... which we covered in depth today on my radio show this morning. As you know, this is the law being used to defend George Zimmerman, arrested this week in connection with the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.
Our guests, Traci Fant (organizer of the local rally seeking justice for Trayvon), Chris Harris and Amelia Pena, discussed South Carolina's "Stand your ground" law, which is a provision in the "Protection of Persons and Property Act." This was defined by the SC Legislature in SECTION 16-11-440(C) and is considered an extension or clarification of the "Castle doctrine"--a concept discussed at length by my radio-show participants.
In my opinion, the Castle doctrine should be sufficient, so I am not sure why an additional law was necessary. The National Rifle Association (and how did you guess) was one of the main agitators for the PPPA, which makes me wonder if increasing gun-sales was one incentive for the law. Concealed-carry laws are currently classified as "shall-issue"--one of those weird in-between categories nobody can quite figure out. Basically, if you ask for a permit and you are not a convicted felon, they will give you one for $50.
Since this IS South Carolina, I would wager all of the people in my radio-discussion had guns of their/our own (two out of three referred to their weaponry). We ain't skeered of guns in these parts. But of course, WE are not the people we are worried about.
The Stand Your Ground law has already been abused and/or (as in the case of Zimmerman) used to cover up some shifty and suspicious behavior.
Jason Dickey Manslaughter Conviction overturned:
Chief Justice Jean Toal wrote that Jason Dickey acted in self-defense in the shooting of 24-year-old Joshua Boot of West Columbia.It doesn't? Of course it does.
Dickey was a security guard at an apartment building and has served five years of a 16-year sentence.
Toal wrote that Dickey was confronted by two younger, intoxicated large men advancing toward him at the Cornell Arms apartment complex in downtown Columbia.
Associate Justice Don Beatty dissented in the 4-1 ruling, saying Dickey could have avoided the confrontation and was not inside the apartment building at the time of the shooting.
Dickey said Joshua Boot didn't live in the building, refused an order to leave, and came after him with a bottle.
Columbia defense attorney Jack Swerling represented Dickey in his 2006 trial and says the state Supreme Court's recent move makes this an "important case," but does not set a legal precedent for the thousands of South Carolinians with concealed weapons permits to open fire if they feel threatened.
Does a "bottle" equal a gun? I'd say one fellow was, um, outgunned, wouldn't you?
And what of a seemingly-simple situation that suddenly becomes very deadly, very quickly?:
Gregory Kirk Duncan didn't take too kindly to the way Christopher Spicer, a guest in his Greenville County home, was talking about a picture of his daughter in a cheerleading outfit. Duncan asked Spicer to leave, and he did — but not for long.Known as the "Bluffton Christmas Tow Truck slaying"--Preston Oates is now using the aforementioned "Castle Doctrine" as his defense in the shooting of Carlos Olivera. (This is after his escape-plan didn't work out.)
Within minutes after exiting the house, Spicer tried to come back in through the screen porch door. Duncan stepped out onto the porch with a gun in hand and told him to leave, but Spicer kept trying to force his way past. So Duncan put a bullet through Spicer's head.
Duncan was initially jailed for the shooting, but a Greenville County circuit court judge appealed his arrest, citing South Carolina's Protection of Persons and Property Act, a series of laws enacted in 2006 that guaranteed a person the right to defend him or herself against "great bodily injury" in his or her own home, vehicle, or business. The case made its way to the state Supreme Court, and in May 2011, based on testimonies that confirmed the preceding story, Duncan was exonerated. The court ruled that Spicer's forceful attempt at entering the home constituted an adequate threat to warrant self-defense under the law.
The shooting has greatly heightened existing ethnic-tensions in Bluffton for well over a year now:
Nelson [Olivera] has replayed the scene hundreds of times in his head. Still, he can’t comprehend how a trivial parking dispute could have ended so badly, leaving his younger brother dead and four kids without their father.Another well-known incident locally, involved the shooting of a homeless squatter in Spartanburg. They shot him before even calling law enforcement.
“It’s so sad. It was the holiday, and we were all laughing, smiling and hugging,” he said, shaking his head. “Then, in five minutes, our whole lives changed forever.”
Tow truck driver Preston Oates fatally shot 34-year-old Carlos Olivera on Dec. 24 after the two men argued over a parking boot Oates placed on Olivera’s minivan.
But just how that transpired, who was at fault and what penalty Oates should pay has been the subject of a bitter debate that has stirred ethnic tensions in this sprawling suburban community in Beaufort County.
Oates, who said the shooting was in self-defense, is charged with manslaughter and a weapons violation in Olivera’s killing. But some in the community, including Olivera’s family, want the charge upgraded to murder.
They say Oates shot Olivera execution-style while the victim had his back turned. Olivera was carrying a gun that night as well, but he never fired his weapon, authorities have said.
And then they charged him with trespassing:
No charges will be filed against a homeowner who shot a homeless man at a vacant Converse Heights house earlier this week.And finally, last weekend, another incident in Spartanburg, as two men were shot during an apparent robbery:
Citing a section of state law called the Castle doctrine, the Spartanburg Public Safety Department announced in a written statement Friday night that no charges would be filed against Maria Thompson or her husband, Ray Earl “Chuck” Thompson Jr., both of Chesnee.
A warrant, however, has been signed against the homeless man, 31-year-old Gregory Wells, charging him with unlawful entry, which is a felony, according to the statement.
On Tuesday afternoon, officers responded to 183 Connecticut Ave., which is a vacant home that is listed for sale. According to an incident report, Ray Thompson and Maria Thompson were notified by a real estate agent that a man was in their home when the agent came to show it.
The couple went to the home, and as Maria Thompson was looking for a house key, her husband pulled on the door, which opened, the report states. The couple later told police that Wells met Ray Thompson at the door. Ray Thompson asked Wells what he was doing in the house, according to the report, and the homeowner pulled out his .45-caliber handgun as Wells approached. Ray Thompson told police that he warned Wells to back up or be shot, the report states.
The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office says it happened shortly after midnight Saturday at the 300 Building of Lee’s Crossing Apartments on Powell Mill Road.The hitch in this last case is that Douglas Williams, the 29-year-old who shot the two intruders, was not supposed to be carrying a weapon, as a convicted felon. Nonetheless, he seemed to believe the Stand Your Ground law applied to him too.
When deputies arrived they found two people lying on the ground outside the apartment window behind several air conditioning units.
Deputies say the resident of the apartment building shot the two suspects. One suspect died on the scene, the other was taken to the hospital where he died.
Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger says Michael Deangelo Gentry-Hill Jr. and Darren Tyree “Ty” Hill both from Spartanburg died from gun shots wounds.
The Sheriff’s Office says there is not a threat to the community. Investigators have spoken with the resident of the apartment and no charges has been filed at this time.
AND THIS IS HOW IT WORKS IN REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. Everyone thinks they have the right to shoot anyone who "advances" on them, or just squats in a house. We have regressed to the Wild West, where everyone can pull their glossy six-shooters on everyone else, while simultaneously claiming to be the wronged party.
SC State Representative Bakari Sellers has proposed a bill to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” provision of South Carolina’s "Protection of Persons and Property Act"--which targets the phrasing in the bill regarding "retreating"--something I am not sure I totally understand. My guests believed it is unlikely that the total PPPA could be repealed here, and I agree. But could we modify or reform part of the bill? This remains to be seen.
STAND YOUR GROUND will be the subject of a local Q-and-A here in Greenville at the Reedy River Missionary Baptist Church, Monday night, 6pm. People like me, who don't quite understand all of the particulars, will be able to ask Rep. Sellers questions in person. What is the difference between repeal of the entire PPPA and modifying the "Stand Your Ground" section? How is this any different from the existing "Castle doctrine"? This is your chance to learn! Be there or be square. Hope everyone with questions will suit up and show up, and ask those questions.
DEAD AIR is planning to be there, so if you have any questions that are specifically about the SYG law, go ahead and ask them here, and I'll see what I can do. Let your voices be heard!