FL Middle School Student Uses “Stand Your Ground” Defense to Overturn Conviction for Bus Fight

August 14 2013
by GSL Staff
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Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 3.54.20 PMThe debate on stand your ground self defense laws is more intense than ever, with opponents arguing such laws should be struck down. However, there is no sign any states are making moves to make that happen.

A new case is going to provide even more controversy to the debate. A Florida middle school student has just managed to get a battery conviction overturned by using Florida’s stand your ground statute.

According to NBC,

The student who got into a fight on his bus with a girl initially was adjudicated or found guilty – but he appealed that and won. The youngster, who was charged with battery, has convinced an appellate court that he should have the right to claim he was standing his ground.

The 4th District Court of Appeals ruling said, “The defense argued the Stand Your Ground law, applied and that T.P. (the middle school student) was lawfully entitled to defend himself, because, according to the bus driver, A.F. (the female student) had used force against T.P. when she grabbed him by his jacket, punched him, and pulled him down into his seat…”

…Broward defense attorney Richard Della Fera says, “Even on a school bus where a child has a lawful right to be, this law might apply.”

The decision from the appellate court made the following ruling,

“In this case, T.P. had the right to assert a defense under Stand Your Ground. He was not engaged in an unlawful activity, and he had the right to be on the bus going home from school. He had no duty to retreat and, despite the trial court’s misgivings, had the right to ‘meet force with force.’”

Broward prosecutors say they will not drop the case and the student will have to successfully show that a stand your ground defense was appropriate when it goes back to court.

Stand your ground self defense laws are a hot topic right now following the George Zimmerman trial in which Zimmerman was acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman nor his attorneys ever brought up or claimed a stand your ground defense, however the jury was instructed in the law. It’s unknown if they used language from the statute in their decision to acquit Zimmerman.

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