Some Floridians Don’t Invoke “Stand Your Ground” When it Might Help


When Lauderhill, Fl., police brought in Abdel Odeh for attempted murder, the shop clerk acted more like a whimpering kid than a cold-eyed killer, says the Tampa Bay Times. Odeh, 19, tried to explain that he had feared for his life when he shot a man outside a convenience store. Odeh he had a powerful new law on his side. Three years earlier, the Legislature had expanded the definition of self-defense in Florida, a move that allowed people to “stand their ground” when faced with grave danger. Odeh fit that profile.

He had fired a gun he was legally allowed to carry, while standing where he had a right to be. When he pulled the trigger, he was afraid for his life. None of that mattered. In the end, Odeh went to prison even as killers with more outrageous self-defense claims walked free. Odeh never sought immunity from prosecution under the stand-your-ground law. In a series of stories, the Times showed that police and prosecutors, judges and juries across Florida have applied stand your ground unevenly since it became law in 2005.

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