Monday, January 16, 2012

Stand Your Ground Law Applies to Incidents of Road Rage

            On November 21, 2010 Watson Adelson was stabbed in the head during a confrontation with Alcisviades Polcano. The incident began when Polcano cut off Adelson in traffic. Adelson responded by speeding up and stopping his vehicle to confront Polcano. At some point during the altercation Polcano grabbed an ice pick from his car and stabbed Adelson in the head.  Adelson later died from his injuries at St. Joseph’s hospital.

            Yesterday it was announced that the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office will not file any charges against Polcano because there is not enough evidence to refut Polcano’s claim of self defense. Polcano will avoid criminal prosecution and be immune from any civil liability if Adelson’s family decided to file a wrongful death law suit.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stand Your Ground…When It Applies and When It Doesn’t


In April 2005, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law FLA. STAT. § 776.013 entitled Immunity from Criminal Prosecution and Civil Action for Justifiable Use of Force or more commonly known as the “Stand Your Ground Law”.  The Stand Your Ground law states that a person who uses self-defense as permitted in FLA. STAT. § 776.012 and § 776.013 will be immune from criminal prosecution and civil action. More and more offenders are using the law as a vehicle to get serious charges, including murder dismissed by judges.  Since the law’s passage in Florida, fourteen other states have passed similar laws.  This law not only benefits those who have charges filed but also benefits those who have an incident under investigation by law enforcement. This article from Bay News 9 demonstrates how police officials can use the Stand Your Ground Law to determine that charges are not warranted in a particular case

While the Stand Your Ground Law gives and offender immunity from the “act” of protecting or defending oneself it does not grant immunity to charges related to the carrying or concealment of a weapon. For example, a person with a prior felony conviction who shoots someone with a firearm may be entitled to immunity from the act of shooting but could still be charged as a felon in possession of a firearm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is It Really Self Defense?

Historically self-defense has always been a hot topic in the law. The topic regained popularity in Florida in April 2005 when then Governor Jeb Bush signed into law FLA. STAT. § 776.013 entitled Immunity From Criminal Prosecution and Civil Action For Justifiable Use of Force or more commonly known as the “Stand Your Ground Law”.  The Stand Your Ground law means that a person who uses self-defense as permitted in FLA. STAT. § 776.012 and § 776.013 will be immune from criminal prosecution and civil action. What does that mean for you? It means that if you use self- defense you will not be charged criminally and you cannot be sued civilly such as the victim in this St. Petersburg Times article. But what if you have already been charged with a crime where you feel you acted in self-defense? There are two options: you can file a pre-trial motion asserting the Stand Your Ground Law and ask the Court to grant you immunity or you assert the defense of self defense at trial. Have you or someone you know been charged criminally for acting in self-defense? Give us a call to discuss your options.