More catnip for Upper West Side progressives - the NY Times contemplates the muddled outcome of Florida's Michael Dunn trial and stands by their position that "Stand Your Ground" is the root of the problem:
Florida Self-Defense Law Complicated Jury’s Job in Michael Dunn Trial
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In failing to acquit or convict Michael Dunn on the most significant charge — the premeditated murder of a teenager in a dispute over loud music — a jury on Saturday may have run headlong into the breadth and reach of Florida’s contentious self-defense law.
In their 30 hours of deliberation, the 12-member panel wrangled with a question that cuts to the heart of all self-defense claims: How does a juror know when using lethal force is justified, where nothing is straightforward, memories are hazy or contradictory and perception counts as much as fact?
Yeah, yeah. Meanwhile, we continue to eagerly await Times coverage of the Roderick Scott shooting of Chris Cervini. A synopsis:
Scott was asleep on the couch in his home. At 3:00 in the morning he heard a disturbance outside, looked out the window, and saw three teenagers trying to break into his car. Shoving his gun into his waistband, he went outside to see what in hell was going on.
He caught one Christopher Cervini, then 17, in the driveway across the street. With Cervini were his cousin, James, and their friend Brian Hopkins. They were busily rifling through the neighbor’s car when Roderick Scott confronted them. These teenagers, you see, are (in Cervini’s case, he was) petty criminals. They were working their way through all the cars in the neighborhood in order to find things to steal.
The teens had also been drinking earlier in the evening. A toxicologist’s report confirmed that Christopher Cervini was legally drunk at the time of his death.
Scott confronted the three teens, felt threatened, and shot Chris Cervini twice (once in the back), killing him. He was charged with homicide and eventually acquited:
Roderick Scott took the stand in his own defense, explaining that he “looked outside the front door to see what was going on,” identifying “three individuals walking out of [his] driveway.” He “intended to go out and stop the criminal act or detain them.” He then chambered a round in his weapon. “I had no idea what was going on,” he said, ”so I had to protect myself.” He was, he testified, aware that he was outnumbered, and that is key to this issue as a self-defense scenario. When outnumbered, even if those facing you are unarmed, you are generally justified to use a force multiplier — a weapon — to defend yourself.
“I wanted to stop them before they could get away,” he admitted. “We live so far away, they would have been gone before police got there.” When Scott told the three teenagers that he had called the police, Christopher Cervini broke from the group and ran at him, shouting either, “I’ll get you” to Scott or “I’ll get him” to his fellow thieves. Scott fired two shots in response.
One might wonder how this became a self-defense case at all. George Zimmerman was pilloried for leaving the safety of his car; surely the Times wiil excoriate Scott for leaving the safety of his home. With a gun. With a round chambered. Surely the Times will argue that this shows clear murderous intent and they will deplore the crazy state law that let this killer walk.
Or not. The killing took place in 2009 in, believe it or not, upstate New York. The Times has never mentioned this case. And FWIW, Mr. Scott is a black man with "the build of a football player" and Chris Cervini was white.
Yet for reasons we can only imagine Times editors and columnists have felt no oligation to ruminate and pontificate on New York's crazy self-defense law.