Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

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  • Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

    I have a character who gets jumped by multiple guys three times his size while at a nightclub. The character takes the beat down of his lifetime. Gets mad, goes to his car, gets a gun and comes back inside the club and shoots one or two of the guys who assaulted him.

    Murder?

    Or is this part of stand your ground law where a savvy attorney could get him off?
    One must be fearless and tenacious when pursuing their dreams. If you don't, regret will be your reward.

    The Fiction Story Room

  • #2
    Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

    Depends on the race/ethnicity of the guys who get shot.

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    • #3
      Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

      Unless an attorney comes in and answers this, you are going to have to go online and research the concept of "stand your ground" to get a better idea of what it means in a particular jurisdiction.

      It should be easy to find information using Google.

      All of that aside, I will tell you that I would hate to be in the legal position of the hypothetical defendant whom you described.

      "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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      • #4
        Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

        Volunteer Lawyers For The Arts may be able to answer your question; choose the link for the "Individual" form under their "Request Legal Assistance" section of their web page. Also, here is a link on the varying degrees of the "Insanity Defense," particularly the form known as "Irresistible Impulse."
        Last edited by TigerFang; 11-17-2016, 09:20 AM.
        "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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        • #5
          Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

          Note that it's going to depend on the state in which this takes place, as they don't all have "stand your ground" laws, and they vary a little bit in the places where they have them.

          I'm not a lawyer, but from anything I've seen, leaving the scene and then returning with a gun wouldn't count as standing your ground (at least in a public place rather than your own property). Once you're safely out of the situation, self-defense tends to evaporate as you're not defending against anything anymore.

          Edit: The principal difference between "stand your ground" and regular self-defense laws - again, as I understand it - is that most self-defense statutes require you to try to extricate yourself from the situation first, and only apply force when escape is impossible. Stand Your Ground doesn't have that requirement.

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          • #6
            Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

            Sounds like a clear case of murder to me. For a similar example:

            Jordan Russell Davis, a 17-year-old high school student, was fatally shot by Michael David Dunn, a 47-year-old software developer from Brevard County who was visiting the city for a wedding. The incident began when Dunn allegedly confronted Davis and his companions, objecting to the volume of the music being played in their vehicle. A verbal argument ensued to which Dunn responded by retrieving a loaded handgun from his car and shooting 10 rounds into the teenagers' car, fatally injuring Jordan Russell Davis. In closing arguments at the first trial, the defense lawyer for Michael Dunn cited the language of Florida's stand-your-ground law.

            The jury was unable to return a unanimous verdict on a charge of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Jordan Davis. The judge declared a mistrial on that count. Dunn was convicted, however, on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for firing at three other teenagers who were with Davis and one count of firing into a vehicle. The three other teenagers were not shot. Dunn faced up to 75 years in prison for the four counts on which he was already convicted. Dunn's retrial for first-degree murder began the week of September 22, 2014. He was found guilty October 1, 2014, and was sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole on October 17, 2014.


            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Jordan_Davis
            "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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            • #7
              Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

              If I understand your question correctly, the main issue would be whether the judge would give the jury an instruction on self defense because the state had what was termed a "stand your ground law." Under your scenario, at least in North Carolina, and I believe most likely any other state, the answer is no, as he left the scene so the danger was over, so no self defense, as omjs noted. The question as to whether a good attorney could get the jury to acquit even without a self defense instruction is another matter. Of course, your fiction need bear no strong resemblance to fact.

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              • #8
                Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                Murder.

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                • #9
                  Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                  Originally posted by Juno Styles View Post
                  I have a character who gets jumped by multiple guys three times his size while at a nightclub. The character takes the beat down of his lifetime. Gets mad, goes to his car, gets a gun and comes back inside the club and shoots one or two of the guys who assaulted him.

                  Murder?

                  Or is this part of stand your ground law where a savvy attorney could get him off?
                  Sounds like premeditated murder to me.

                  I'm pretty sure that once he got to his car and was free to go or contact the police, they're going to say that's what he should have done.
                  "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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                  • #10
                    Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                    Sounds like premeditated murder to me.
                    No, it would not qualify as premeditated, because it was still a "heat of the moment" thing taking place immediately after the severe beating. However, if he took revenge by killing a couple of the thugs a week later, that would be a different thing and would qualify as premeditated.

                    Not a lawyer, just using common sense. And I have seen a lot of TV.

                    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                      Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
                      No, it would not qualify as premeditated, because it was still a "heat of the moment" thing taking place immediately after the severe beating. However, if he took revenge by killing a couple of the thugs a week later, that would be a different thing and would qualify as premeditated.

                      Not a lawyer, just using common sense. And I have seen a lot of TV.
                      That's a good point.
                      "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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                      • #12
                        Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                        I'd say the DA has a case for second degree murder. But I think you can shade it whatever way you need for the plot.

                        Say the guy goes to his car, waits until they come out, shoots them, then claims it's all one quick chain of events where he was in imminent peril. Then, assuming the audience knows this, the audience know it's cold blooded revenge, but the DA has a harder case to prosecute.

                        What do you want from this plot-wise? Are we supposed to root for him as being justified? Are we rooting for a clever slimeball to get caught despite almost getting away with it?
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                        • #13
                          Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                          Thanks everyone good answers.

                          For this case I want the audience to make their judgements based on the story as they hear it being told and re-enacted in court through flashbacks of witnesses. This main character is being charged with murder so his life is on the line and this becomes a big media circus. It's also kind of like a vantage point type of thing, but I was curious if there was a way a lawyer could find some type of loophole or technicality in the law itself where this character gets off and the audience is unclear whether he is guilty or innocent. I want the audience to have their own judgements of this character as the story moves forward for the most part so we don't know if we're rooting for a good guy or a bad guy.
                          One must be fearless and tenacious when pursuing their dreams. If you don't, regret will be your reward.

                          The Fiction Story Room

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                          • #14
                            Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                            You might consider jury nullification, where the jury (or a juror) is told the law but refuses to follow it, for whatever motive he or she might have. Nullification is something few if any states allow an attorney to argue specifically but there are ways to finesse it.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Stand Your Ground? Or Murder?

                              It sounds like that more than technicalities, your see-saw effect simply depends on the various testimonials that occur.

                              You should maybe watch Lantana for an interesting example of the different-POV effect.

                              Do you want to commit to a clear, unambiguous version of events at the end of the story? Does it all build to the truth coming out?
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                              Script consulting still going strong.

                              Details and updates here, as always: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...ead.php?t=9901

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