Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2014

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letter to the editor:

Stand your ground is poorly conceived

In a jury trial, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove beyond a shadow of doubt that a crime has been committed and the person responsible.

Unfortunately, with the “I felt threatened” line, the burden of proof lies with the victim. If there are no witnesses to testify, the deceased still must prove his actions were not threatening. Since the deceased cannot testify, it is extremely difficult for the prosecution to prove their case. I wonder how many of these justifiable homicide cases using the “I felt threatened” line were indeed murders.

What is to stop anyone with a gun from stalking a person and waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill? Using, “I felt threatened,” the killer can call 911, sit on the curb and wait for the police. He gives his version of what happened and goes home.

The number of people accidently killed by guns (including children) far outweighs the number of bad guys killed by someone defending himself.

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  1. First, the prosecution does *not* need to prove it's case "beyond a shadow of a doubt" but only beyond a reasonable doubt. There is a very real difference.

    More to the point, I feel that stand-your-ground laws are a good thing, but that said, they must be properly implemented and enforced. The recent stories that look at how that has been done in Florida suggest that even with a small sample size there is much to be desired in this.

    I will grant that in many cases it may be wiser to run than to stand and fight, but that does not mean that someone should be obligated to always retreat if they wish to stand and defend themselves.

    The failing is not in the law, but how it is being applied.

  2. The big question in this case, why didn't Martin call 911 instead of attacking if he was worried about someone following him. For all he knew Zimmerman was just some on the same sidewalk.

  3. Stand your ground is well rooted in U.S. legal system. The issue is whether it applies equally for Martin too? Since he's dead, it's a moot point.

    Carmine D

  4. "What truth do you think the prosecutors not bring out"

    ___________________________________

    We'll never know, Future. Why? Zimmerman didn't testify in his own defense and subject himself to cross examination.

    Carmine D

  5. Carmine why would he subject himself to that kind of abuse, when he already knew that the court of the RACISTs Courts of CNN, MSNBC, HLN, OBAMa, HOLDER AND others had already convicted him without any evidence at all.

  6. Close to 90,000 people a year sustain gunshot wounds in the United States at a cost of billions over time. We need less "stand your ground" and more addition and subtraction.. Many of these people who are shooting each other can't even read write but they have the money to buy guns and bullets. Bunch of morons!

    Zimmerman should have been at home watching TV and Martin should have had his nose in some school books.

    You won't find too many people with Masters and Doctorate degrees engaging in this kind of silly behavior.

    I dealt with a great many shootings through the years. Most involved gangs. A bunch of uneducated teenagers running around shooting each other. Much of violence is fueled by the country's insatiable demand for illegal drugs. All these people need to get a life.

  7. Clyde says there was no evidence at all. The evidence might not have been up to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard but there will be a civil suit. I wouldn't doubt it if the parents prevail. The burden in a civil suit is much lower.

    In either case Zimmerman is finished. When you follow people around you dramatically increase the risk of a conflict. In this case it resulted in a kid getting killed. Zimmerman's actions have consequences and he will pay for his stupidity for the rest of his life.

  8. If blacks and white or rich and poor were treated equally under the law we wouldn't be having this discussion. If white collar crime was treated as equally as blue collar crime we wouldn't be having this discussion. Unfortunately that isn't the case.

    Stand your ground is a poorly written law allowing a young mother in Florida to serve 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband. At the same a man from Texas was told by police in a 911 call not to confront the people robbing his neighbors house. Joe Horn ran outside and shot two men to death, walking away with but a slap on the wrist. Take a guess as to which person was black and which was white in both cases.

    This isn't about stand your ground, it's about treating American citizens differently under the law.

  9. "I wonder how many of these justifiable homicide cases using the "I felt threatened" line were indeed murders."

    Starr -- yet self-defense is an absolute right, and it's written into our own Constitution's first Section. Whether or not one was threatened to the point of justifying lethal defense is guaranteed to keep the courts busy forever. Having been in that position once I can relate!

    "First, the prosecution does *not* need to prove it's case "beyond a shadow of a doubt" but only beyond a reasonable doubt. There is a very real difference."

    boftx -- kudos to you for catching that technicality

    "Stand your ground is well rooted in U.S. legal system. The issue is whether it applies equally for Martin too? Since he's dead, it's a moot point."

    CarmineD -- excellent post! But one's right of self-defense has its roots in systems of law pre-dating our republic by centuries. And Martin's death is hardly moot since the USDOJ has decided to pick up the case. Rodney King redux.

    "Makes you feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game." -- Bob Dylan "Hurricane"

  10. Vernos: I whole Hardheartedly agree that the lady in has gotten a bad deal, that situation needs to be fixed in the Stand Your Ground law in Florida and any where else the has such a provision that could cause this kind of miscarriage of justice. the only caveat is that she tried to spare someones life and it almost cost her life and did cost her her freedom, don't threaten anyone with a gun it will only get you hurt or worse.