Maurice Moorer of Miami fired more than a dozen bullets to kill a rival sitting in a car. He claimed self-defense. Police disagreed, but prosecutors say they were forced to drop a murder charge against Moorer because of the 2005 “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law that broadened a citizen’s ability to use deadly force, reports the Miami Herald. “There is no law now that we can point to say Moorer should have backed off, that he should have avoided this,” said prosecutor Kathleen Hoague, who says the new law “cheapens human life.”
Police, lawyers, and courts across Florida are struggling to apply what many say is a vague law. It eliminated a citizen’s duty to retreat from a deadly threat and gave “immunity” to people protecting themselves with lethal force. Legislators said the law was necessary to give law-abiding citizens more rights to protect themselves outside their home. Critics say the law encourages vigilantism and provides cover for unjustified violence. “The law has created a massive amount of confusion as to what exactly constitutes self-defense and exactly how to apply the new law,” said defense attorney Bill Mathewman.