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Is 'Stand Your Ground' applied fairly in Florida?

In a recent post, we discussed Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. The Trayvon Martin shooting has brought the legislation under scrutiny, and now the case of a 31-year-old Florida woman is also making headlines.

The woman says she was in fear for her life when she fired a gun to scare away her enraged husband, who even said in court that he had threatened to kill her. Despite the husband's admitting to a history of domestic abuse, the court denied the woman's motion for a dismissal. (In a later hearing, the husband claimed that he initially lied about threatening to kill his wife.)

The woman's filing for dismissal was based on the "Stand Your Ground" legislation, but since the motion was denied, she is facing a mandatory 20-year prison sentence on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. However, no one was harmed in the incident in question, and the woman claims she only fired a warning shot to scare her husband away.

The court's ruling has many people asking whether or not the "Stand Your Ground" law has been fairly applied in all cases. A representative from the NAACP is looking into the matter, and Reverend Al Sharpton also said that the Florida woman's case deserves a closer look.

The jury in the recent trial took only 12 minutes to find the woman guilty. According to her, her husband threatened her life when he saw she was holding a weapon to protect herself. "I believe when he threatened to kill me, that's what he was absolutely going to do," she said. "That's when he intended to do. Had I not discharged my weapon at that point, I would not be here."

The woman's attorney (not affiliated with this firm) told CNN that he intends to appeal the court's decision.

Source: WPTZ, "'Stand your ground' denied in domestic violence case," Chuck Hadad, May 3, 2012

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Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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