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Old 09-02-2009, 01:21 PM   #1
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Default Florida's court OKs force against retreating attackers

The Miami Herald
Posted on Wed, Aug. 19, 2009

Florida's court OKs force against retreating attackers

By BILL KACZOR
Associated Press Writer

Florida's "stand-your-ground" law allows the use of deadly force for self-protection even if an attacker or intruder is in retreat, an appellate court said Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal issued that explanation for last month releasing Jimmy Hair from jail, where he had spent two years awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge.

Hair, 28, was charged with fatally shooting Charles Harper, 26. Harper had forced his way into a car in which Hair was a passenger and then tussled with him. The car was parked outside a Tallahassee nightclub where Harper earlier had argued with the driver.

Sandi Copes, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill McCollum, said no decision had yet been made on whether to ask for a rehearing or possibly appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. She declined further comment.

A trial judge had refused to grant Hair "stand-your-ground" immunity due to conflicting testimony on whether Harper was being pulled out of the car by a friend when he was shot, but the appellate court said that didn't matter.

"The statute makes no exception from immunity when the victim is in retreat," the panel wrote in an unsigned, unanimous opinion.

The ruling appears to conflict with a 2nd District Court of Appeal decision in 2007 that denied immunity to Valrico resident David Heckman in case that also began with an argument. Heckman had been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly shooting Robert Carroll after Carroll left the garage attached to Heckman's home.

"We conclude that immunity does not apply because the victim was retreating," the 2nd District court wrote.

Hair's lawyer, Edward Bauer, said the opinions do not conflict because Carroll was not retreating when he was shot - his retreat was over.

"I know that's what they said, but that's not what happened," Bauer said. "I just think it was loose language."

National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer said Wednesday's ruling tracked the intent of the 2005 law her organization supported. She said just because someone's in retreat doesn't mean that person won't turn around and attack again.

"If you attack somebody be prepared to suffer the consequences," Hammer said.

The new law amended Florida's existing "Castle Doctrine" that allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves and others in their homes against the threat of death or great bodily harm.

It extends that right to public spaces including the street or a business and removes a duty to retreat before using deadly force.

State Attorney Willie Meggs, whose office attempted to prosecute Hair, said the ruling confirms the worst fears of the law's opponents.

"The next time this will come up is in a gang shootout," Meggs said.

Hair, who had a concealed weapons permit, claimed the gun went off accidentally when he tried to hit Harper with it. The appellate court also found the trial judge erred by finding the law didn't apply because the gun had gone off accidentally.

The Heckman ruling reversed a trial judge's decision to grant immunity. The case then went to trial and a jury acquitted Heckman.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #2
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A judge with common sense...

that doesn’t happen very often.
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Old 09-02-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Un-Kali like thinking. Go figure.

The Gunshine State.

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Old 09-07-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
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WOW!!!!!!!!

Funny thing, Flo has had some seriously unreasonable gun laws from what I was told back when I was a field agent for a company who warned us about carrying on the job down there.

Where I live in Oregon you basicaly have to be in the process of being murdered in your own home before it can be considered a "justified" shooting.

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Old 09-07-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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Although it only applies to Florida, I was still happy to read that. Hubs and I are taking the required pistol safety test for our concealed weapons permit tomorrow. At this time, I don't think I would have a problem shooting to kill someone if they intended to harm me or the kids. I also think that I would be able to handle it very well if it did happen. I've put a lot of thought into it. Regrettably, one of my only concerns about defending myself or my kids are the possible consequences doled out by my governmental authorities. It really sickens me that I just might hesitate pulling the trigger because I'm afraid of what the damn law will do to me because I defended my right to live.

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
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It really sickens me that I just might hesitate pulling the trigger because I'm afraid of what the damn law will do to me because I defended my right to live.
Don't think about it, just follow through. That reason for hesitation there you just described could be the difference between your life or death. There will always be some consequences resulting from using your handgun, but you pretty much agreed those were the chances you would take, when you decided to carry a concealed handgun and use it for life-threatening SD protection.

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:45 AM   #7
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themyst,

I would add that anytime anyone enters your home without invite is a direct threat you and your kids. The difference between being a victim and being a survivior can come down to the prescious microseconds in decisions based on what if...

Think about nature. If you come 'tween a momma bear and her kids, you better kiss your arse goodbye. The same should be expected of every human mother. I dare any of you to try to get into my place when I'm not here and deal with the wrath of Mrs. Skullcrusher. All I can say is dead intruder and no regrets or second thoughts. Also, keep in mind that a dead intruder can not tell his/her side of the story.

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...without the Second, we cannot protect the rest!
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Old 09-08-2009, 01:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for the confidence.

I won't have a problem using my gun against somebody if needed. I already know I cannot hesitate. I guess my rant is really about the fact that at that very second before pulling the trigger, my thoughts should be totally focused on weighing the situation between my attacker and me. Instead, a part of my mind will be off thinking, Police. Media. Lawyers. $$. ****.

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Old 09-08-2009, 02:10 AM   #9
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Thanks for the confidence.

I won't have a problem using my gun against somebody if needed. I already know I cannot hesitate. I guess my rant is really about the fact that at that very second before pulling the trigger, my thoughts should be totally focused on weighing the situation between my attacker and me. Instead, a part of my mind will be off thinking, Police. Media. Lawyers. $$. ****.
If you have anything going through your head "at that very second before pulling the trigger" other than adrenaline, you will be dead!

You don't have time to think. That's why we practice! Rote, muscle memory.
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Old 09-08-2009, 02:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks for the confidence.

I won't have a problem using my gun against somebody if needed. I already know I cannot hesitate. I guess my rant is really about the fact that at that very second before pulling the trigger, my thoughts should be totally focused on weighing the situation between my attacker and me. Instead, a part of my mind will be off thinking, Police. Media. Lawyers. $$. ****.
I understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that if you never have those thoughts, they can never come out in interrogation. You would be very harried and upset. Thinking will not be clear. Your mind will be racing along with your whole central nervous system running on overload. The clear and exact thought that you and your family was in immediate danger (they really will be in said situation), then there is no afterthought until someone mentions it. Clean is clean and right is right.

Some people will never be able to even think of such a scenario, much less reason an outcome. Your reasonings are correct and real, but you must commit to the protection of you and yours. You do have to ask yourself if you are willing to take the proper and best defense of all that you hold dear, or not? Anything less is worse.

How's about a range report after the class?
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...without the Second, we cannot protect the rest!
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