Saturday, June 30, 2012

Texas man convicted after failed 'stand-your-ground' defense

Raul Rodriguez a retired Texas firefighter was convicted of murder after a failed "stand-your-ground" legal defense.  He fatally shot a a 36-year-old unarmed neighbor following a dispute about the noise level at a birthday party, reported Reuters.

Prior to the shooting in Huffman, a rural Texas community northeast of Houston, Rodriguez videotaped himself calling police and telling a dispatcher that his life was in danger and that "I'm standing my ground here."

After a struggle in which it appeared that somebody at the party was grabbing for Rodriguez' camera, he shot and killed a female neighbor and wounded two other men.

Stand-your-ground gun laws exist in at least 20 U.S. states. Prior to 2007, Texas law allowed persons to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, vehicles and workplaces if they felt their lives were in danger. But the law required that a person first seek an alternative to deadly force to escape danger, like fleeing.

A 2007 law rescinded the duty to retreat, provided those who invoked it could demonstrate they did not provoke their aggressor and were not committing a crime at the time of the shooting. That law and similar ones in other states have become known as stand-your-ground laws.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 40 years in prison.  He will be eligible for parole in 20 years.

To read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/28/us-usa-shooting-texas-idUSBRE85R02K20120628

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