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home : opinions : opinions February 06, 2016


8/25/2013 6:02:00 AM
Point-Counterpoint: Should 'Stand Your Ground' laws be repealed? - YES
By LEE NIDESS
Special to the Courier

The "stand your ground" law is a self-defense law that gives individuals the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a dangerous situation. In one form or another, it is a law in 32 states. Depending on where it is applied, it could be for defending a home or vehicle, or it could be for all lawfully occupied locations. Under these legal terms, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations, and the "stand your ground" law would be a defense or immunity to criminal charges and civil suits.

Known as the "castle" doctrine, a person has no duty to retreat when their home is attacked, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender may legally be. There are restrictions as to whether a person must be carrying a firearm in a legal manner, whether concealed or openly.

Federal law governs this when the right of self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide. If a person in good faith believes that someone intends to take his life, or do him great bodily harm, he is not obligated to retreat, but he is entitled to stand his ground. In Arizona this law applies outside of the home or vehicle as well.

Until the George Zimmerman case in Florida, most were not even aware that this law existed. I don't think that these laws had any bearing on the outcome of the case. And, although I personally believe these laws should be repealed, I know that they will not be. These laws should at least be reviewed, as requested by Sen. John McCain.

It is every state's obligation to protect and defend its citizens. A person's right to carry a firearm in his or her own defense is not being questioned, but how and when to use it is. Should a self-appointed Neighborhood Watch volunteer be allowed to carry a loaded firearm? Probably not. Reviewing these laws, which the Arizona Legislature may, could bring about some needed changes in gun laws. A situation like this could very well happen in Arizona, but let's hope that it doesn't.



Related Stories:
• Point-Counterpoint: Should 'Stand Your Ground' laws be repealed? - NO


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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

@Dog of Unregulated...have you ever walked around Whiskey Row at night? Ever walked up Goodwin over Granite Creek? Did the movie-goers in Aurora feel threatened the night they went to the movies?
Situational awareness is paramount, but there are unavoidable situations that you sometimes find yourself in. For fun sometime, have car trouble up near Window Rock or down around 3rd Ave. and Washington in Pnx. and see if "situational awareness" makes you feel any better.


Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: Dog of Unregulated

I should have said institutional bias in the police agency. There was a geographical tension with the people from the town that Travon came from.

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Article comment by: @ Mike Bates

You're actually right. But get this also:

Just because some "creepy a$$ cracker" is following you, you can't attack him, take him to the ground, and start beating on him and smashing his head on the sidewalk.

That would be assault, Mike. And the "creepy a$$ cracker" would in fact be justified in defending himself. And if he felt that he was in imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm, he would be justified in using deadly force.

That's the reality of this case.


Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: Dog of Unregulated

Take Stand your Ground off the statutes, and Zimmerman very much would arrested and have to assert a self defense. Reasonable doubt is built in to Stand your Ground and creates a paradox for the prosecution and jury. I doubt this would be the outcome in Arizona, even with a similar statue.

By the way, those similar statues are similar because they were promoted by the ALEC lobby (includes NRA as a member). And in the states that have Republican majorities, ALEC has member legislators to ratify the legislation that was written by the lobby lawyers.

I think there was no race issue, other than as institutionalized in the police agency. Further, the photos before and after show a discrepancy that I and other see in the change in appearance of his nose. The police agency will have some answering to do, upon the Justice Dept. investigation. ...

@commn Sensi, Dog first, then gun rack, then one in the knee or between, and that should about break the attack. Elsewhere, their mind is my shield, and sidewalk my weapon. Never carry, never a solution, unless you're in the business. Situational awareness and avoidance is your best defense. Nothing, day or night about Prescott is threatening.


Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bates

You already had the right to defend your castle, Gary, without ALECs and the Gun industry's legislation. You just can't go out chasing a 17 year old with a soft drink and skittles in his pocket because you don't like the way he looks, then shoot him when he turns on you. Read the Tampa Bay Times article Stephen Hogan so graciously highlighted as support for Stand Your Ground Laws to see the unintended consequences the law has led to in Florida.

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: Reality Still Counts

Castle Dogs: Police officers make decisions every day about whether a crime has been committed or not, when they decide whether to arrest someone or not. And, it ends up, based on the results of the trial, the police officers on scene that determined there was no crime committed by George Zimmerman were 100% correct. Time to get over it, and stop rewriting history in an attempt to serve your personal biases.


Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

"It is every state's obligation to protect and defend its citizens." You have a problem with that?

OK, so that isn't technically true. But let's modify it. "It is every state's obligation to hunt down bad guys who kill people." Don't like that? That makes you a bounty hunter. Sheesh.


Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: GaryD Dean

To Mike Bates and others:So, if you live 30 miles from town for instance, and there is an intruder, armed or otherwise, threatening to attack you, do you mean to tell me I should run to town and call the local law enforcement agency? And just what do you think will be left of my house and belongings when I get back? So, what you are saying is "spread the wealth", let someone steal everything I have worked for.

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: @ Castle Dogs

"The fact that Zimmerman went home without being charged with a homicide that night says something is wrong. There was no dispute as to who shot who, or that there was a homicide."

You're correct about the homicide part but you miss a critical point. An arrest requires probable cause that a CRIME was committed. A homicide was committed, but the police clearly felt there was not evidence of a CRIME. Charges were not filed until it became political, and as the JURY ultimately informed us, there was no CRIME after all.

The police handled the situation correctly by interviewing Zimmerman thoroughly and releasing him.


Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: NE MO

Because the Democrats think it's racist, Eric Holder had to do something about it, otherwise, this law wouldn't be debated. Only in America!

Posted: Monday, August 26, 2013
Article comment by: Common Senzi

The proper response to having a criminal come into your home and threaten your life is not to use deadly force, but to run into the street screaming. If the criminal follows you, you should continue to run and hope you are faster.

At no time should you attempt to insure your safety by shooting them.

If you are a slow runner, you may call the police and run in the general direction you expect them to arrive from.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Castle Dogs

Isn't 'stand your ground' the extension of the Castle doctrine. You a have no duty to retreat in your home, that was extended to public places?

Self defense was sufficient when in a public place, but you had the duty to retreat first or show there was no retreat. The stand your ground doctrine reverses the defense of justifiable self defense to one of the last man standing and the presumption of justified killing, unless shown otherwise.

(I'm pretty certain that in Arizona, you are going to jail and then sort out the defense in the court.) The fact that Zimmerman went home without being charged with a homicide that night says something is wrong. There was no dispute as to who shot who, or that there was a homicide. The police assumed his release on the stand your ground statues. Had there not been the public notice, the police would have acted as judge and jury without an inquest and grand jury consideration of whether to file a charge. I think his familiarity and association with individuals in the police department, may better explain why they were willing to take his story at face, more than the mechanism of the law.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Alan Whitney

Good Lord, I wish the Zimmerman trial would just go away now. It's over.

But more to the point: "Stand Your Ground" is nothing more than the codification of common sense.

If certain jurisdictions had not enacted "Duty to retreat" laws, and if the abuse of civil damage trials were not rampant, there would be no reason for them.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bates

I would encourage those who support stand your ground to read the article in the Tampa Bay Times poor (and I use the word poor as a term of pity) Stephen Hogan quoted -- http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/florida-stand-your-ground-law-yields-some-shocking-outcomes-depending-on/1233133.
Hardly the wringing endorsement of the Florida law, and I'm wondering whether Stephen might have received his education here in Arizona.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

Quite simply, if I am walking down the street and am confronted by an individual, or group of individuals that I believe have the intent and ability to cause me or those I am with grievous bodily harm, I will not hesitate to remove them as a threat.
I'd be honored to have a jury comprised of Prescottonians decide my fate.
For those that disagree, do you actually read the paper and see that our society is crumbling before us (Christopher Lane, Delbert Belton, etc...)
Edmund Burke's thoughts have never been more in evidence than they are today in the US.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bates

I'm familiar with Libertarian, Mr. Gun Totin'. It's somebody who tries the hide the hypocrisy of conservative values behind highfalutin' words like "liberty" while shoving his hands down everybody's knickers. Tell us where we've got it wrong if you've got the intellect. I won't hold my breath.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Stephen Hogan

@Lawrence Combs
"I don't believe Mr. Nidess really thought thru his alleged belief. He states "no one is trying to take away" the right to bear arms for self defense but only your right to use them for self defense."

Kind of like the "We're not looking to take away anyone's guns, but nobody needs" argument. Great point!


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Stephen Hogan

@Mike Bates
From the Tampa Bay Times:

The Times analysis found no obvious bias in how black defendants have been treated:

• Whites who invoked the law were charged at the same rate as blacks.

• Whites who went to trial were convicted at the same rate as blacks.

• In mixed-race cases involving fatalities, the outcomes were similar. Four of the five blacks who killed a white went free five of the six whites who killed a black went free.

• Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants—a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black.

Do you ever research your opinions? If not you sound like a fool.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: A Simple Question

Mike Bates: Review the crime statistics gathered and tabulated by the FBI (data available at their website). Most crime is intra-racial. However, in crimes that are interracial it is almost universally Black on White, not the other way around. Rapes, 14,000 Black on White per year, less than 50 White on Black, some year 0 reported. A White being murdered by a Black is 7 or 8 times more likely than the other way around, depending upon year, and so on. So, seriously, you either know the truth, and are lying, or you have zero knowledge of the facts, but don't let that stop you from spouting nonsense. Which is it?

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: A gun totin' Libertarian

I think we should get Lee Nidess and Mike Bates in a room and try to determine who knows the least about the subject at hand.
It will be an exercise in frustration no doubt, but also will be pretty amusing. When did people start assuming such blatant ignorance of the facts is an asset in any discussion?


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Lawrence Combs

I don't believe Mr. Nidess really thought thru his alleged belief. He states "no one is trying to take away" the right to bear arms for self defense but only your right to use them for self defense. Maybe he is saying that only the much revered Federal authorities have the right to say who can defend and who must "retreat". Most of those same Federal authorities have readily available armed protection who are not required to "retreat". But those protective laws were made by the same self serving Federal authorities. "Nuf Said" Lee, get a new (better thought out?) opinion.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Bates

The current definition of stand your ground in Florida -- a person with white skin can stalk a person with brown skin with a gun, and when the person with brown skin stands his ground to this intimidation, the person with white skin can shoot him with impunity rather than face his comeuppance and claim self defense. It is an utterly absurd outcome, one that turns the aggressor into the aggrieved, with one person dead and the other feigning innocence. And, the only thing the supporters of this stupid law can say is we don't need no stinking badge as long as we have our guns. Time to dispense with this stupid law before anarchy reigns in our communities.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: The Rev

"Until the George Zimmerman case in Florida... . I don't think that these laws had any bearing on the outcome of the case." "...I personally believe these laws should be repealed". ... "Should a self-appointed Neighborhood Watch volunteer be allowed to carry a loaded firearm?"

What could be called a disingenuous argument from Lee today. Why honestly review matters when fear works the crowd so much better.


Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Thomas Paine

Stand your ground is needed for one simple reason: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2013
Article comment by: Lena Sanchez

Stand your ground should not give you the right to instigate a situation and then claim self defense when someone - out of fear fights you back - which it does. It is a wrong headed law and every egomaniacal glory hound has bought into! If you are dumb enough to confront a criminal then you should be ready to reep the consequences, whether death or injury! That is stupidy as no property is worth the risk! We have had a gun in our house the whole 55 years we have been married but nobody in this house has ever been nor is stuped enough to confront someone over property! No glory hounds here just sensible 2nd amendment believers!


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