Friday, May 1, 2009

No duty to retreat

This from CNN:
Authorities do not plan to file charges against a Florida orange grove owner who fatally shot a 21-year-old woman, saying he is protected under the state’s controversial “no retreat” law.

Bullet holes pocked the windshield of the crashed SUV, and blood stained the passenger seat.

But the woman’s boyfriend faces second-degree murder charges in her death, because the woman was shot to death during an alleged felony — the theft of an SUV.

Tony Curtis Phillips, 29, didn’t fire a single shot. He didn’t even know his girlfriend, Nikki McCormick, was dead until police showed him an online news story.
Police said McCormick accompanied Phillips as he attempted to steal the SUV from a barn in an orange grove near Wahneta, Florida, before daylight Tuesday.

Grove owner Ladon “Jamie” Jones opened fire as the SUV approached him, according to an affidavit released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Phillips fled; McCormick was shot in the head and later died.

Authorities said Jones is protected by Florida’s “no retreat” law, which gives him the right to use lethal force if he reasonably believes his life is in danger. Phillips, however, faces charges because police allege he was committing felony grand theft auto at the time of McCormick’s death.

This is nearly perfect justice. People have the absolute right — and should have the capability — to defend themselves against criminal acts that threaten their safety, wherever such acts occur. “No retreat” means that self-defense is a legitimate first response, not a last resort.

This should be a first principle of law everywhere.

Jim Cornelius, Editor


  1. Good analysis Jim, their might hope for you after all.

  2. Stepping aside, then calling the police to arrest the perpetrators.. to avoid an unnecessary death seems like a christian alternative to Dirty Harry inspired tragedy this story describes.

  3. I think it all depends on if the SUV was "coming toward" him to hit him or just in his direction as it took off. If coming toward him was to hit him, OK. If not, how about going for the tire and seeing if you can stop the act and get the person arrested without deadly force. Killing someone over a car seems a bit much. If your kid was in the car, OK.

  4. What a bunch of sissys, good job why should dirt bags be allowed to take what others have worked hard to earn. Why do thief have more rights than the owners. Chop off their hands if they steal, put the killers to death instead of letting them rot in jail at our expense. Shame on you tree hugging left wing liberals.

  5. Ours is a country that keeps a higher percentage of its people in Jail than any other Industrialized country.

    We also have more guns per capita than any country i the world.

    We also have the Highest murder rate of any industrialized country i the world, mostly committed with guns.
    Dont you think we can do better than that? Dont you think we should do better than That? Institutionalizing brutality only makes us more brutal.

  6. Interesting range of responses - everything from turning the other cheek by turning it over to law enforcement, to lumping in environmentalists with those who eschew deadly force (I guess it's difficult to shoot with your arms around a tree).

    The right to defend one's family, property and safety is so fundamental to a functioning society that any laws enhancing our ability to do so can only improve our lot. The fact that these laws permit us to act to the detriment of those committing acts against us is a positive, both on a case basis, and a deterrent basis. It's too bad that the accomplice (not girlfriend, accomplice) was a fatal. Much easier to stop a vehicle by dropping the driver. The shooter should have exercised better "gun control" and more careful aim. At least the driver will have to face murder charges.

  7. If you overhear two people planning to steal your SUV do you have the right to shoot them to prevent the theft?

    If you overhear two people planning to steal your SUV as they walk towards it, do you have a right to shoot them to stop them from stealing it?

    If you see two people opening the door to your SUV do you have the right to shoot them to stop them form getting in and stealing it?

    If you see to people driving you in your SUV do you have the right to shoot them to stop them from stealing it?

    How much planning do you do to stop people from stealing your stuff by shooting them?

    Do you always react as planned? Is it likely that you will encounter a shooting situation that matches your planning?

    Some one is driving towards in your SUV, You shoot them to stop them from stealing you property and threatening your life. When the police arrive, it wasn't your car, just an identical one you thought was yours.

    Sure is clear when you should shoot someone to protect your stuff.