one more bone I’ll shoot” two minute warning. That makes for a safer “working environment” for the attacker that only wants to rob or deliver an ass whoopin’ and doesn’t generally murder.

So I guess I can see both sides of the argument, but side with the would be victim.

    DriveBy in reply to Midwest Rhino. | July 23, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    But in most cases, in Florida in a past SYG case, wouldn’t you be siding with a black man defending himself from another black man? Please let me know.

    And If the answer to my question is in fact, “Yes,” then why is SYG and Zimmerman still such a topic of discussion. Isn’t this particular case an anomaly?

      Midwest Rhino in reply to DriveBy. | July 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      I didn’t even mention the Zimmerman case or race. Yes, it is usually black on black. It is still in the news because Team Obama thinks they can score points against SYG, by using Martin, and generally rabble rouse the base as distraction from scandals.

      I was only addressing the argument that SYG results in more killing, and the idea there is therefore more “murder by SYG”, as opposed to more thugs being killed for their perceived deadly assault.

This is EXACTLY the article I’ve hoped you’d write Andrew. Love the history and cited cases. Definitely a keeper link.

star1701gazer | July 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Great article. I was quite surprise to see a sudden about face on the Stand Your Ground laws by Houston, Texas activist Quannel X. An african-american woman pumping gas at a station was accosted, first verbally and then physically by an african-american male. When he pulled out a knife, she reached into her truck and pulled out a shotgun. When he struck her, she fired, killing the man. Suddenly the activist, who only a day earlier was marching in protest of the Martin case and deriding Stand Your Ground laws was up in front of the cameras defending them. Gotta love it!
http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=9182830

fulldroolcup | July 24, 2013 at 2:02 am

Hypothetical. A woman is standing on the street, thinking that a man is following her. She calls the police to raise her fears and concerns.

Then, a man sneaks up on her, punches her to the ground, straddles her, and begins attempting to rape her.

Is she obligated to wait until he penetrates her before she can begin using deadly force against him?

Does it matter that it’s not rape-rape, just forcible sexual intercourse?

Ask any “feminist”. Then ask them to “compare and contrast”.

[…] Stand Your Ground laws [2] allow a person to defend himself against attack without evading the attacker, running away, begging for mercy or freeing prisoners from Guantanamo so they can return to the battlefield. Without Stand Your Ground laws if, just for instance, a teenager trained in mixed martial arts techniques and stoned on cough syrup and watermelon soda found himself smashing your head into the pavement for some reason, you would not be allowed to rush to judgement and automatically take this amiss just because the attacker happened to be African American. Instead, you would be required to say something like, “Excuse me, young man. Pardon me. I say, I understand your people have suffered from discrimination, but would you mind terribly not smashing my head into the pavement?” If he refused and went on to kill you, you would then be permitted to come back to life and shoot him. […]

Hi, Thank to all the team for the great job done.
Sorry for my bad English, I’am french.
I have a question about duty to retreat: If a CCW holder is in a store, then he see a man attacking others custommers with a knife and fire at him to protect the others custommers. Could the prosecutor claim that the custommers had way to retrait securely and then claim the defendant made an unlawful killing ?
Sincerly

    What you are describing falls under the umbrella of “defense of others”. There is a legal doctrine of self-defense law called the “alter ego” doctrine. It states that your legal right to come to the defense of a third-person is no greater than their own legal right. If they would have been entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, for example, then you would be entitled to use deadly force to defend them. BUT if they would NOT have been entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, then your use of deadly force to defend them would not have been justified.

    Today, however, the “alter ego” doctrine i rarely, if ever, applied. Of course, we have 50 states here in the US, and each state has its own laws, but in general you are allowed to rely on your reasonable (important word) perceptions of the events. If it reasonably appeared that the person you are defending would have been lawfully permitted to use force in their own defense, then your use of deadly force in their defense, even if it later turned out that the person you defended would not actually have been able to claim self-defense (e.g., they had been the aggressor in the fight).

    Having said that, we do have some states where the law is that if the person you are defending has a legal duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, and a safe avenue of retreat exists for them, you are obligated to try to induce them to take advantage of that safe avenue of retreat before you may use deadly force in their defense.

    Of course, self-defense scenarios are always very fact-sensitive. Effectively retreating from a knife-wielding attacker who is within 7 meters is extremely difficult if the attacker is intent on striking you with the knife–even people armed with a handgun are in mortal danger in such a scenario. (See “Tueller Drill”.)

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense, #LOSD2

[…] Law: Stand Your Ground: The “New” Self-Defense Doctrine That’s 136 Years Young […]

[…] Those denouncing Stand-Your-Ground characterize it as something “new,” a misguided initiative adopted in recent years by state legislatures that has now been clearly demonstrated to have profoundly negative unexpected consequences. “Why, under Stand-Your-Ground you can shoot and kill someone just because! And it’s totally legal!”  More […]

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