NBC News

Parking Lot Killings in Fla., Kan. Show Nuances of ‘Stand Your Ground'

Both the Kansas and Florida laws put the burden of proof on the prosecution to show that a person wasn't justified in claiming "stand your ground"

After the killings of two people in Kansas and Florida brought the "stand your ground" law into national focus, lawyers and legal experts say the details of the cases highlight the nuances in a law that can be deciphered in varying ways depending on the person and the state, NBC News reported.

"I think the law is always kind of evolving," said Charles O'Hara, a criminal defense attorney in Wichita. "People misperceive self-defense a lot, so it gets down to the specific details about what happened in each case. People always look for a general rule that we can say, 'It doesn't apply here and it doesn't apply there' — but the law is much more gray."

Both the Kansas and Florida laws put the burden of proof on the prosecution to show that a person wasn't justified in claiming "stand your ground." They also don't put the onus to retreat on a "victim" who believes they're in harm's way.

In 2016, a man stabbed his neighbor to death amid an argument over a parking space. He initially avoided prosecution under the state's 2006 "stand your ground law," but a judge ruled last month he must face trial. And in Florida last month, police declined to arrest a man involved in a fatal shooting at a convenience store, which also started over a parking spot.

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