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Stand Your Ground Gets Murder Charge Dismissed

A Broward County man has successfully used the state's Stand Your Ground law to block his prosecution on a first-degree murder charge and has been acquitted.

A 54-year old Plantation man was facing trial for the January 2009 shooting death of his estranged wife's boyfriend.

But Broward County Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes acquitted him Monday, ruling that the accused was an invited guest in his wife's home and felt threatened during a confrontation with the victim.

In Holmes' ruling she wrote "nothing was presented … to rebut the reasonableness of the fear that [the accused] testified that he had in being confronted by a 5-foot-11, 280-pound, tattooed man who was angry and who lunged at him."

Stand Your Ground permits the use of lethal force when a person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to preserve their life. The person must also be in a place where they have a legal right to be, meaning somebody engaged in the commission of a crime, such as a burglary, cannot claim protection under this law.

An assistant medical examiner who conducted the autopsy said that the alleged victim was shot four times and that he might have been lunging at the accused when shot.

Judge Holmes' reasoning was sound as she recognized that the accused felt that his life was in danger and had to resort to lethal force. The law was properly applied, in my opinion, and the just result occurred - the accused's charges were dismissed.

It is the intent of this law that it is not a trial defense but a bar, or immunity, to criminal prosecution.