Articles Tagged with stand your ground

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200Liltony M. Van has been charged with first-degree murder after a road rage incident turned fatal. According to reports, the other man, Marquist Boyd had a baseball bat on him and brandished it. Van pulled out a handgun and shot Boyd in the head. It is unclear whether or not Van owned the gun legally, but the only other charge against him is criminal trespass to a vehicle.

To date, 28 states have passed some version of a “stand your ground” law, with Florida’s being the most notable. In Florida, if an individual has reasonable cause to believe that another person is going to harm or injure them, they are within their rights to use lethal force against that individual. If this altercation took place in Florida, it may be hard to even get it before a jury. This is because if a defendant raises a “stand your ground” defense during an indictment, the prosecutor must overcome a burden of proof to follow up with a jury trial. Furthermore, if the case is allowed to proceed to a jury, the defendant may use a stand your ground defense to the charges.

As permissive as Florida’s law is, it is not a proverbial ace in the hole against charges that involve any altercation, and Illinois’ law is less permissive still. Here, we will take a look at what kind of chances Liltony M. Van would have with a self-defense plea.

andreas-weiland-252613-copy-1-300x200It is not only Chicago that is grappling with the issue of self-defense in the law. The public interpretations of the law vary considerably, and some of them are not strictly accurate. This is one of those issues that has the power to raise other polarizing matters such as racial disparities when encountering the criminal justice system. On the other hand, there is a legitimate interest in ensuring that criminals cannot terrorize the wider population on account of the fact that they are the ones with the guns. If they are genuinely frightened for their lives, most reasonable people would agree that property owners have a right to defend themselves. This self-defense argument can go right up to the case of justified killings.

Of course, we cannot always predict what is in someone’s mind. For example, a racist person may shoot any black person they see on their doorstep without any genuine fear. That is when the courts are left in a dilemma. The person may say that they were frightened, but that may mask their true intention. It also does not help that the moment such cases come to the media attention, America is once again divided along class and racial lines. All of a sudden, you have very successful Go-Fund-Me campaigns for the suspect, which makes a mockery of the system and gives the impression that America is an incurably racist society.

Private Property and Private Rights

gun
Multiple murders on the streets of Chicago on any given weekend now seem to be a fact of life. The murder rate in Chicago has increased by 13% since 2013; shootings not ending in death were up 40% during the first three months of 2015. It is little wonder that Chicago residents do not feel safe on the streets, or even in their own homes. (See Chicago Tribune) So do you know your rights regarding self-defense, or defense of your property? If threatened with bodily harm or death, do you have a duty to retreat before defending yourself, or can you “stand your ground”? How much force can you use to prevent a “trespass,” reasonable or deadly? What is reasonable force and what is deadly force, and in what circumstances is it alright to use either?

Answers to These Questions are a Phone Call Away

A little while back, there was a lot of controversy over “stand your ground” laws after an incident that occurred in Florida. An aggressor-turned-victim was killed in an act of assault by another who claimed “self-defense.” This incident created such a fury throughout the nation, partly because of the racial component of the incident, and partly because people began to wonder at what point can they be arrested and tried for murder in a case such as this. States scrambled to take a second look at their “self-defense” laws. New laws were enacted, and some were reviewed and revised to fit the ever increasing violence in our overcrowded urban areas.