LA Times published an article entitled “ ‘Stand your ground’ law upheld in Florida murder case”.
Greyston Garcia accosted a burglar, who swung a bag of stolen car stereos at Garcia’s head. Garcia swung back, holding a kitchen knife. The burglar died later, and Garcia was charged with second-degree murder. The charge may have been appropriate, because Garcia may have escalated the confrontation by his actions:
A neighbor had alerted Garcia in the early morning hours that two men were burglarizing vehicles in the neighborhood, including his truck. Garcia ran out and yelled at them to drop the radios, but Pedro Roteta ran with the loot, provoking a chase that ended with the fight. Garcia was arrested the day after the incident.
One of the reasons Chris Bird’s “The Concealed Handgun Manual” is so highly recommended is because he liberally peppers facts with stories of how defenders actually behaved. After reading the entire book, it’s clear that one of the easiest ways for a defender to run afoul of the law is to act like a cop.
In this case, Garcia chased the perpetrator, as opposed to self-defense training where we consistently tell people to stop shooting when the threat stops (e.g. attacker runs away). There are instances when continuing may be acceptable under Citizens Arrest, when a felony—like burglary—has been committed. But, to be on the safe side of the law, this may be more appropriate in violent crimes necessitating the use of self-defensive force, as opposed to property crimes like burglary.
Garcia claimed self-defense. According to LA Times, Garcia cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) law. However, as noted in a previous article, pre-existing Florida statutes already delineated when the use of deadly force is acceptable in self-defense. In fact, this is what the judge referenced when dismissing the case.
So what we have here is an attempt by the Times to blur the lines between lawful self-defense and SYG, in order to make it seem that actions like Garcia’s had only become acceptable upon enactment of SYG. In reality, both Citizens Arrest and pre-existing statutes were sufficient to merit a dismissal:
Circuit Judge Beth Bloom threw out the murder charge this week, finding that Garcia’s “use of force was justified in order to defend himself from the victim’s actions.”
The Times can afford a legal researcher to determine all the above, so the question is: Does the Times intentionally mislead readers to promote an anti-rights agenda, or are they merely stupid and lazy?