Pokemon Go Meets Stand Your Ground

Among the myriad of stories pouring in about dangerous Pokemon Go game experiences happening in the world of AR (Augmented Reality), along comes news from Florida (of course) about a real-world “stand your ground” type of incident which fortunately was not deadly – but could have been.

According to a report from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, on Saturday morning (July 16) about 1:30 a.m., a man fired several shots at the car of two young men who were playing Pokemon Go outside his home in Palm Coast, Florida.

Pokemon GO screenshot
Pokemon GO screenshot

The 37-year-old man said he was awakened by a noise, looked outside his home, and saw a white car. He thought that two teenagers, 19 and 16-year-old, were burglars ransacking houses when he reportedly heard them ask each other “Did you get anything?”

The man told police that he stepped in front of the vehicle and ordered the teens not to move. He said the vehicle accelerated toward him, causing him to jump out of the way. He then fired a gun several times at the vehicle because he thought they were trying to run over him.

The teens reportedly later told police that before the shooting they heard someone ask, “Did you catch him?” and one of the teens said, “Yeah, did you?”

They heard the gunfire as they sped off. They didn’t call police or tell their parents because they weren’t injured and had not seen any damage to the car.

But in the light of day, when the vehicle was found to have a flat tire and several bullet holes, they realized how deadly the encounter could have been, and the mother of one of the teens then called police.

Due to Florida’s infamous stand your ground law, it’s unlikely the unidentified homeowner will be arrested or face any charges, but it is possible.

law enforcement officials everywhere advise citizens to call 911 immediately with as much information as possible when you suspect someone is trying to break into your home, and avoid leaving the protection of your home to confront suspects.

Here are additional tips from Flagler County Sheriff’s Department:

Pokemon Go players are urged to follow these safety guidelines

  • Use common sense, be alert at all times and stay aware of your surroundings. In law enforcement, we call this situational awareness.
  • Watch where you are going.
  • Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or another device while interacting with the Pokemon Go app. You cannot do both safely at the same time.
  • Do not trespass, go onto private property or into any area you usually, would not if you weren’t playing Pokemon Go.
  • Understand that people can use your location to lure you to “PokeStops” so they can victimize you.
  • Take a friend with you.
  • If you are a minor, check with a parent before going anywhere and tell an adult or law enforcement officer immediately if anything happens.

Parents of Pokemon Go players

  • Talk to your kids about strangers and set limits on where your kids go.
  • Be aware of third-party software apps claiming to enhance the gaming experience. Unfortunately, many of these apps allow access to sensitive personal data.
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Crazy Gun Laws That Put Our Lives at Risk

Did you know there is at least one municipality in America that requires the head of household to own a gun? It’s just one of the many “gun laws” that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has pushed to enact across the nation. In fact, Thom Senzee reports on Advocate.com that there are other “crazy” gun laws – like stand your ground – that put our lives at risk.

The NRA has been so effective at defeating just about every proposed gun control measure in the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, and in state houses across the country that it may be time to replace the term “lobbying” with a new one.

The NRA and its executive director, the unyielding Wayne LaPierre, have been working hard to enact pro-gun laws. For example, according to Mother Jones, LaPierre and company are bent on bringing stand your ground laws to all 50 states.

During the past four decades, the NRA has fundamentally changed the very meaning of the term “gun laws.” If you think “gun laws” refers to laws that limit the availability of guns, think again. This list of absurd legislation (and proposed legislation) shows how some are fighting to extend the right to bear arms to even schools and workplaces. See 7 Crazy Gun Laws That Put Our Lives at Risk on advocate.com

South Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Murder Charge Dismissal

South Carolina’s Supreme Court recently ruled that a North Charleston woman legally used deadly force in 2012 when she fatally stabbed her boyfriend at their home. The ruling on May 18, 2016 helps clarify how South Carolina’s “stand your ground” law applies to domestic violence.

SC Supreme Court Asks Lawmakers To Help Them Understand Stand Your Ground

In October, 2014, a trial judge in Charleston dismissed a murder charge against 26-year-old Whitlee Jones, who claimed immunity from prosecution under the state’s Protection of Persons and Property Act. The law allows people in certain situations to use force when faced with serious injury.

Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)
Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)

                                   Whitlee Jones (photo: Cannon Detention Center)

Jones was the first of three North Charleston women charged with murder during a two-year span in the stabbing of a boyfriend or a roommate. Judges dismissed charges against all of them. Read the full story at postandcourier.com

Mom Who Killed Daughter Holding Baby Is Sentenced

In the final chapter to a heartbreaking story, a Florida mother was sentenced on yesterday (June 6) to serve 13 years in jail for fatally shooting her daughter a few days before Thanksgiving in 2013.

Adele Bing, 54, of Winter Haven, Florida, had been charged with second degree murder, shooting a deadly weapon, domestic violence with aggravated battery, and child neglect without great bodily harm. She entered a plea of guilty on May 25 to the lesser charge of manslaughter with a deadly weapon for the death of her daughter, 25-year-old Ruby Bing, and to aggravated battery (without firearm) on her boyfriend.

SEE: Mother Shoots Through Door, Kills Daughter Holding Baby

Adele Bing will receive credit for 270 days already served, and be on probation for 10 years after she is released.

Adele Bing
Adele Bing (Polk County Fla. Police booking photo)

On November 25th, 2013 Adele Bing had a fight with her boyfriend, during which she hit him in the head. Bing told police he left, telling her he’d be back to kill her. He instead went to a hospital for treatment of his injury.

While he was at the hospital, Adele Bing claimed she heard a banging and kicking at her apartment door, and, thinking it was the boyfriend, went to the door holding a baseball bat in one hand and a .22 caliber pistol in the other. At the door was her daughter, 25-year-old Ruby, who was holding Adele’s 4-month-old grandchild.

Ruby Bing (facebook photo)
Ruby Bing (facebook photo)

Bing told police that as she opened the door, the gun accidentally went off, hitting Ruby with a single shot to the chest. She died at the scene. Luckily, the baby wasn’t hurt. Police arrived to find Adele Bing cradling Ruby’s body, begging her to wake up.

She reportedly made a statement to police that it was a “f–up accident” and stated, “How can I look my grandkids in their face and say I killed their mother? Y’all can lock me away for good.”

This and other recent incidents underscore the importance of gun safety and dangers of approaching a door in supposed “fear” while holding a gun, and of banging on a door at night, heightening the likelihood that a deadly encounter or a self-defense incident may occur.

 

NBA Player Bryce Dejean-Jones Killed After Breaking Into Dallas Apartment

Bryce Dejean-Jones of the New Orleans Pelicans’ NBA team was shot and killed after an early morning break-in on Saturday, May 28, at a Dallas apartment he believed to be his girlfriend’s, when he startled a man he didn’t know, the Dallas Morning News reports. Under Texas self-defense laws the shooter likely won’t face any charges.

Dejean-Jones, a 23-year-old 6′ 6″ guard for the Pelicans, reportedly kicked open the front door of the unit in the Dallas apartment building, awakening a man who grabbed a handgun,“called out”, then fired when he got no answer and Dejean-Jones kicked the door to a bedroom. Dejean-Jones died later at a local hospital.

Although Dejean-Jones was not armed, the shooter would be justified, and likely won’t face any charges, this should not be considered a “stand your ground” case.

Texas self-defense laws provide immunity from liability for a personal injury or death resulting from the use of deadly force to a defendant who is found to be justified.

Bryce Dejean-Jones
Bryce Dejean-Jones

Just like virtually every other state, Texas uses Castle Doctrine as a basis, defined such that a person is allowed to use deadly force to defend himself inside his home, if “immediately necessary”. The person using deadly force must know or have reason to believe that the person against whom the force or deadly force was used unlawfully and with force entered, or attempted to enter the person’s home.

The stand your ground portion of the law allows deadly use of force with no duty to retreat outside the home, such as in a vehicle, or place of business or employment; or anywhere a person has a legal right to be.

In either case, the person using deadly force cannot be committing or attempting to commit certain serious crimes; cannot have provoked the person against whom the force or deadly force is used; and cannot be engaged in criminal activity. Texas law does not state that the person must feel threatened or in  fear for their life.

DeJean-Jones attended the University of Southern California and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, then transferred to Iowa State. He joined the Pelicans as a free-agent rookie last year for his only NBA season (which ended early because of a broken right wrist), starting 11 of 14 games and averaging 5.6 points with 3.4 rebounds. He had recently signed a three-year, $2 million deal with the team. Read the full story at Dallas Morning News.

 

10 Infamous Quotes About Stand Your Ground Laws

Ever wondered what a certain person had said or who said what about stand your ground laws? Some statements against stand your ground laws made in the aftermath of the trial in Trayvon Martin’s death were very controversial, and overshadowed the tragedy itself. Here are a few notable – or infamous – memorable expressions:

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

“If Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?… when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”

 

FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER:
FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER

“It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken. There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if no safe retreat is available. But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common-sense, age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely. By allowing and perhaps encouraging violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.”

 

RELATED: Crazy Gun Laws That Put Our Lives at Risk

 

REP. DAVID GUTTENBURG
ALASKA STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAVID GUTTENBURG

“The law just allows people to go on the offensive…it doesn’t do what people think it does, and people will get the idea that they can shoot people wherever they want. I just think we went too far.”

 

FLORIDA SENATOR GERALDINE THOMPSON
FLORIDA SENATOR GERALDINE THOMPSON

“Florida has to fix this problem because Florida created this problem with the kind of law that we placed on the books, so we have to change the law or we are going to see more Trayvon Martins.”

 

Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece
OHIO STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALICIA REECE 

“Stand your ground would do nothing but turn our state into the Wild, Wild West.”

 

FORMER MIAMI POLICE CHIEF TIMONEY
FORMER MIAMI POLICE CHIEF JOHN TIMONEY

“Whether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house, you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.”

 

Michael_R_Bloomberg
FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

(photo credit: Rubenstein – originally posted to Flickr as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CC BY 2.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9652718)

“‘Shoot-first’ laws like those in Florida can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns. Such laws – drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington – encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue ‘justifiable homicide’ later.” 

 

IRAQ WAR VETERAN JON STOLTZ
IRAQ WAR VETERAN  JON STOLTZ

“These laws give anyone with a gun more permissive rules of engagement in America’s communities than our troops have on the battlefield.”

 

Stevie_Wonder
ENTERTAINER  STEVIE WONDER

“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.”

 

RICHARD ESKOW
RICHARD ESKOW, AUTHOR

“The laws are also more permissive than 19th-century law, despite the fact that dueling remained legal until 1859, when most states outlawed it. Unlike Stand Your Ground, both parties in a duel were armed and had an equal chance of success. Duels were also voluntary, whereas a person who is shot under Stand Your Ground has no choice in the matter.”

 

 

SC Supreme Court Asks Lawmakers To Help Them Understand Stand Your Ground

As a bill that would expand the state’s stand your ground law stalled in the Senate, the South Carolina Supreme Court has asked legislators to clarify under what circumstances someone can claim self-defense if they kill a stranger or someone else in their home.

They also asked the state lawmakers to determine if all defendants deserve a stand your ground hearing before a trial.

standyourground

A bill that would shift the burden of proof in a stand your ground case to require prosecutors to prove there was no threat stalled in the state Senate on Thursday, May 19, when a subcommittee decided not to vote on it. The bill would essentially be an expansion of South Carolina’s existing “shoot first” stand your ground law.

Should the burden of proof shift from defendant to prosecutor, it would make it easier for a defendant to prove self-defense. Full story at theslate.com

Missouri (Almost) Becomes A Stand Your Ground State

UPDATED: June 27, 2016 (This post was originally published as “Missouri Becomes A Stand Your Ground State”. The title has been changed to accommodate a veto on June 27, 2016, by Governor Jay Nixon.)

SEE: Missouri Governor Vetoes Stand Your Ground Bill

Democrats filibustered and put up a bold, powerful fight against SB656, a bill that will make Missouri the first since the Trayvon Martin case to become a stand your ground state. In the end, after a Senate vote of 28-8, the bill passed through the House with a vote of 114-36, disappointing many opponents. With the Senate majority vote, the bill cannot be vetoed by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.*

RELATED: Kurt Schaefer Pushes For Stand Your Ground In Missouri

SB656 changes several things in Missouri’s laws on self-defense, use of weapons, and concealed carry. The laws already included a castle doctrine, which covers protection of home & property.

Stand your ground was added under the unlawful use of weapons portion of the bill, when words were changed to state that now a person does not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, vehicle, private property that is owned or leased, or anywhere else a person has a right to be, as long as that person is not engaged in an unlawful activity, and not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining.

 

Missouri Capitol
Missouri Capitol (Image: Missouri Senate website)

 

Here are some other key points in the legislation:

SELF DEFENSE

The act provides that any unexpended funds in a Sheriff’s Revolving Fund, which usually accumulate from year to year, will no longer be required to remain in the fund, and now may be used for other purposes or transferred to discretionary funds for the sheriffs.

The law will now allow deadly force to be used by anyone who has permission to occupy private property, such as a house guest. Previously it applied only to the property owner or someone leasing it.

UNLAWFUL USE OF WEAPONS

It’s will now be only a misdemeanor, and no longer a felony, to carry a concealed weapon into a place that has restrictions on concealed carry.

CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT FEES

Caps the CC permit fee at $100. Also provides options of a $500. lifetime fee rather than every five years; $200 to receive a Missouri extended concealed carry permit that is valid for 10 years or $250 for an extended permit that is valid for 25 years. To renew an extended permit, the permit holder must pay $50.

* It’s posssible for a gubernatorial veto to be overriden by a state legislarure.

 

Kurt Schaefer Pushes For Stand Your Ground In Missouri

 

UPDATED: May 15, 2016

As a rule, prosecutors don’t like so-called “stand your ground” gun laws — those that allow citizens to use lethal force in the face of a perceived threat without first attempting to retreat.

Kurt Schaefer, a Missouri senator vying to become the state’s top prosecutor, must have missed that memo…see full article

RELATED: Missouri (Almost) Becomes A Stand Your Ground State

This is an excellent on-point article about a shameless, out-of-touch politician. As an example, he actually retweeted this:

KurtSchaeferTwitter

UPDATE: On the weekend after the Legislative Session closed, Schaefer also retweeted a tweet onto his twitter profile which advised voters to say “No to Kurt Schaefer.” How much more out of touch can a politician get?:

 

Alarming Facts About Stand Your Ground Laws

One reason stand your ground law is so controversial may be because it’s sometimes misunderstood. Many gun-rights advocates, led by NRA rhetoric, likely support it because they believe that changing or repealing stand your ground would somehow take away their 2nd Amendment rights. As a matter of fact, we were fine before stand your ground laws. Americans have always had a right to self-defense.

Here are a few alarming facts about stand your ground:

In most stand your ground cases, the weapon is a gun, the victim unarmed, and the killer goes free.

Tampa Bay Times Graphic of stand your ground cases
Tampa Bay Times Graphic

This was revealed in an excellent comprehensive 2012 Tampa Bay Times study. The research, which claimed that many cases seem to make a mockery of the legal system, also found almost 70 percent of defendants claiming stand your ground were successful, and that defendants were more likely to prevail when victims were black – 73 percent of defendants who killed a black person went free, compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white.

 

A successful stand your ground plea may allow immunity from prosecution for killing innocent bystanders.

Darrell Niles
Darrell Niles

Stand your ground laws in some states incorporate immunity from prosecution if an innocent bystander is killed. An example occurred in South Carolina in 2013, which set a dangerous precedent when a shooter was freed of all charges after killing 17 year-old Darrell Niles.

 

Florida lawmakers want to pay up to $200000 for legal fees in self-defense cases.

 Florida could pay up to $200000 for legal fees in a self-defense case.

The man who introduced stand your ground to Florida, state Representative Dennis Baxley, introduced a 2016 bill that would pay legal fees. SB 0344 proposed that if a defendant is brought to trial, then claims and proves self-defense immunity, Florida would reimburse up to $200,000 for all their expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, and compensation for loss of income.

 

Stand your ground law violates an international human rights treaty the U.S. signed in 1977, and helps get the U.S. a failing grade on human rights.

United States Human Rights Scorecard
United States Human Rights Scorecard (credit: CCPR)

In 2013, after the United Nations Commission on Human Rights urged the United States to examine stand your ground laws, one U.S. Senate hearing was held. Since then, no action has been taken to address stand your ground on a federal level. In 2015, the commission gave the U.S. a low score of C1 on reviewing stand your ground laws (one of several factors needed to conform to international human rights standards).

 

Using stand your ground defense allows a defendant two chances to avoid prison.

Jail card

When a defendant invokes stand your ground law, they petition the court for a hearing before a judge who determines, among other things, if the defendant had a right to be where the incident occurred, who was at fault, whether the defendant had intent, and felt threatened while in fear for their life. A judge decides the case, and whether it goes to trial. If a defendant loses at this stand your ground hearing, a case goes to trial. If the defendant wins, charges may be dropped.

 

Mother Shoots, Kills Daughter By Mistake, Second Incident In 2 Years

Crime-scene-featured

[UPDATED December 31, 2015]

In a second tragic incident of its kind in two years, a Florida mother apparently in fear has accidentally shot and killed her daughter last night (Tuesday, December 29th) .

The Orlando Sentinel reports this latest shooting occurred just before midnight at a home in the Osceola County city of St. Cloud, when a sleeping mother, who reportedly works as a dispatcher for a local police department, was startled awake by the sound of someone entering the house. Thinking it was an intruder, she fired a single shot that struck her 27 year-old daughter, who was visiting from North Carolina and had just entered the house.

The young woman’s stepfather, identified by the Orlando Sentinel as detective Claude Campbell, a corporal with the St. Cloud police department, called 911. On audio of the emergency call, the grieving mother, identified as 45 year-old Sherry Campbell, can be heard in the background, apparently comforting her wounded daughter, who the Sentinel identified as Ashley Doby, and crying,”Baby, I love you so much, please!..please…Oh my God!.”

On the audio, the stepfather does not tell the dispatcher that the daughter had been shot. He reportedly had not yet realized what had transpired.

The young woman died at a hospital, while the mother was taken to the hospital for unspecified treatment. Citing law enforcement policy, police did not initially release the names of those involved because it occurred at a home of someone who works in law enforcement.

Police said evidence so far indicates the shooting appears to have been accidental. No charges have been filed as of the time of this post and an investigation is still taking place, but police say the State Attorney’s office will review the case.

Accidental shootings like this one underscore the caution that should be taken when a weapon is in a household. All residents and visitors should be made aware – especially during holidays – when someone may be visiting, that a weapon is in a home, and to always communicate before entering a home at night.

In an eerily similar shooting on November 25th, 2013, Adele Bing, 52, of Winter Haven Florida, mistakenly shot and killed her 25 year-old daughter, Ruby Bing, who was holding Adele’s 4-month-old grandchild. Adele’s boyfriend had just left after an argument, and when Ruby showed up unannounced, Adele answered the door with a gun in her hand, firing the shot that killed her daughter. The baby was unharmed.

Ruby Bing2
Ruby Bing

In another case of self-defense gone wrong, one month later in Colorado Springs, Colorado on December 23rd, 2013, 14 year-old Kiana O’Neil was accidentally killed by her stepfather, an Iraq war veteran, as she sneaked into her home through a basement window.

Kiana O'neil
Kiana O’Neil

Neither of these cases should be construed as a “stand your ground” incident. However, each would fall under a state’s self defense laws, or “castle doctrine“, which dictates that a person has a right to defend himself and family against great bodily harm or death in the home, if a person fears an imminent threat – even if by deadly force.

This article will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

Check out the self-defense laws in your state

 

Why Santa Should Bypass Stand Your Ground States

For his own safety, Santa Claus might want to bypass and avoid some places in America. Soaring through the Christmas skies won’t be a problem for the guy in red, because NORAD is tracking and protecting him from airborne missiles and ground-to-air fire. He’ll be OK.

Once landing on rooftops, hopefully Santa’s sleigh is as silent as the night. Chimneys might be too hot in winter temperatures, and that’s when it could really get dangerous, but not because of a fireplace. The heat could come from gunfire.

If someone hears sounds on their roof, they could just shoot first, and ask questions later. Or, if a person in that house feels threatened by Santa or an elf, and is afraid of bodily harm, they could have that red and white outfit soaked in Santa’s blood.
Santa and stand your ground

One very tragic incident occurred two years ago, two days before Christmas Day, when 14 year-old Kiana O’Neil was accidentally killed by her stepfather, an Iraq war veteran, as she sneaked into her home in Colorado.

What many gun-owning homeowners may not realize is the difference between stand your ground law and “castle doctrine”, sometimes called castle laws. Under castle doctrine, you do not need a “stand your ground” law to defend yourself in your home. Yet, some folks may not have ever heard of the castle doctrine, and erroneously think that stand your ground law gives them special constitutional rights they didn’t already have, and that repealing stand your ground law would take away those rights.

Based on England’s 17th century doctrine that a man’s home is his castle the doctrine has been in place for hundreds of years. (in some states, a vehicle is also an extension of the castle). In the castle, or anyplace a person owns or rents and has a legal right to be, under castle law, that person also has a right to defend himself and family against great bodily harm or death, if a person fears an imminent threat – even if by deadly force.

Some states apply castle doctrine if the occupants reasonably believe the intruder intends to commit a felony such as arson or burglary. The occupant must not have provoked or instigated the intrusion nor an intruder’s threat or use of deadly force. And some states still include a “duty to retreat” clause (which means to seek safety and call – or try to call – the police first) in their self-defense laws.

SEE: Does Your State Have A Stand Your Ground Law?

In every state, the occupant(s) must have a legal right to be there, cannot be fugitive(s) or aiding/abetting other fugitives from the law, and the law can’t be used against a law enforcement officer performing his duty. In some states, the occupant must not be engaged in any unlawful activity during the encroachment, and, in most cases, the castle doctrine gives immunity from civil charges also.

Stand your ground laws change the castle doctrine by relieving a “duty to retreat” inherent in castle doctrine, and applying it to anywhere a person has a right to be. More than half of all American states have some variation of these two, distinct laws.