7.14.2013

Gunplay in Florida

While I happen to agree with the Zimmerman verdict, it certainly does seems like Florida has some serious problems in their justice system. 

Take the following case for example.

Fla. mom gets 20 years for firing warning shots

A woman has just been sent to prison for 20 years. A mandatory sentence under Florida law apparently, for a conviction of attempted murder (with a firearm). What I don't understand is how she was convicted in the first place. Now understand first, that Florida is a "stand your ground" state, which means that you are not obligated to retreat in the face of a threat. This is different than here in my home state of NY, where you are not allowed to use deadly force against an attacker if it is possible for you to retreat out of the way of danger. But even in New York, you are allowed to use deadly force in your own home against an intruder under many circumstances.

This woman was in her own home, and shooting at her estranged husband whom she claimed had done violence to her in the past. She also had a court order of protection against him, so clearly he was indeed an intruder in her home. Unless of course they could somehow prove that she lured him there, but I did not see where any such evidence was presented.

This is what the law reads in my home state of NY:

S 35.15 Justification; use of physical force in defense of a person.
... 
2.  A  person  may  not  use deadly physical force upon another person
under circumstances specified in subdivision one unless:
  (a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is  using  or
about  to  use  deadly  physical  force. Even in such case, however, the
actor may not use deadly physical force if he or  she  knows  that  with
complete  personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the
necessity of so doing by retreating; except that the actor is  under  no
duty to retreat if he or she is:
  (i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor; or
  (ii) a police officer or peace officer or a person assisting a police
officer or a peace officer at the latter`s direction, acting pursuant to
section 35.30; or
  (b) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing
or attempting to commit a kidnapping, forcible rape,  forcible  criminal
sexual act or robbery; or
  (c) He or she reasonably believes that such other person is committing
or  attempting to commit a burglary, and the circumstances are such that
the use of deadly physical force is authorized by subdivision three of
section 35.20.
 
 http://ypdcrime.com/penal.law/article35.htm?zoom_highlight=deadly+force

Again, this is not Florida law, but I have trouble believing that that in a "stand your ground" state the law could be any less favorable to a person defending themselves in their own home. Then again, I could be wrong I suppose, as there have been other strange exceptions in the past. Yet again in this case too we see the mandatory sentencing rule being an outright miscarriage of justice.

Second Amendment vs Mandatory Sentencing

In a nutshell, that man was sent to prison for 20 years for firing a gun at a teenager who was in his home, beating on his daughter, destroying the home, and then lunged at him.

UPDATE:

I have just gotten new info that upsets the apple cart here. Just as this article was going to press, I found out that the women went out to her car, and then went back inside to shoot at her husband. This made her the aggressor. In some instances she might have still been able to use deadly force, at least under NYS law, if she could prove that he was attempting to commit arson, as an example, but that does not appear to be the case in this instance. 

I will go ahead and publish this article anyway, as an example of how one key bit of evidence can throw a monkey-wrench in the works and completely change the profile of a case. This is also a great example of how the media plays to people's emotions and manipulates the facts. 









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