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Breaking – E.J. Dionne unable to grasp Stand Your Ground laws

Breaking – E.J. Dionne unable to grasp Stand Your Ground laws

Ignorance of true nature of SYG blinds journalists to the law’s overwhelming success and popularity

http://youtu.be/0bjFKvhxzjg

E.J. Dionne, Jr., in his Washington Post piece entitled “Repeal stand-your-ground laws,” presents us with yet another example of the utter inability of too many journalists to grasp the relatively simple and straightforward legal concept commonly referred to as “Stand-Your-Ground.”

Humorously, the first paragraph of his piece had me utterly convinced that Dionne must certainly be writing about Obamacare, despite the headline:

The law is supposed to solve problems, not create them. Laws should provide as much clarity as possible, not expand the realms of ambiguity and subjectivity. Laws ought to bring about the practical results their promoters claim they’ll achieve.

With a lead-in like that, surely he’s about to call for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, right? Just kidding–it is, after all, the Washington Post.

Instead, Dionne has decided to call for the repeal of another law about which he patently knows nothing: “Stand-Your-Ground.”

Dionne’s Imagined Relevance of Stand-Your-Ground to Dunn Trial

How can we identify his ignorance of the law he argues should be repealed, as well as its application (or, more accurately, its lack of application) in the Zimmerman and Dunn trials. Why, he’s kind enough to show us, in his own words.

First, Dionne writes of the Dunn trial:

Supporters of the law say it was technically not at issue in the case, but this overlooks the obvious role it played in the trial.

And where do we find this “obvious role” for SYG in the Dunn trial? It was mentioned in a single passing sentence–that would be ONE sentence–with no particular emphasis by defense counsel Cory Strolla in his closing argument. One mention over the course of two weeks of jury voir dire opening statements, day after day of trial, and closing arguments. One. Mention.

Dionne also notes that Judge Healey instructed the jury on Stand-Your-Ground, in exactly the same way the Zimmerman jury was instructed, and as he concedes in exactly the same way that any jury in any self-defense case would be instructed. This is so regardless of whether stand-your ground is relevant to the case, because the stand-your-ground language is included as a component of Florida’s standardized jury instructions for the justifiable use of deadly force.

That’s Mr. Dionne’s evidence of the “obvious role” of stand-your-ground in the Dunn trial–a single passing reference by defense counsel, and a single paragraph amongst over 30 pages of jury instructions. Compelling, no?

Dionne’s Ignorance of What SYG Does, and Its Purpose

But let’s set this mischaracterization aside. Why? Because it turns out that Mr. Dionne simply has no understanding even of what stand-your-ground is or what it is intended to achieve.

He writes:

Florida’s [stand-your-ground] statute allows someone to use force if he or she “reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.” The “reasonable belief” standard is not unique to stand-your-ground laws, but it opens a vast loophole for extreme subjectivity when it is applied in conjunction with them.

No, Mr. Dionne, it does not. Under Florida law–and under the law of the other 33 states that are effectively stand-your-ground jurisdictions–the defender’s reasonableness is not measured solely as a subjective matter. The defender’s conduct must be found by the jury to have been BOTH subjectively reasonable AND objectively reasonable.

For subjective reasonableness, the defender must have possessed a genuine belief that their use of deadly force was necessary to prevent an imminent attack capable of causing death or grave bodily harm.

In addition, however, the jury is charged that this belief must ALSO be OBJECTIVELY reasonable. That is, would a reasonable and prudent person, in the same or similar circumstances, possessing the defendant’s knowledge and capabilities, have similarly perceived the threat as one of imminent deadly harm?

If the defender’s conduct fails the objective reasonableness test, the use of force fails to qualify as self-defense as a matter of law.

Thus, the law does not give a “license to kill” to a person who is unreasonably frightened by, say, a young black male. If that fear is not objectively reasonable, it fails the test of self-defense, and no use of force based upon it can be legally justified.

Stand Your Ground Plays No Role In Assessing Reasonableness of Defendant’s Conduct

All of which, by the way is irrelevant to Dionne’s point in any case, because, this dual subjective-objective test of reasonableness has utterly NOTHING to do with stand-your-ground. Exactly the same dual test of reasonableness is found in every state’s self-defense law, whether the state is among the 34 that do not impose a legal duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense (not the “some two dozen states” Dionne references in passing) or among the 16 that do impose such a legal duty. It was the law before Florida passed its stand-your-ground statute, and it remained the law afterwards.

Stand-your-ground, in fact, has nothing whatever to do with evaluating the reasonableness of a use of force against another. Rather-stand-your ground does one thing, and one thing only: Where there might otherwise have been a legal duty to safely retreat before using deadly force in self-defense, stand-your-ground removes that legal duty. Nothing more than that, nothing less than that.

Stand-your-ground thus plays no role in assessing reasonableness. It has nothing whatever to do with self-defense immunity. It has nothing whatever to do with presumptions of reasonableness in the context of defending one’s home All it does is remove the legal duty to retreat. Period.

FL Prosecutors Still Free to Argue Defendant Should Have Retreated

Note, also, that while removing the legal duty to retreat stand-your-ground does NOT prohibit the Florida State prosecutors from arguing that a defendant’s failure to retreat should be considered by the jury. Indeed, Florida’s prosecutors are fully entitled to argue to the jury that because the defendant could have safely retreated they ought to deny his claim of self-defense. All stand-your-ground does is prevent them from arguing that because the defendant could have safely retreated they MUST deny his claim of self-defense as a matter of law. The issue of retreat is still fair game for the jury’s consideration.

SYG Only Ever Applies to the Innocent, Reasonable Defender

Finally, Dionne fails to grasp the purpose of stand-your-ground laws, assigning them instead a straw-man purpose which even then he struggles to proof has failed to be achieved. Dionne cites a Tampa Bay Times article that claims Florida’s stand-your-ground law has been “invoked with unexpected frequency,” but that can hardly be deemed the definition of a law’s failure. Dionne cites the same article to note that stand-your-ground has “confused judges”–which would seem an argument for better judges–and “allowed drug dealers to avoid murder charges and . . . manslaughters.”

This latter is a particularly egregious claim. As discussed, the only thing stand-your-ground does is relieve the defender of a legal duty to retreat before using deadly force in self-defense. But stand-your-ground can only EVER apply if the  defensive conduct was otherwise perfectly legal self-defense.

Retreat is only one of five elements of self-defense. While stand-your-ground may relieve a defendant of the element of retreat, it certainly does not relieve the defendant of the others.

First, the defendant must be the innocent party in the conflict. If the defendant was the aggressor, he does not qualify for self-defense in any form, and stand-your-ground is irrelevant.

Second, the deadly threat against which the defendant acted must be imminent, about to occur RIGHT NOW. If the defendant used force in anticipation of some future threat, he does not qualify for self-defense in any form, and stand-your-ground is irrelevant.

Third, the degree of force used by the defendant must have been proportional to the degree of force with which he is threatened. If the defendant used deadly force to ward off a non-deadly attack, he does not qualify for self-defense in any form, and stand-your-ground is irrelevant.

Finally, the defendant’s perception of the threat he faced must be both objectively and subjectively reasonable, as already discussed at length.

All of this was the law before Florida adopted stand-your-ground, all of it is still Florida law following the adoption of stand-your-ground, and all of it is the law in every one of the 50 states, stand-your-ground or not.

Thus, if the defendant’s conduct would have failed as self-defense prior to the adoption of stand-your-ground, it will fail as self-defense AFTER the adoption of stand-your-ground. Florida’s stand-your-ground law thus in no way makes lawful what was previously unlawful, except to the extent that the legal duty to retreat has been lifted in exactly the same manner as in 33 other states.

The True Purpose of Stand-Your-Ground: To Leash Prosecutors

But that considerable blunder aside, Dionne is clearly ignorant of the true purpose of stand-your-ground. It has nothing whatever to do with modifying the behavior of people acting in self-defense.

As already mentioned, stand-your-ground can only be relevant in the case of a defendant whose use of force in self-defense was otherwise perfectly legal:

(1) The defendant was the innocent party, and the person against they used defensive force was the aggressor.
(2) The deadly threat with which the defendant was faced was about to occur imminently.
(3) The amount of defensive force used was no more than necessary to stop the attack.
(4) The defendant’s perception of the threat was both subjectively AND objectively reasonable.

People who meet these criteria–that is, innocent victims of a deadly, imminent assault upon their lives–invariably retreat from the attack if safe retreat is at all possible. Innocent victims of deadly, imminent assaults are not people who seek out and engage in life-and-death battles on the streets of our cities–they’re just people who want to live to make it home. They don’t want to have to deal with the police, to face an indictment, to go to trial, to risk conviction, to perhaps spend the rest of their lives in jail. They certainly don’t WANT to shoot anyone.

Their attacker, however, has left them no reasonable alternative, and they must either act in self-defense and live, or die. Who amongst us would not choose to live, would not want our husbands, our wives, our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters, to make the decision to live? Surely, we would all make that choice.

But that is a choice that the innocent victims of deadly imminent attack–again, the ONLY people who qualify for stand-your-ground–make only when their attacker forces them to. If able to safely retreat, they invariably take advantage of that opportunity. And they do this whether they are aware of stand-your-ground, or not.

So what is the real purpose of stand-your-ground, if not to change the behavior of the innocent victim or deadly imminent attack?

Quite simply, stand-your-ground is a policy decision, a statement by the legislature to the State’s prosecutors. And that message is this:

When an innocent person is faced with an unlawful imminent deadly attack upon their person, and reasonably acts in defense with no more force than necessary to stop the attack, we will not allow you to prosecute that person and send them to jail for perhaps the rest of their lives simply because they failed to see, in the presence of an uplifted knife, the supposedly safe avenue of retreat you are able to show the jury in the secure calm of a court room.

That’s the real purpose of stand-your-ground, and in that context it has been nothing short of a stellar success. Recognition of this success was evidenced as recently as this past November, when after months of public comment and testimony the Florida House Judiciary Committee voted by a margin of 11 to 2 against a bill that had been submitted modify the state’s stand-your-ground law.

Little Hope That Journalists Will Learn from SYG Blunders

I don’t expect that this post will change the minds of folks like Mr. Dionne–in my experience those opposed to stand-your-ground rarely bring reason or an actual understanding of the law to the discussion.

But perhaps it will inform those among the readership who have not yet moved beyond the bounds of reason and are open to an understanding of what stand-your-ground is and is not, and what it does and does not.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

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Comments

Jeez. It seems like arguments against SYG laws are really just arguments against laws for providing self defense.

Scary stuff.

    Sanddog in reply to Yukio Ngaby. | February 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    The left’s natural enemy is the individual.

      myiq2xu in reply to Sanddog. | February 21, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      The left’s natural enemy is the individual reality.

      FTFY

        Phillep Harding in reply to myiq2xu. | February 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        That as well.

        Those who support such believe they will continue to thread through the random vagaries of life and continue to be the favored of the gods of chaos. It just does not sink in that they can, and often do, fall prey to the malice of the politics of such a culture.

        Until they are on their knees with a blindfold over their eyes and a gun to the back of the head.

        If they are fortunate enough to be among the first to be purged. (Hey, blindfolds cost money!)

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Yukio Ngaby. | February 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    “Shaddddddddddddd UP and Laid Down Already!”
    – Typical Zombie Leftist!

    Well, providing self defense when the result is deemed a racial injustice.

    A disturbing number of people seemed quite fine with the notion Trayvon Martin was defending himself against George Zimmerman, and if the former had slain the latter with his bare hands, that too would’ve been fine, because the white man walked behind him at night, an obvious threat.

Really, all you had to say was “Breaking – E.J. Dionne unable to grasp…”. Whatever you put after that-dogs, gravity, feeding himself without making a mess, the color red-would be true. The man makes mud fences look positively Einsteinian.

True, if you are going to discuss at length every issue that E.J. Dionne fails to grasp, you are going to need to clear your schedule.

He’s either incredibly thick, or he is a lying propagandist hack. Or, possibly, both.

Thank you Andrew. The instructor of my concealed carry class (Florida, circa 2000) DRILLED into us the 5 elements of self-defense you mentioned. He referred to them differently, but the idea was the same. I’ve grown tired over the years of educating otherwise educated people how SYG relates to the 5 elements. Mostly it is to no avail. The few who are interested already know and we end up talking about guns. Those who are pre-disposed against guns (like Mr. Dionne) don’t care at all and dismiss my explanation as being from a biased gun nut.

Andrew, you make a compelling case as to why Mr. Dionne is in error in his commentary and arguments. You ought to write a letter to him with a CC: to the ombudsman, in which you lay out your case for his error.

If he has any integrity whatsoever, he might be inclined to print a retraction, or add your corrections to his article.

And if not, well, then at least you can rest assured that you made the attempt.

Happily, it seems only the Coastal Elites of the Collective who rail against SYG laws, along with their unthinking followers.

These laws are vastly well-supported by regular folks who just never saw the morality of being told they had to flee from a deadly threat or they would be criminalized.

Dionne is a perfect example of why there should be no Affirmative Action for people of any race. You can’t possibly this guy got his job on the basis of merit. If he had covered the sinking of the Titanic he would have blamed conservatives for having invented ships while praising the liberal Captain for providing steerage passengers with running water.

As far as the media is concerned, SYG is a law that allows white people to murder black people in cold blood. In their addle-pated thinking, any murder case involving a white defendant and a black victim is a SYG case, regardless of the other facts.

Andrew – This may be one of your best. It is concise and comprehensive. I would think it would be compelling to professionals, laymen, and maybe even journalists/pundits.

PS – Perhaps I am reading it wrong but it seems to me the first sentence under the “FL Prosecutors Still Free to Argue…” might have an extra ‘not’ in it toward the end. (You know, as always, I have the kindest of intentions.)

    Concise? I wish it was concise–but I just didn’t have the time. 🙂

    And, indeed, there WAS an extra “not,” as you noted. Now removed. Thanks, as always.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      HaHa on the concise. I guess I was looking more to the actual explanation of realities SYG and the ‘what-it-does’ and ‘what-it-does-not-do”.

      I sort of blew through the Dionne stuff as most of it was typical of what we hear so often and I figured you were using it more as the vehicle for informing the reader of the realities of SYG. That alone edited it down a good bit.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Actually for the realm of legalese it was pretty concise, not to mention very easy to understand. Unfortunately I fear that even if Mr. Dionne did even bother to read it, the hardest ignorance to correct is usually “willful ignorance”. Its not that they aren’t capable of understanding, the just simply refuse to do so and then try to spread their ignorance.

      If you liked this article then buy Andrew’s book, you will be glad you did.

Live what you believe.

If you are a liberal who thinks the second amendment applies only to organized militias and not individuals, proudly wear a tee-shirt that reads, “Unarmed Liberal Choose Me”.

Go ahead…. do your part for a civilized unarmed society and, as a side benefit, help redistribute wealth (yours).

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | February 21, 2014 at 7:46 pm

“Journalist” Means Never Having to Say You Can’t Read.”

Snark Snark

Wouldn’t this aspect of Florida’s SYG go more to mistrusting juries rather than prosecutors? I agree the immunity portion goes to mistrust of prosecutors, but it seems like the affirmative defense at trial is about juries. If this:

“If able to safely retreat, they invariably take advantage of that opportunity”

is true, then by logical operation all this aspect of the law does is correct a jury error that is apparently rampant. It could never possibly have any other effect.

Judges, juries, prosecutors, it seems like the only people you haven’t claimed are incompetent (excluding defendant and witnesses) are defense attorneys.

    Prosecutors have a recorded habit of arguing that should an avenue of retreat exist, no matter how implausible, uncertain, or suicidal it might be, there can be no self-defense, because self-defense is permissible only if there is literally no avenue of retreat. If society doesn’t like that interpretation, it can pass a law favoring a different view.

    Florida passed such a law, to widespread media condemnation.

Long story short: some people have a really basic, fundamental problem with the idea of self defense succeeding in a court of law, particularly when African-Americans have been killed. There is a deep current in certain segments of society that rejects killing African-Americans is ever justified, even if it is in self defense. I can’t agree with that, myself; it does not seem fair.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to JBourque. | February 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    “some people have a really basic, fundamental problem with the idea of self defense succeeding in a court of law”

    This, very much this. There is a very vocal “Anti-Self Defense” crowd and they mis-characterize laws like this because they don’t believe that you should be able to defend yourself, ever.

    It is strange to me that they like to latch onto cases where a “white” person, or person whom they perceive as white shoots a black person, but ignore the almost genocidal numbers of killings that are black on black.

      Check out this story out of Florida today:

      “Charges dropped in fatal shooting based on Stand Your Ground law” (http://is.gd/5nDf5S)

      Except this time it was black-on-black violence, and a black man (the defender) was given self-defense immunity (NOT, of course, SYG).

      I’ll bet a Guinness we so no more of this story a week from now. Into the memory hole it goes.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 23, 2014 at 8:25 pm

        Yep, and what do you want to bet if Al not so Sharpton was asked about this his considered and thoughtful answer would be something like; “Huh?”

I have to wonder when the last time was that E.J. was around any black person that wasn’t wearing a $2,000 suit

The white (white hispanic) on black crimes like Zimmerman and this Dunn case are specifically singled out by media editors precisely because the initial reports aren’t clear whether it was self-defense or not, and the media cannot help itself with vague insinuations that racism is at the root of the incident. Hyping racism has served the left well and since it has dwindled to imperceptive levels, well, sometimes you have to go out and make some racism. This is what motivates the fake claimers too, often on campuses, where somebody falsifies some racist attack of some sort.

Some folks simply can’t wait to be actually victimized to be a victim and the largely lefty media, for whom ends justify means, are happy to supply the advertising and promotions.

A well written post, but I think it gives short shrift to the impact of the jury instructions. Recall that one of the jurors in the Zimmerman case specifically referenced stand your ground in an interview. Sure, she may have been wrong in her analysis, but that doesn’t change the impact.

    “Recall that one of the jurors in the Zimmerman case specifically referenced stand your ground in an interview.”

    I don’t recall, so a link would be appreciated.

    Obviously, if her “reference” was along the lines of, “SYG was never relevant here,” it could hardly have influenced her decision making.

    In any case, evidence was so overwhelmingly in favor of self-defense in the Zimmerman case that any had a misunderstanding re: SYG occurred could hardly have changed the outcome.

    Also, in seeking to understand and project how a jury might come out on a case, where does it get us if we assume they will be irrational and unable to understand and properly apply the jury instructions? Are we to assume the outcome is a random one, unconnected to the facts and law? Sure, a juror CAN be crazy, but it doesn’t get us far if that’s our starting assumption.

    Finally, the alternative to reading the SYG instruction in every self-defense trial would be to leave the decision to read it to the trial judge’s discretion. Given what we’ve seen of some of these trial judge’s and their, shall we call it, limited ability to maintain an appropriate objectivity in the case, would we really want that choice left to them? Remember, Judge Nelson had to think real hard before deciding not to instruct the Zimmerman jury on felony murder predicated on child abuse.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Man the more i read about SYG the more “cornfused” I get.
Me one of those “keep it simple silly” types.

So here’s my take – and plan of action –
1. Don’t look for trouble but “keep an eye out” at all times.
2. If things get hinky look for an exit any exit.
3. No exit available well … “Rafer get the gun! Rafer get the gun!”

I no longer carry so I’m just gonna have to disarm the guy or die trying. So SYG to me really = RIP

“‘Recall that one of the jurors in the Zimmerman case specifically referenced stand your ground in an interview.'”

“I don’t recall, so a link would be appreciated.”

It was interview juror B37, the one who did a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. Here is a link to the relevant excerpt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5_COGDTgyw

Here is a link to the full interview (relevant portion starts at 26:24).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcdSZw2-C18

“In any case, evidence was so overwhelmingly in favor of self-defense in the Zimmerman case that any had a misunderstanding re: SYG occurred could hardly have changed the outcome.”

This is basically a no harm, no foul argument. Perhaps, but making the argument concedes that SYG had a role in the decision-making. I thought the whole point of the OP was to argue that SYG had no role at all. My point is that doesn’t seem to be the case. Also, I disagree that the evidence was “overwhelming.” That said, it is certainly true that the defense introduced more than enough evidence to make it hard for the prosecution to overcome self defense beyond a reasonable doubt (and clearly the prosecution did not).

“Also, in seeking to understand and project how a jury might come out on a case, where does it get us if we assume they will be irrational and unable to understand and properly apply the jury instructions?”

The argument proves too much. By that analysis, one should never change or work to clarify jury instructions. Anyway, the argument in the OP seemed to be that SYG had no role in the Zimmmerman case. I don’t think we can say that here. As for my solution to all this? Sure, if SYG has no role in the case, then take it out of the standard jury instructions. Jury instructions are long enough these days without adding things that are extraneous to the case. If the defense wants to argue SYG, then put it in the instructions. That should address any concerns you have regarding bias. It would also provide less ammunition to those, like Dionne, who want to get rid of the law.

    “It was interview juror B37, the one who did a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper. Here is a link to the relevant excerpt:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5_COGDTgyw

    And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I ask for links, for just such instances of duplicitousness.

    Sir, nowhere in the link you provide does the juror say they applied the legal concept of SYG.

    She states the phrase “stand-your-ground” then perfectly describes the legal concept of self-defense without any mention of actual stand-your-ground whatever.

    In short, she merely misused the term SYG, but went on to apply the correct self-defense law perfectly, without any consideration of retreat, a duty to retreat, or a right to stand one’s ground.

    Strip the actual meaning from the phrase “stand your ground,” and I suppose you could argue it would apply in an eminent domain proceeding. And you’d be just as wrong there as you’ve been here.

    “Anyway, the argument in the OP seemed to be that SYG had no role in the Zimmmerman case. I don’t think we can say that here.”

    You’ve yet to provide substantive evidence to the contrary.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Thank you for your explanation Andrew but I will come right out and admit I am still confused. Perhaps it would be helpful to give the details of a case where explicit SYG language, like what is found in FL 776, made a real difference. We know that such language hasn’t prevented prosecutors from bringing cases where a defendant has an obviously valid self defense case. Also we know from juror “Valery” that 9 jurors in the Dunn case voted to convict because they felt Dunn had other options besides shooting, options that some people might consider retreating or not standing his ground.

Also, please clarify the first of your elements of self defense: “(1) The defendant was the innocent party, and the person against they used defensive force was the aggressor.”
with Fl 776.041 (2) which allows the “initial provoker” (aggressor?) to claim self defense provided

(a) Such force (used against the self defense claimant) is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

    “Perhaps it would be helpful to give the details of a case where explicit SYG language, like what is found in FL 776, made a real difference.”

    Sure, go ahead.

    “which allows the “initial provoker” (aggressor?) to claim self defense provided”

    In almost every state someone who was the initial aggressor can “regain their innocence” if they in good faith withdraw from the fight and effectively communicate that to their initial victim. If the once-victim then pursues them in conflict, that once-victim becomes the aggressor in a second conflict.

    I’m not sure what more I can add to that, and that’s essentially what’s stated in the statute.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

“n short, she merely misused the term SYG, but went on to apply the correct self-defense law perfectly, without any consideration of retreat, a duty to retreat, or a right to stand one’s ground.”

Duplicitousness? Well, sir, now you’re just being silly. Either that or you are being disingenuous. SYG was clearly a factor for her. Why else would she mention it in response to the question in her interview? The interview is evidence that at least one juror, however incorrectly, considered SYG. You say she correctly used self-defense anyway and did not consider retreat, etc. Perhaps, but you have no evidence for that (SYG and self defense don’t appear to be mutually exclusive concepts, and, here would lead to the same result). In short, I don’t know what other factors she failed to consider, which is why I don’t try to prove a negative.

Your comment about eminent domain is inapposite. I didn’t argue that SYG applies or even should apply to Zimmerman. I said it was considered in that case. Rightly or wrongly, it appears that it was for at least one juror. I suppose you could say she said SYG, but really meant self-defense. It’s difficult to reconcile that with the fact that she was responding to a question about the jury instructions and, importantly, those instructions included SYG. You’d also have to make certain other assumptions for which we do not have evidence.

Look, I generally agree with your analysis, and I even agree with you about the merits of SYG, but I don’t think you help your case by making blanket statements like you did in the OP and your response. My proposed solution, which you appear to have ignored, would address the apparent confusion in the public sphere and would have the benefit of not giving ammunition to people like Dionne, Sharpton, etc.

    “SYG was clearly a factor for her. Why else would she mention it in response to the question in her interview?”

    You simply refuse to acknowledge that she used the phrase SYG in passing, without any application of the substance of SYG. That’s your privilege, but it’s awfully silly.

    “I said it was considered in that case. Rightly or wrongly, it appears that it was for at least one juror.’

    You presented not one iota of evidence that the juror in your clip did anything other than inappropriately use the phrase SYG. She followed that mention in passing by making explicit mention to various elements of the law of self-defense, and never once touched upon retreat or the right to stand one’s ground.

    Weak sauce, sir, weak sauce.

    “I generally agree with your analysis, and I even agree with you about the merits of SYG, but I don’t think you help your case by making blanket statements like you did in the OP and your response.”

    Again, your privilege.

    If that’s it, I’ve got work to do.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | February 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm

      Frankly what I heard was her use the term “Stand Your Ground” in place of the term Self Defense. If you take her comment and switch out the 2 terms, her comment makes perfect sense. So to me it just goes to show how successful the media and Anti-Self Defense types have been at mischaracterizing the 2 terms, they want everyone to think that SYG and Justifiable Self Defense are the same thing.

      You see it even in Mr. Dionne’s less than lucid writing, he says; “Florida’s [stand-your-ground] statute allows someone to use force if he or she” and then goes on to quote the portion of the Justifiable use of force statute that deals with whether the use of force was reasonable, which doesn’t even contain the SYG language.

Ugh. The perils of cut and paste. The initial quotation should be as follows:

“And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why I ask for links, for just such instances of duplicitousness.”

Ok, you think she made the comment in passing. That’s certainly your privilege. You refuse to acknowledge that the comment may not have been in passing. Your privilege as well. At least we understand each other. I have work to do too, and it’s clear we aren’t going to get anywhere further without invective. No need for that. Good day.

    “Ok, you think she made the comment in passing.”

    She made a single verbal reference, and never mentioned the substance of the concept.

    That qualifies as “in passing” to me.

    But you feel free to believe whatever you like.

    And good luck with that. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

““Perhaps it would be helpful to give the details of a case where explicit SYG language, like what is found in FL 776, made a real difference.”

Sure, go ahead”.

Sorry if my syntax didn’t show that I was requesting such an example, not volunteering one. I am really curious to know what adding SYG language to self defense statutes has accomplished besides making confusion and controversy.

    “Sorry if my syntax didn’t show that I was requesting such an example, not volunteering one. I am really curious to know what adding SYG language to self defense statutes has accomplished besides making confusion and controversy.”

    Oh, well, if you’re offering a retainer I’ll be happy to forward you the appropriate paperwork.

    Let me know where they should be sent.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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