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A test of Florida's stand your grou.....Bus law?

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posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 09:12 PM
Okay, first I want to say that this is 100%, totally and entirely unrelated to another recent high profile case in the State of Florida. Not even remotely...since the law wasn't an issue in that other instance, which isn't related to this one.

Now then, on to the story. Who would have thought it? Stand Your Ground is generally a law thought of in relation to the use of deadly force and/or serious injury to an attacker, criminal or other legitimate threat to one's own life. At least, that is the general association. It seems there is more to this law than one might have first thought about.

(CN) - Florida's "stand your ground" law may protect a middle schooler in his delinquency hearing over a fight with a girl on the bus, a state appeals court ruled.
As explained by the school bus driver, a boy named T.P. had been trying to get off at his stop one afternoon when a girl named A.F. grabbed the boy's jacket.

The girl was larger than T.P., and the students began to fight. She pulled T.P. down on the seat and punched him, the driver said. As T.P. fought back, his grandmother and mother who were waiting at the stop boarded the bus to break up the fight.
The grandmother struck the girl and T.P. got off the bus. Police then arrested T.P.

Pretty straight forward, it would seem. Girl grabs boy, punches boy, fight ensues. She started it. She ought to get tagged on it. Especially being bigger, right? Well, that isn't how it went at first here. The police arrested the boy and they stuck to that, pushing it into formal charges.

The story continues to describe the girl here giving different stories of what happened in official accounts, prompting the boy's attorney to move for dismissal. The basis of the dismissal is what is the point of the story.

T.P. moved to dismiss the charges based on the "stand your ground" law, but a juvenile delinquency judge in Broward County found that the law applied only to the defense of home or vehicle, not on a bus.

T.P.'s bus driver never testified at his trial on the merits, and the court found him guilty of battery.

Now, in most cases? It would end there. People rarely push matters by lack of money, lack of knowledge that they have that right, lack of a qualified or trusted attorney or a combination of the three. In this case, he wasn't going to stand for a battery conviction based on a clear defense situation he was attacked in. They rolled the dice and push up the Court ladder.

A three-judge panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed last week, finding that "T.P. had the right to assert a defense under section 776.013(3)."

This section of the state's "stand your ground" law provides: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Here, T.P. "was not engaged in an unlawful activity, and he had the right to be on the bus going home from school," Judge Martha Warner wrote for the court. "He had no duty to retreat and, despite the trial court's misgivings, had the right to 'meet force with force' if he reasonably believed that such force was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself.
Source: Courthouse News

Their finding concluded that the trial court must decide the case based on the elements required to fulfill the Stand Your Ground law as a defense to the charge, including whether the force he used was necessary to defend himself, in the belief that he was in danger of bodily harm. These are the elements which had been ignored by the defense itself being thrown out as viable by the Trial court the first time.

So, at least in this case, it's established at the appeals level of the court system that Stand Your Ground does apply outside of just a home or personal vehicle and does apply to a Middle School Child in an allegedly unprovoked fight he was required to defend himself.

- - - - -

I believe this is a very important development, as my own Son has been disciplined at school under their policy of automatically assigning blame to both as mutual combatants if one defends themselves against an attack. Who started it makes a difference in severity, but not the fact that both are getting something. In his current level of school, an actual charge would be possible.

It's interesting to note that while this decision doesn't apply directly to Missouri? Our law is very similarly written to Florida. It may be an interesting defense to see used elsewhere as parents get tired of seeing their kids take suspensions or criminal charges for being a victim, defending themselves.

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 09:33 PM
Thanks for the post S&F...It is amazing to me the stand your ground law and premise is even debated. If someone attacks you it is the nature of most people I know to try and defend ones self...Is there room for abuse...yep but IMO the good out weighs the bad of the law. If more bullies found it harder to pick on people there would be less bullies IMO. Remember the fat kid getting picked on by the skinny bully? The fat kid finally had enough and picked the shinny kid up and body slammed him...There should be a lesson in all that. As more and more people have CHLs the predictors who pray on the weak and innocent will learn the hard way that an easy mark may not be so easy after all......

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 10:31 PM
What happened to the common sense of self defense?

It's going from bad to worse to insane.

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 10:39 PM
I'm confused why the Grandmother wasn't charged (I might have missed it). If she got away with smacking A.F. why didn't the kid?

It's preposterous to expect anyone, especially a child from protecting themselves. I also think it's a bit ridiculous for what sounds like a minor scuffle to turn into such a big deal. Bus driver sounds like a lazy POS.

I'm glad that the law is being upheld and that it doesn't only apply to protecting home or vehicle. I didn't think that was the way it worked. I have a feeling someone got lazy and just wanted to push this issue through and be done with it.

posted on Jul, 26 2013 @ 10:45 PM
Honestly sounds like a lawyer trying to catch the coat-tails of a non-existent story in terms of "stand your ground". The way it all reads is pure self-defense; no need to invoke "stand your ground" as life was not immediately threatened nor was the person being threatened being forced to given up ground (such as private property).

What is this really about? I believe a lawyer with $$ in their eyes....

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 07:28 AM
reply to post by ownbestenemy

Well, it would seem to be about the fact that the kid took a real conviction on criminal battery charges for his defense. It's important to note that this whole thing was an appeal to a higher court on that outright criminal conviction.

Would you say he shouldn't push with everything he and his parents have to set that right? I mean, these days, having just one violence related conviction can be a thing to follow a person like the proverbial albatross. If the 'delinquency court' Judge hadn't convicted him, I'd say it all would have dropped. If the trial court had permitted the testimony of the driver to establish his defense, I'd say it wouldn't have come this far.

I get the impression the trial court Judge was fixated on an outcome though and no silly defense argument was going to justify a boy hitting a girl. That's how it reads to me given the overall circumstances and the fact he wasn't even permitted to put up a serious argument for it.

Frankly though, I'm surprised you'd not see the principles involved, given the real actions already taken and considered finished against the boy, prior to the move to the appelate court?

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