Legal expert weighs in on possibility of Stand Your Ground as a defense in movie theater shooting
10:47 PM, Jan 14, 2014
1:12 PM, Jan 15, 2014
PASCO COUNTY, Fla. -
For two days in a row the question has come up, and for two days in a row , the sheriff of Pasco County has shot it down.
"This is not a stand your ground case," Sheriff Chris Nocco repeated in a news conference on Tuesday.
But yet the Stand Your Ground whispers continue.
An arrest affidavit released on Tuesday said Curtis Reeves, the man accused of killing a man in a movie theater over texting, was "in fear of being attacked." At the suspect's first appearance in court, attorneys painted Reeves as the initial victim bringing up how Chad Oulson allegedly threw a bag of popcorn at the retired cop's head.
"The alleged victim attacked him (Reeves), struck him with an object, which resulted in the gunfire," defense attorney Richard Escobar said. "The aggressor was the alleged victim."
Under state law, a person can stand his/her ground, meeting force with force, if one reasonably fears death or great bodily harm.
But when ABC Action News asked legal expert Jeffrey Swartz, a former criminal defense attorney, prosecutor, judge, and now law professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, to weigh in, he said the evidence for Stand Your Ground just isn't there.
CLICK VIDEO TO WATCH SEGMENT WITH LEGAL EXPERT JEFFREY SWARTZ.
"Throwing popcorn at someone is not a threat," Swartz said. "Based upon the facts as they're being presented by the state, I don't see stand your ground being a defense in this case."