Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The "I Had No Choice" Defense

So, Trevor Dooley, how's that "Stand Your Ground" thingy working out for you?

Jurors in Tampa needed only about 90 minutes Monday (11/19/2012) to decide Dooley's fate. Dooley now faces up to 30 years in prison for fatally shooting 41-year-old David James as they wrestled on the ground after arguing over a skateboarder.

"A man started an argument over nothing," said Assistant State Attorney Stephen Udagawa, "and killed somebody over it."

Let me reiterate, Dooley took a human life over NOTHING! And his defense of "I had no choice" would be ludicrous if it weren't such a pernicious act of arrogance and stupidity. Dooley had a choice! There was no excuse for bringing a gun to a public recreation area if his only intent was to holler at a kid on a skateboard.

Dooley's wife testified that she sometimes has to remove Dooley's gun from his pants when she does the laundry, so maybe we could give him a break and suggest he just forgot that he was packing a deadly weapon in the waistband of his pants.

You might cut him some slack, but I won't. If you are going to carry a firearm, the responsible person never "forgets" they are carrying. "I forgot" can land a irresponsible jerk like Dooley in jail - just for carrying a deadly weapon. If you doubt that or have to ask how that could happen, then you are one of those people who should not be carrying - because you don't know the law!

Dooley didn't know the law, so even if there had not been a deadly shooting Dooley could have been convicted of aggravated assault for simply lifting his shirt to display a weapon. Aggravated assault carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence (three years as of this writing). Of course, if you have a boat load of money, a really good attorney, a sympathetic prosecutor, and a super jury you might get the charge reduced to improper display of a firearm which is a misdemeanor as opposed to a felony.

There are way too many people in this state and in this country who believe carrying a deadly weapon is the solution to many, if not all, of our problems with crime. The vast majority of these people should not be allowed anywhere near a deadly weapon because they are untrained, ill advised, ignorant, delusional, or just plain dangerous - to themselves and others.

Dooley deserves what he got, and it would be nice to think that his fate at the hands of a jury will serve as a lesson and a warning to all who think that a gun is the answer. It isn't, and their ignorance of the law could cost them more than they are willing or able to pay - even if there is no loss of life.

Florida's "Stand Your Ground Law" didn't work too well for Dooley. Are you prepared to test that law to see if it works for you?

I can recommend a good attorney. You will need one.

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