Tampa Bay Theater "Popcorn" Shooting
More on the Tampa Bay Movie Theater Stand Your Ground (SYG) Shooting. Defense counsel is appealing the judge’s denial on the SYG ruling. Their contention is that battery to a elderly person is a felony (as far as I know it is everywhere in the country) which justified the use of deadly force to prevent it in this case. As it turns out the deceased threw his cell phone, along with the popcorn, at the defendant . That’s assault and battery technically. So the defense will no doubt contend that the defendant had good reason to fear that such an action could be followed up with a punch to the head. Plenty of people are killed with a single punch to the head each and every year and the deceased was a big man to boot. A 71 year-old man like the defendant was especially at risk of death or crippling brain injury from a hard punch and/or punches to the head. The law doesn’t require that you wait to get crippled or killed before you can act to prevent getting crippled or killed. This will be an interesting case to follow. The defense is going to maintain that the defendant acted out of reasonable fear of suffering death or grievous bodily harm at the hands of the deceased, while the prosecution will attempt to portray the defendant as a “nut with a gun” who went looking for trouble and killed a man when he didn’t need to. Who will win the case? Needless to say the stakes are high for the defendant, because a man is dead as a result of his actions.
One might come to the conclusion from all of this that self-defense law is very complicated, and one would be correct about that. Add to that the fact that fights are dynamic, changing and can occur on an “unlevel” playing field. It will be difficult to see where the legal lines will fall in the heat of action. As such it will be all to easy to step over the line. Plus witnesses can lie or misinterpret what they see. Which is why it is simply a good idea to avoid fights as much as you can. First of all the law says you should. Second of all while you will have milliseconds to decide how to react to what your adversary does (or adversaries as the case may be), the people who sit in judgement of you will have months to second guess your actions and impugne motives to you. Paradoxically if you DO get attacked in spite of your best efforts to avoid it the only logical course of action is to fight back as fiercely and effectively as you can to defeat the attack and /or secure your safe escape. Don’t do anything by half. Worry about what people think about what you did afterwards. In that light it is always useful to be aware of the different ways that people who mean you harm can come at you, both on the street and in court.
The hearing will be appealed. From tampbay.com:
“Dino Michaels, a member of Reeves' defense team, said they respect the judge's ruling but intend to file a challenge with the Second District Court of Appeals.”
“One of the strongest points of the defense is that Reeves, 71, was defending against an assault on the elderly. That makes Oulson's assault on Reeves a violent felony. In Florida, deadly force is justified to stop a violent felony. From fox6now.com:
“The claim of the defense is that Mr. Oulson was committing a felony against Mr. Reeves by abuse of the elderly when he threw his cell phone at Mr. Reeves,” Swartz said. The judge in the immunity hearing never mentioned the violent felony justification in her ruling. She did not refute it or dispute it.”
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Theater "Popcorn" Shooting: Don't Frighten an Old Man