Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

State high court to rule: Does 'stand your ground' protect felons who shoot?

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court will consider whether convicted felons have the right to claim immunity under the state's "stand your ground" self-defense law — even if they are barred from possessing guns in the first place.

Justices agreed this week to hear the case of Brian Bragdon, who was charged in Palm Beach County with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle, discharging a firearm from a vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court documents.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Bragdon was arrested in 2012 after he shot another man outside a strip club in suburban West Palm Beach.

An arrest affidavit, the newspaper reported, showed Bragdon and a group of other patrons got involved in a fight inside the club. The altercation continued outside and investigators said they later found 40 shell casings.

At some point, Bragdon leaned out the window of his car and shot — striking one of the patrons in the back and hitting a truck twice, the report said.

Bragdon argued that he fired the gun while trying to defend himself and sought to get the charges dismissed under "stand your ground." But a circuit judge ruled that Bragdon was prevented from seeking immunity because he was already a convicted felon in possession of a firearm at the time of the shooting. The 4th District Court of Appeal also ruled against him.

The appeals court based its decision on its own 2012 ruling in the case of Harvey Hill, a felon who shot a man during a confrontation over a woman and then claimed he did so in self-defense. The court ruled he couldn't do so under "stand your ground."

"Here, the defendant used the very instrumentality that he was not lawfully allowed to possess to injure his alleged assailant," the court ruled in the Hill case.

But between Hill and Bragdon, a different court — the 2nd District Court of Appeal — found in another case last year that there was at least one section of the "stand your ground" law that could apply even to felons.

The appeal court was considering the case of Aaron Little of Lee County, who shot and killed another man in a confrontation.

Little had been walking to his girlfriend's house with a friend when they encountered an acquaintance of the friend, court records show. The acquaintance pulled two guns and Little ran into a house to get away. There, he pulled his own gun out of a pants pocket, but the homeowner made him get out.

Outside, Little shot when the acquaintance pointed a gun at him, the court records show.

The "stand your ground" law says people can use deadly force and do not have a duty to retreat if they think it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

In the Little case, the 2nd District Court of Appeal determined that a section of the law "does not preclude persons who are engaged in an unlawful activity from using deadly force in self-defense when otherwise permitted."

It's not clear when the Supreme Court might rule. An order issued Wednesday said the court would set a time for oral arguments later.

Comments
Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

Bubba Wallace emotional after Daytona 500 runner-up finish

DAYTONA BEACH – No, Bubba Wallace did not win the 60th running of the Daytona 500.But you wouldn't have known that after seeing his emotions after he placed second – the highest finish ever by a black driver in the Great American Race.Wal...
Updated: 5 hours ago
After Irma evacuation gridlock, new energy for Interstate 75 options

After Irma evacuation gridlock, new energy for Interstate 75 options

OCALA — In mid-2016, a regional task force that spent almost two years exploring ways to improve safety on a crowded Interstate 75 decided to take a conservative approach: make changes to the highway rather than build or expand other roads. Then Hurr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 after Aric Almirola wrecks late

Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 after Aric Almirola wrecks late

DAYTONA BEACH – As Austin Dillon celebrated his Daytona 500 win Sunday, he couldn't help but remember the time he was standing there, in Victory Lane, 20 years ago this week.He was 7 then, and his index finger jutted into the air triumphantly t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

‘We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know.’

Nikolas Cruz was immature, quirky and depressed when James and Kimberly Snead took him into their Parkland home. But he was pleasant and seemed to be growing happier, they said.How the 19-year-old turned into a man now arrested and charged with 17 co...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Open-mic night at Pilars is a hot spot for Disney talent

WINTER GARDEN — At the end of the day, when the tourists are gone, Disney performers head out to their favorite spot to keep on singing after their shifts are over. Every Thursday, they perform at open-mic night at Pilars, a Winter Garden martini bar...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

Broward program will give small-time offenders a big break

FORT LAUDERDALE — Pot smokers aren’t the only law breakers able to get a second chance in South Florida. Underage adults buying alcohol, those stealing property worth less than $300 and people nabbed for trespassing, loitering or disorderly conduct a...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Facebook turns to postcards to snuff foreign ads

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office. Baffled in 2016 by Russian agents who bought ads to try to sway the U.S. presidential campaign, Facebook’s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

Parkland students to march on Florida Capitol to demand changes to gun laws

TALLAHASSEEAhundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will travel to Tallahassee for a march on the state Capitol on Wednesday in the first organized protest of their #NeverAgain movement.Their demand: that Florida legisl...
Updated: 7 hours ago
EPA chief Pruitt cancels visit to Israel

EPA chief Pruitt cancels visit to Israel

WASHINGTON — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has canceled a nearly weeklong trip to Israel, agency officials confirmed Sunday.Pruitt, who had been scheduled to leave this past weekend for an extensive tour of the Mideast al...
Updated: 7 hours ago
As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

As victims are mourned in Florida, a search for solace, and action

PARKLAND — On the Sunday after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School lost 17 of its own, a minister in Parkland implored his flock not to let the horrific shootings lead them away from their faith."Our world is broken, but Jesus is not," the Rev. Eddi...
Updated: 7 hours ago