Domestic Violence immunity through Stand Your Ground Laws
Written by Moses & Rooth on March 21, 2012
The Stand your Ground Defense can apply to variety of criminal cases including a simple domestic violence battery charge. The Stand your ground laws in the State of Florida have been a hot topic of discussion over the past couple of weeks related to the high profile case Trayvon Martin. In the Trayvon Martin case, law enforcement is refusing to arrest and charge the shooter, George Zimmerman. Mr. Zimmerman is attempting to apply the Stand Your Ground Laws in order to have immunity for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. While there is great uproar across the country, it’s important to understand the laws in the State of Florida.
The law associated with Stand your ground does not always have to be attributed to a shooting case. A detailed look at the facts and correct application of the laws in the State of Florida may provide a valid defense to even a simple domestic violence battery charge. In domestic violence cases, we often see Law enforcement officer rush to judgment without a full investigation. Some agencies even have an internal policy where they must make an arrest when responding to a call related to domestic violence.
A recent case published, State of Florida v. Bryan (FLWSUPP 19058BRY), ruled that Mr. Bryan was immune from prosecution under the Stand Your Ground law. Mr. Bryan was charged with Domestic Violence Battery for the unlawful touching of the alleged victim, NMF. (The courts many times will use initials rather than publishing the name of a juvenile). NMF entered Bryan’s home, walked into his room and struck Bryan. NMF then stood in front of the room door preventing Bryan from the exit. Bryan then walks up to NMF and strikes her. Law enforcement responds and only arrests Bryan for the Domestic Violence battery. The Court applied Florida Statute 776.012 which provides in part: “A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force”. So, because NMF stood in front of the door and had recently used force on Bryan, the Court ruled that it was therefore reasonable for Bryan to believe that NMF would use force to prevent him from leaving the room. With this ruling the Court found Bryan immune from prosecution under the Stand your Ground law and dismissed the case.