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The recently announced verdict in the Michael Dunn murder trial in Florida has sparked discussion in the media and dominated the 24 hour news cycle. The discussion in this post is intended to rationally address certain incompatibilities inherent in the text written for the Stand Your Ground model (including its legislative copies) with the accepted system of trial by jury. It is important to remember that since laws are written by humans, they are subject to errors and unintended consequences just as many other human creations. Laws are proven only upon their application and use, and it is at this time that they should be accepted or rejected. So it is with the so-called Stand Your Ground law.

The wide distribution of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) draft for a proposed Castle Doctrine Act has resulted in popularly known “Stand Your Ground” laws in 26 states. The proposed ALEC Castle Doctrine Act has been written into law in various states almost verbatim with subtle and minor linguistic variations. Also the title of the legislation may be subject to local variations and adaptations from state to state. The foregoing being acknowledged it is the purpose of the following discussion to isolate the disparity and intentional inherent advocacy for injustice, which codifies the denial of any possible legal redress for hurt and deadly harm committed against innocent victims whose causes are laid before the bar of justice.  

As mentioned above the ALEC model has been universally copied by the legislatures of those states that have incorporated the Castle Doctrine Act model into law. Therefore for reference purposes I will quote Section1 paragraph 3 of the ALEC model that establishes the “Stand Your Ground” (SYG) provisions which reads as follows:  

“(3)  A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes* it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

* Note: the use of bold and underline for emphasis is mine.

I submit that the intentional advocacy for injustice is inherent in the near impossible constraints that paragraph 3 places upon the jury function of the criminal trial process. The words reasonably believes included in the text of paragraph 3 requires the deliberating jury (in any case where section 1 paragraph 3 is invoked as a defense) to determine beyond the shadow of any doubt whether the defendant truly believed at the time that deadly forced was used that it was necessary to do so as to prevent death or great bodily harm from being forced upon the defendant by the person perceived to be the attacker, or in reality was the defendant acting at the time upon purely murderous intent?

The “reasonably believes” provision places an impossible burden upon every member of any impaneled jury, namely the requirement to decide upon the emotional state and exact frame of mind of the defendant at the exact time that the defendant used deadly force. The said juror must arrive at this conclusion according to trial procedure after observing all presentations of applicable physical evidence and witness testimony. However under our present court systems none of the prescribed criminal casework provides any inkling as how the exact mental state of the defendant (at the exact time that the deadly force was used) can be captured in the form of irrefutable evidence suitable for for presentation to a jury. Armed with days of well-rounded physical evidence and witness testimony but completely bereft of any solid non-subjective evidence that would provide a clear perception of what the defendant REALLY BELIEVED (at the exact moment he or she used deadly force) all members of the jury must reach a valid conclusion in this regard free from any possible doubt.

It is important to step back and take a careful look at what the criminal court system requires jurors to do in their role in the metering out of justice in American society. Jurors are not selected based upon their medical or legal skills, but rather as just generally disinterested folk. The trial mechanism establishes procedures wherein physical and factual evidence is aligned with logical argument and presented to the jury for both sides of the legal complaint. It has long been acknowledged that the role of the juror is that of a person who independently weighs everything presented in the courtroom, and then renders a decision to the best of their ability. Nothing more is asked of any juror selected for this service.

However, as stated above Section1 paragraph 3 places a heretofore unprecedented burden upon the juror in that it explicitly requires the juror to render a verdict without any evidence as to the exact state of mind of the defendant at the time deadly force was used. Furthermore the words “reasonably believes” are completely subjective in that what is “reasonable” to one individual is “extreme” to another individual. Likewise what one person might “believe” is a real set of circumstances in a given moment; while another person will perceive the prevailing circumstances to be entirely different.

Another important variable that could possibly influence the operation of the Section1 paragraph 3 provisions is the health and physical condition of the defendant at the time that he or she used deadly force to resolve the confrontational event. There are literally hundreds of biochemical episodes that could possibly be present in the physical body of the defendant at the time deadly force was used that could contribute to a momentary distortion of reality, which would completely subvert the implied bounds designed to establish the grounds for action as defined by the words “reasonably believes”.  

The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America contains a declaration of the “People of the United States” which sets out six basic provisions, two of which are “establish justice”, and “insure domestic Tranquility”. In my opinion the previous arguments set out the reasons that Section 1 paragraph 3 of the ALEC Castle Doctrine Act violates at least two provisions of the Preamble to the Constitution, namely those cited above. It is obvious that justice rather being served is actually being thwarted by requiring criminal trial jurors to render a verdict as to whether the defendant in truth exercised “reasonable belief” that deadly force was necessary in the confrontation or the defendant had no such “reasonable belief” but just used deadly force anyway in a purely wantonly manner.

It is notable that under our court systems a defendant is presumed innocent until PROVEN GUILTY. Hence from the trial juror’s perspective the defendant upon claiming protection under Section1 paragraph 3 must automatically be assumed to have had “reasonable belief” that deadly force was necessary at the time of the confrontational event with his or her perceived attacker. Therefore an impossible burden is placed upon each juror during the deliberations in such a criminal case to prove the negative to the rest of the jury, namely that the mental state of the defendant was such that he or she did not have the slightest amount of “reasonable belief” that deadly force was necessary for their own self-preservation during the confrontation.

Thus the provisions set out in the “Stand Your Ground” law are intentionally constructed to obstruct the jury function of all cases wherein the jury is constrained by the provisions of Section1 paragraph 3, thereby denying the precious sweet relief of justice to the families of all innocent victims seeking legal redress in criminal court. This violates the key phrase “establish Justice” set forth in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America.

By this and other previous arguments, Section 1 paragraph 3 of the Castle Doctrine Act as proposed by ALEC and implemented in state legislative action should be unconditionally repealed.

To summarize, I will reemphasize the following key points:

    The model of ALEC’s Castle Doctrine Act has been copied and implemented as enforceable legislation in 26 states.

    What has become commonly known as “Stand Your Ground” law is actually the text that appears in the ALEC Castle Doctrine Act model Section1, paragraph 3.

    Under general criminal law, all defendants are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court. Likewise if any trial defendant claims that their actions were consistent with the provisions of paragraph 3, namely that he or she reasonably believed that their use of deadly force was necessary (to prevent death or great bodily harm from happening to his or her self, or another or the commission of a forcible felony) all members of the jury before the start of the trial MUST PRESUME this to be factual and true.

     Jurors in cases where the “Stand Your Ground” text will be used as a defense or otherwise be used in the Judge’s final pre-deliberation instructions to the jury face an unprecedented uphill burden in order to find the defendant “guilty” during deliberations.

    Jurors in cases where the “Stand Your Ground” text will be used as a defense can only convict if the jurors can determine “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the defendant had NO reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm from occurring to the defendant or others. In essence in order to convict, the jury must decide that the defendant had the belief (at the time deadly force was used) that deadly force WAS NOT NECESSARY to resolve the conflict in the confrontation.

    The provisions set out in Section1, paragraph 3 commonly known as “Stand Your Ground” law is intentionally constructed to obstruct the jury function of all criminal cases wherein these self-same provisions are cited as a defense, and thereby bends the scale of justice towards injustice. Furthermore this legislation violates the key phrase “establish Justice”, which was written by the founding fathers as one of the six basic provisions in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, therefore the text of Section 1, paragraph 3 MUST be Repealed or struck down immediately.    

Originally posted to otherwise on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:13 PM PST.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Wonder if It Could Be Struck Down as a (8+ / 0-)

    violation of the potentially-deceased's Constitutional rights.

    If they were engaging in illegal behavior, the killing deprives them of their right to a trial. I wonder if it also might be argued that killing without a trial could be found to be cruel and unusual punishment.

    IANAL of course.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:22:28 PM PST

    •  Well, anything CAN be argued. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MGross, VClib

      In this instance, hilarity would ensue.

    •  There is long standing federal legislation that is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, a2nite

      written to protect the CIVIL RIGHTS of every American citizen. If it can be proven that the deceased was a hate victim then it is the responsibility of the DOJ to bring the killer into federal court to face charges of depriving the victim of his or her civil rights.

      •  If you're NOT bringing race into this, as (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooserock, VClib

        you assert below, then the civil rights statutes are even less relevant to the issue. Almost all civil rights violation prosecutions require some state action (no, killers like Dunn aren't magically turned into state actors imposing cruel and unusual punishment -- they're just killers). The major exception that would apply to the victims you discuss in the diary would be race-based hate crimes (other kinds of hate crimes generally require an interstate commerce or other special jurisdictional hook). So I'm confused about whether you do or do not want to address race in the discussion.

        More to the point, though -- self defense would still be a defense to the hate crime charge, and self defense already rested on reasonable belief. ALEC/SYG didn't introduce that concept -- it gutted the duty to retreat. "Reasonable belief" is an objective standard (not, as you claim, limited to what the defendant claims to believe), but one that's virtually impossible to apply objectively. (It took forever just to move off the "reasonable man" standard in other areas of law such as sexual harassment.) That's an argument for diverse juries, or bench trials depending on who/where you are, but beyond that, what's the alternative? Are you arguing against self defense ever being a defense?

  •  The SYG Law isn't the problem per se. The problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, KVoimakas, awcomeon

    is a very human one. A certain percentage of white jurors construct an "unattainable" standard of "reasonable doubt" in racially charged trials where a white defendant is tried for the murder of a black victim  (isn't this what the O.J Simpson jury was accused of?).  The law already provides a juror the opportunity to use the defendants credibility as a lens through which to view his statements/actions, but this inability to assess the defendants credibility only seems to be prevalent in racially charged and controversial trials.  Meanwhile, black defends are regularly convicted on these very same facts in courtrooms all over the country. A better argument can be made that criminal law is far too complex to be administered by lay people (which brings the entire jury system into question), and I would agree with you.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:46:53 PM PST

    •  If you noticed I did not bring RACE into the (0+ / 0-)

      discussion. There is already confused mixing of the issues of racial inequality that has spanned three plus centuries and the current injustices caused by the SYG law. We should not conflate these two issues as each has its own respective space.

      IMHO there are two ways to get rid of the SYG laws in 26 states. The first is by legislative repeal, and the second is through being STRUCK DOWN by the Supreme Court. Take your pick, but my money is on the Supremes. Getting rid of 26 Republican governments in 26 states is on the level of passing a Constitutional Amendment. This is why I placed emphasis on the flawed textual construct of Section1, paragraph 3 as being totally incompatible with the criminal jury trial systems currently in place in American court rooms.

      •  You can't discuss the legal system honestly (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KVoimakas, rduran, blackhand, Shamash

        without acknowledging the effects of race, class and gender.  Well, you maybe able to, but it would be a short and pointless conversation.  

        This may sound weird on the this site, but as a life long Florida resident I will tell you that the SYG statute is not totally unreasonable.  Before SYG, a law abiding citizen could be attacked by a criminal, defend themselves, and end up on trial for manslaughter by the authorities (I actually served on such a trial 25 years ago.  My jury hung, but the next one didn't.  The guy got 20 years).  The problem has always been the same.  How will the defendant be perceived by the jury.  That perception is largely dependent on the race of the defendant and the victim, and the racial makeup of the jury.  It sucks, but it is what it is.

        "Because I am a river to my people."

        by lordcopper on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:12:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Preamble isn't governing law. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  "Reasonably believes" has nothing to (9+ / 0-)

    do with the mental state of the accused. It is what a hypothetical "reasonable person" would believe under the same circumstances.

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath; μολὼν λαβέ - att. Leonidas I

    by Robobagpiper on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 02:54:13 PM PST

    •  I beg to differ (0+ / 0-)

      "It is what a hypothetical "reasonable person" would believe under the same circumstances"

      This is only true if you are instructing a hypothetical jury before they are sent out to deliberate.

      The language of paragraph 3 was used by the judge in the Zimmerman case and it was used by the judge in the Dunn case. In actuality it has everything to do with the mental state of the defendant at the EXACT instance when he or she used deadly force (read pulled the trigger).

      In Dunn's testimony he stated when asked why he shot the van 10 times, he smiled and stated "that just indicates how much I was in fear of my life". He was trying to reinforce to the jury the idea that he  "REASONABLY BELIEVED" that he HAD to use deadly force to prevent death or great bodily harm.

      •  I don't see you disagreeing with (4+ / 0-)

        anything Robobagpiper said.  Regardless of whether you consider the moments before, during, or after the event, you still are determining what a reasonable person would believe at that point.  The whole theory behind a jury trial in the first place is that 6 or 12 people imagining themselves in the same circumstances will approximate a "reasonable person."

      •  "Reasonable person" is a legal concept (7+ / 0-)

        Which has a long history.  What a hypothetical reasonable person would do in similar circumstances is an established standard.

        •  And not just in self-defense law, but (6+ / 0-)

          in all sorts of situations.

          Indeed, it's the legal way of excluding sincere belief held by an unreasonable or irrational person. Would a reasonable person, in the defendant's shoes, having the same facts he did, believe this?

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath; μολὼν λαβέ - att. Leonidas I

          by Robobagpiper on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:07:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What he was trying to do is irrelevant. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rduran, KVoimakas, VClib, mskitty

        All he was establishing was the sincerity of his belief. Sincerity and reasonableness are not the same thing. The reasonableness was a matter for the jury to decide.

        And so far, I have seen no indication that reasonable belief was the hangup on the mistrial charge; but rather premeditation (which is a key component in Murder 1, as opposed to Murder 2).

        Until we have jurors talking, and we probably won't until the remaining charge is retried, or charges dropped, we won't know if the mistrial was caused by an irreconcilable dispute among the jury between guilty and innocent, or between Murder 1 and Murder 2.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath; μολὼν λαβέ - att. Leonidas I

        by Robobagpiper on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 04:11:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't followed the case too closely (0+ / 0-)

          But from what I have read of it, I have a hard time understanding how one could claim that his actions were premeditated.  Dunn may have been unhinged, but I seriously doubt he went to that location to kill this particular person.  

          Three convictions of 2nd degree murder is enough to end Dunn's life as he knew it.  I don't get the outrage over the lack of 1st degree conviction and suspect that it has more to do with the bias against SYG than the actual facts of the case.  Why should the public spend more money to retry him on this charge when he is already going away for a very long time.

          "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

          by blackhand on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 02:28:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's a recommended diary now about (0+ / 0-)

            the first juror interview.

            Two apparently believed it was self-defense, and wouldn't budge. When the final vote was taken, a third wouldn't vote to convict  on Murder 1 possibly because of the premeditation issue. So it may be that both speculations were correct.

            When this is retried, hopefully they get a better jury. Going for Murder 2 from the start might be a better sell.

            Oh, and that is 3 convictions of attempted 2nd degree murder, plus a weapons charge. It is indeed enough to put him away for a long time, if not life. I disagree that it's a waste of public money to retry the principal charge; unless it's done stupidly.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath; μολὼν λαβέ - att. Leonidas I

            by Robobagpiper on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 03:03:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  i don't think that's right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The words reasonably believes included in the text of paragraph 3 requires the deliberating jury (in any case where section 1 paragraph 3 is invoked as a defense) to determine beyond the shadow of any doubt whether the defendant truly believed
    The jury is to determine if they reasonably believe that force was necessary based on the facts of the case. What the defendant believes is irrelevant.
    •  There appears to be much confusion (0+ / 0-)

      concerning paragraph 3 (SYG). The law grants to the defendant as he or she comes before the bar the right to a defense based upon the defendant's reasonable belief that the use of deadly force was necessary in order to prevent their death or great bodily harm. The law grants this to any defendant simply based upon his or her making a request for such protection. when the defendant is initially arrested, all he or she has to say is "it was self defense, and I was standing my ground", and that person is automatically protected under the provision of paragraph 3. The centerpiece of the SYG law are those two words REASONABLY BELIEVES. They make the entitlement of coverage and protection under the law completely subjective to the defendant only.

      •  Paragraph 3 still says "reasonably believes." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, mskitty

        That means the jury has to determine whether or not the belief is reasonable.  The defendant's mendacity or sanity (under a self-defense claim) has nothing to do with it.  The only thing that matters is if he could have reasonably held that belief.  And while that's subjective, the whole point of a jury trial is so that 6 or 12 or whatever people can agree on an operational definition of "reasonable."

    •  Not wholly irrelevant, but only part of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, mskitty

      the analysis. Under Florida's instruction, the jury would have to find both that he believed it and that the belief was reasonable.

  •  "Reasonably believe"... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm sure most people think of themselves as resonable.  If I'm a juror I would take this to mean, "would I do the same thing in the same situation".

    •  Folks it is not what the juror would do (0+ / 0-)

      in the same situation, rather it is the jurors charge to determine what the defendant believed at the exact time the defendant used deadly force. Let's take RACE out of this for a moment.

      Here is a situation of all white people. An ex-husband makes an uninvited visit to his former wife's home. Let's say the ex-husband's name is Al and his former wife is Betty, and they have 2 children in grammar school. Al is having a heated argument with Betty over money she is demanding for the kids. In the midst of the argument Betty's new boyfriend emerges from one of the rooms in the house to confront Al. Some pushing and shoving starts and Al picks up a heavy metal bookend off of a table and glares at the boyfriend. The boyfriend pulls a gun and shoots Al twice in the chest killing him. Under SYG all that the boyfriend has to say to the police is "I had to shoot, he was coming at me with that heavy bookend and I thought that he was going to kill me!"  

      Now we don't know whether this was a plot between Betty and her boyfriend to get rid of Al or not, and SYG doesn't even address other contingencies. Under the provisions of SYG Betty's boyfriend would be found innocent by virtue of the provisions of paragraph 3 (SYG).

      •  The Zimmerman case... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is a good example of what I am trying to say.  If I was in the same situation as Zimmerman(on the ground being punched) and I had a gun, I would use it too.

        •  I imagine a lot of people would (0+ / 0-)

          but if they were jurors, they'd also have a responsibility to analyze their feelings under those circumstances.  Would they have honestly feared for their lives, or were they just angry and hurt at getting beaten up?  "Reasonable belief" is a subjective standard with an objective component--that is each must come to their own subjective standard of what constitutes reasonable fear justifying the use of deadly force, and then must hash it out with his or her companions to come to an objective approximation.

      •  Let's change it up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villanova Rhodes

        since you've basically described straight self defense.

        Let's say that Al doesn't get angry, pulls down his pants, and says "who wants a mustache ride?"  When the cops come, the boyfriend says "I had to shoot!  He was stripping right in front of me! I was scared to death!"

        In every jurisdiction in the United States, that would amount to a confession.  The adverb "reasonably" isn't just window dressing.

        •  I agree, this situation is not SYG (0+ / 0-)

          It is plain self defence.

          First, SYG is not the same as Castle Doctrine.  The diary gave me the impression that it was trying to confuse the two.  All that SYG does is take away the mandatory burden to retreat before using deadly force when attacked.  In this context, I support SYG and think that it is a valid premise.  The advantage should NOT go to the violent criminal.

          The part that SYG may have in common with Castle Doctrine, depending upon the State, is in changing the burden of proof from the defendant to the state in that when someone claims self defence it becomes incumbent upon the state to prove that it wasn't rather than the the alleged victim to prove that it was.  Well, on second though, this is really the idea behind innocent until proven guilty and the difference becomes one of the police charging and arresting someone.  Again, this is a position that I support because the last thing that a true victim of violent crime should have to face is being arrested for rightfully defending themselves.

          My views may be a minority in this venue, but I believe that the jury system worked in both cases.

          "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

          by blackhand on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 02:40:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "Reasonably believe" = killing POC is a-ok (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 03:43:13 PM PST

  •  You're focusing on "belief" (4+ / 0-)

    to the detriment of qualifier "reasonable."  The issue isn't whether or not the jury must accept that the defendant's beliefs are honestly held (though evidence against that presumption is certainly useful).  The question is whether any reasonable person in the defendant's shoes could justifiably feel the same way.  This is why Ken Ham can't credibly stipulate to a homicide and say he was justified in using force because he saw murderous demons emanating from the victims (although that may be grounds for an insanity plea).

    So what's really at issue are objective facts--the circumstances and events leading up to and through the use of force.  And the real problem is that when there are no witnesses, when the forensics are inconclusive, and when it's a fight over character of the perp and the victim, in 49 states the defendant's word alone amounts to reasonable doubt.

    •  I suggest that you re-read the text and (0+ / 0-)

      not ascribe your own interpretation to what is written in paragraph 3. It does not say any REASONABLE person, rather it speaks ONLY to the fact that the DEFENDANT reasonably believes that deadly force was necessary to PREVENT..... The text does not speak in generalities it is addressing only the person who USED DEADLY FORCE, not some other reasonable or unreasonable person!

      •  I suggest you read the entire body of (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rduran, Gooserock, VClib, mskitty, blackhand

        instructions jurors get. Here's an excerpt from Florida's:

        In deciding whether defendant was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge [him] [her] by the circumstances by which [he] [she] was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing the defendant need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force.  Based upon appearances, the defendant must have actually believed that the danger was real.
        You seem to think that once SYG is adopted, it wipes out all other provisions of law concerning reasonable doubt, reasonable belief, and self defense. It doesn't.
        •  Even so it is not relavent. If I were on (0+ / 0-)

          the defense I could point to many kinds of optical illusions and other psychovisual tricks to show how it is possible that one person could see what looked like a gun from one angle while nobody else saw anything and nothing was caught on camera.  Have you ever wondered how they can fit so much video on a DVD or Blu-Ray disk?  Exactly, they strip out the parts that the human eye and brain don't perceive and use all sorts of similar tricks.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 07:30:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are many psychological (0+ / 0-)

            and psychoperceptual arguments that could be made on either side, if the expert testimony were to be admitted, but it wouldn't be a clear winner for either side. A psychologist who testified about that aspect of eyewitness perception for the defense would also be questioned about -- and have to testify to -- the lousy correlation between confidence and accuracy in eyewitnesses, thus seriously undercutting Dunn's own testimony about seeing the gun.

            I could give other examples, but since I don't know what you mean by "it" or what you don't think "it" is relevant to, I can't address whatever might be the main point of your comment.

        •  It is called (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Villanova Rhodes, VClib

          the "reasonable man standard"...

          Thank you for posting the jury instructions.  It DOES matter what another reasonable man would have done in the same situation.

          You can get animals addicted to a harmful substance, you can dissect their brains, but you throw their own feces back at them, and suddenly you're unprofessional. -Amy Farrah Fowler/The Big Bang Theory -7.50, -5.03

          by dawgflyer13 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 08:23:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I posted the entire text (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Villanova Rhodes, VClib

        You seem to think that the word "reasonably" isn't even present.

  •  REASONABLE PEOPLE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ypochris, rduran

    ...encounter cars blaring loud music, every hour, of every day, in every city, and you can tell that they are reasonable people because they don't open fire.

    (They can get pissed off, but that's perfectly legal...)

  •  Reasonable Belief is a pretty common standard. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Villanova Rhodes

    It's used quite a bit in 4th amendment reasoning, if I recall.

    The ALEC statutes are all pretty similar because they're attempting to bring state laws into alignment with federal self-defense rulings.

  •  Try this argument on for size (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KVoimakas, FrankRose

    Pretend that Connecticut had the exact same SYG law as Florida, and the Dunn case happened in Newtown.

    What do you think the verdict would have been?

    If you think the outcome would have been different and you would have agreed with that different outcome, then you are tacitly admitting that the law itself is not the problem.

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