This essay addresses state-by-state differences. in self-defense laws. Every state sees crimes against persons differently than crimes against property. In most states, you can shoot someone committing a felony crime against your person. In no state may you shoot someone committing a crime against property.
Archive for June, 2012
Florida law lets you shoot someone to prevent your own imminent death or great bodily harm. The “castle doctrine” says that you are legally presumed to be in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm from anyone who breaks into an occupied house of vehicle, or who tries to drag you out of your house or vehicle. “Legally presumed” means that the danger of imminent death or great bodilly harm will be a given in court, and no evidence or testimony to the contrary will be allowed.
Much of the debate in the Zimmerman/Martin case springs from ignorance of the law. Assume for a moment that Zimmerman deliberately “provoked” Martin, by profiling or “stalking” the teenager, or by confronting and insulting him. Some think that such provocation legally justifies physical attack (often called an “ass-whoopin”). Some also think that the law bars the recipient of such a “provoked ass-whoopin” from using deadly force to defend himself.
Evidence will eventually decide whether Zimmerman “provoked” Martin. But the other two beliefs (that an “ass-whoopin” in response to provocation is legal, and that the whoopee may not use deadly force in self-defense) are badly in error. Anyone who acts on such beliefs by physically assaulting someone who provoked them risks being killed (if in a state with strong self-defense laws) or sent to prison for many years.
Different states see self-defense differently. The most important state-by-state legal difference in self-defense is between “stand-your-ground” states and “duty-to-retreat” states. Imagine that you are attacked outside your home, in the street, say, or in a place of business. Assume also that you did not provoke the attack.
There is a situation where mere touching (battery) is a felony, punishable by hard time in the state penitentiary. It is battery upon the person of law enforcement officer (LEO).
Disobeying a police officer: Don’t do it. You will likely be charged with a crime. The situation often arises when a LEO (law enforcement officer) tells you to turn around and put your hands behind you back so he/she can cuff you. LEOs have the right to do this. The decision to cuff you is theirs alone. It is for their protection and you must comply.
Why is Backintyme Publishing (known for books about the U.S. color line) sponsoring a blog site about armed citizens and the justice system? It is because, like or not, it is impossible to disentangle U.S. crime from Black/White “racial” issues. African Americans are more likely to engage the U.S. criminal justice system than are non-Blacks.