Monday, January 6, 2014

'Stand your ground' may be tested by Florida Supreme Court

Recently a Florida appeals court threw out second-degree murder charges against a man who fatally shot two others outside a Chili's restaurant in a case that could renew debate on the state's "stand your ground" law, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

The 3rd District Court of Appeals ruling, which overturned a decision by a lower court, could once again put Florida's first-in-the nation "stand your ground" law and its meaning before the Florida Supreme Court.

The 2-1 decision, found that Gabriel Mobley should be immune from charges in the 2008 deaths two men were later found to be unarmed, though two knives were found near one of their bodies.

The shootings occurred outside a Chili's during an assault of Mobley's friend. According to Mobley, a man involved in the assault appeared to reach under his shirt to draw a weapon. Mobley opened fire.

Mobley argued that the shootings were justified under the "stand your ground" law, which grants immunity from prosecution to people who use deadly force if they reasonably believe their lives are in danger.

Judge Linda Ann Wells said Mobley had reason enough to believe that he was in danger.

The self-defense law has been a flashpoint since the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. While Zimmerman did not ask for "stand your ground" legal immunity, much of the debate following the shooting centered on the law. Zimmerman said he shot the unarmed black teenager in self-defense and was later acquitted of second-degree murder charges in Martin's death.

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