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Thread: Comparing FL and VA Self Defense Laws

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    Regular Member BillB's Avatar
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    Comparing FL and VA Self Defense Laws

    Here is an article that speaks to the legal use of deadly force. Some points in the article will probably generate some discussion as they seem to be at odds with the the prevailing opinions on this forum. For example here is a clip from the article:

    If you are in a public place in which you are legally allowed (e.g. public parks, sidewalks, restaurants, etc.), the situations in which you can use deadly force in Florida and Virginia are very similar. There is an important difference, though.

    In both Florida and Virginia you may use lethal force to defend yourself from a reasonable fear death or great bodily harm. In Florida, though not in Virginia, you are allowed to use lethal force to “repel forcible felonies” (e.g. rape, arson, robbery).


    Link to article: http://rvanews.com/news/florida-vs-v...nse-laws/58745
    Last edited by BillB; 07-26-2013 at 09:49 AM.

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    Last time I checked...

    I see no reason not to interpret threats of rape, robbery, or arson, where my person or the persons of my loved ones are involved, as threats of "great bodily harm". Still justified for lethal force.
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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wolfhound View Post
    I see no reason not to interpret threats of rape, robbery, or arson, where my person or the persons of my loved ones are involved, as threats of "great bodily harm". Still justified for lethal force.
    Dog-piling on ^

    Rape, robbery and arson are violent felonies - by definition they threaten imminent death or great bodily harm if not stopped. The use of deadly force in stopping a violent felony, so our esteemed I-am-an-attorney-but-not-your-attorney has learned us, is justified. Even if the victim is an innocent "other".

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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    Regular Member Esanders2008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Dog-piling on ^

    Rape, robbery and arson are violent felonies - by definition they threaten imminent death or great bodily harm if not stopped. The use of deadly force in stopping a violent felony, so our esteemed I-am-an-attorney-but-not-your-attorney has learned us, is justified. Even if the victim is an innocent "other".

    stay safe.
    Also, I'm hoping User will pop in here, but if I am not incorrect, we have the common law protections to repel forcible felonies, but IANAL

    ETA: ah you were talking about User.. lol
    Last edited by Esanders2008; 07-26-2013 at 07:12 PM.
    ...To make my bullets go faster!

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esanders2008 View Post
    Also, I'm hoping User will pop in here, but if I am not incorrect, we have the common law protections to repel forcible felonies, but IANAL

    ETA: ah you were talking about User.. lol
    Are you aware that many of us are lawyers (a person knowlegable regarding the law) but not attorneys (persons who have passed the guild initiation, paid the yearly tribute, and thus allowed to argue with judges as well as with each other)?

    I can give you my opinion on what a/the law means, but must never-ever ask for or receive anything (except possibly your admiration or thanks) for doing so, else I be accused of the illegal practice of law. As opposed to the illegal getting it right of law. (Yes, I've heard that old saw about amateurs practicing till they get it right as opposed to professionals practicing till they cannot get it wrong. But based on that, attorneys and weatherpersons are very rank amateurs. )

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Bovine excrement.

    As relates to "In Florida, though not in Virginia, you are allowed to use lethal force to “repel forcible felonies” (e.g. rape, arson, robbery)", there are five felonies for which force can be used as a response in Virginia, up to and including deadly force. In no particular order, they are: burglary, robbery, arson, rape, and murder.

    Time for user to step in and settle this one.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Regular Member BillB's Avatar
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    The article cites two Richmond area criminal defense attorneys by name, one of them is Matt Rawls. Here is another cut-and-paste from the article:

    Here’s a hypothetical example to distinguish the laws in the two states. Imagine a person approaches you on the sidewalk and tries to steal your wallet. They have no weapon. In Florida, you are allowed to shoot them because they are committing the forcible felony of robbery. However, Virginia does not afford you that same automatic legal privilege to use lethal force. “Remember,” says Rawls, “you must have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm in order to use lethal force. Just because someone wants to steal your wallet, doesn’t mean you have a reasonable fear they’re going to kill you. And if they don’t have a weapon, it’s difficult to establish your reasonable fear in the situation.”

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillB View Post
    The article cites two Richmond area criminal defense attorneys by name, one of them is Matt Rawls. Here is another cut-and-paste from the article:

    Here’s a hypothetical example to distinguish the laws in the two states. Imagine a person approaches you on the sidewalk and tries to steal your wallet. They have no weapon. In Florida, you are allowed to shoot them because they are committing the forcible felony of robbery. However, Virginia does not afford you that same automatic legal privilege to use lethal force. “Remember,” says Rawls, “you must have a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm in order to use lethal force. Just because someone wants to steal your wallet, doesn’t mean you have a reasonable fear they’re going to kill you. And if they don’t have a weapon, it’s difficult to establish your reasonable fear in the situation.”
    Robbery is theft with the implied or actual use of force or violence in commission of the crime. (I welcome corrections to this from those more knowledgeable than myself).

    And since robbery is one of the five felonies for which force can be used, up to and including deadly force to repel it, I fail to see where one could not pull their gun in the face of robbery in Virginia. What else would one be expected to do? Just hand over their wallet and wish the perp a good day?

    And then there is this. How would you know they are not armed if they are attempting to rob you? The fact that they may not be armed is not important. What is important is your perception that their action is predicated upon the fact that they are armed.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 07-27-2013 at 12:10 PM.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Just because someone wants to steal your wallet, doesn’t mean you have a reasonable fear they’re going to kill you. And if they don’t have a weapon, it’s difficult to establish your reasonable fear in the situation.
    Bovine scat!

    I walk up to you and say "Give me your wallet." I am not your parent, your spouse, or your friend who wants to help you get your DL out to show the nice policeman, or the like. That's Robbery. Additional details of the encounter may or may not cause a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that they were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. Tone of voice will be one of those details, as will body language.

    I walk up to you with one hand in my pocket and say "Give me your wallet, or else." A reasonable and prudent person could conclude that you had your hand on a weapon hidden in your pocket, and thus that they were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. That's Armed Robbery.

    I walk up to you with a big stick in my hand and say "Give me your wallet." A reasonable and prudent person could conclude that they were in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. That's Armed Robbery.

    I walk up to you and shove a gun in your face, saying "Give me your wallet." You laugh and tell me I don't have the guts to shoot you. That's natural selection in action. (OK, not really. But maybe it ought to be.)

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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    Regular Member BillB's Avatar
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    I've sent an email to Matt Rawls asking him if he would support his contention. I also provided a link to this thread and invited him to join it if he desired.

  11. #11
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Virginia Duty to Retreat?

    "Experts" are coming out of the woodwork, it would seem. This time, State Senator Richard Stewart, of Stafford, extensively quoted in a Monday article of the Free Lance-Star regarding self defense law in Virginia.

    Senator Stuart claims that in Virginia, we have a duty to retreat. First I've ever heard that claim. I posted an e-mail to User, but I don't know if he is inclined to leave comments on the newspaper's website.

    In Virginia, self-defense is clearly spelled out

    “We do have a duty to retreat in Virginia,” Stuart added. “If you are threatened, and you have the ability to retreat and remove yourself from the threat, then you’ve got a responsibility to do that before you shoot to kill.”

    Maybe my understanding is wrong, but if Stuart is wrong, it's extremely unfortunate that our law-makers would be mistaken about something so critically important.

    TFred

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    "Experts" are coming out of the woodwork, it would seem. This time, State Senator Richard Stewart, of Stafford, extensively quoted in a Monday article of the Free Lance-Star regarding self defense law in Virginia.

    Senator Stuart claims that in Virginia, we have a duty to retreat. First I've ever heard that claim. I posted an e-mail to User, but I don't know if he is inclined to leave comments on the newspaper's website.

    In Virginia, self-defense is clearly spelled out

    “We do have a duty to retreat in Virginia,” Stuart added. “If you are threatened, and you have the ability to retreat and remove yourself from the threat, then you’ve got a responsibility to do that before you shoot to kill.”

    Maybe my understanding is wrong, but if Stuart is wrong, it's extremely unfortunate that our law-makers would be mistaken about something so critically important.

    TFred
    He's wrong, plain and simple. Virginia is a "true man state" (user's words). As long as we have a legal right to be where we are and are not party to the instigation or escalation of an incident, we may stand our ground. This man is confusing situations where someone is part of the problem (verbal fisticuffs, flipping the bird, etc.). In such a situation, you must retreat, telling your antagonist that you do not wish to fight, until you can no longer retreat in safety. At that point, you regain the vale of innocence (not a legal term) and may use deadly force if necessary.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 07-30-2013 at 05:38 AM.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    He's wrong, plain and simple. Virginia is a "true man state" (user's words). As long as we have a legal right to be where we are and are not party to the instigation or escalation of an incident, we may stand our ground. This man is confusing situations where someone [i]is]/i] part of the problem (verbal fisticuffs, flipping the bird, etc.). In such a situation, you must retreat, telling your antagonist that you do not wish to fight, until you can no longer retreat in safety. At that point, you regain the vale of innocence (not a legal term) and may use deadly force is necessary.
    Gee....a politician not knowing the law.

    Joe Morrissey, who among other things (Mostly bad), prides himself on his environmental bills....was just fined a thousand bucks for building a flood wall at his home on the river. He said he didn't think he needed a permit.

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    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    Dan is there

    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    "Experts" are coming out of the woodwork, it would seem. This time, State Senator Richard Stewart, of Stafford, extensively quoted in a Monday article of the Free Lance-Star regarding self defense law in Virginia.

    Senator Stuart claims that in Virginia, we have a duty to retreat. First I've ever heard that claim. I posted an e-mail to User, but I don't know if he is inclined to leave comments on the newspaper's website.

    In Virginia, self-defense is clearly spelled out

    “We do have a duty to retreat in Virginia,” Stuart added. “If you are threatened, and you have the ability to retreat and remove yourself from the threat, then you’ve got a responsibility to do that before you shoot to kill.”

    Maybe my understanding is wrong, but if Stuart is wrong, it's extremely unfortunate that our law-makers would be mistaken about something so critically important.

    TFred
    Dan Hawes has a vey well written comment on the article. I was quite disappointed in my senator (Stuart) saying "duty to retreat" is the law in Virginia. Dan straightens that out.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtackDuck View Post
    Dan Hawes has a vey well written comment on the article. I was quite disappointed in my senator (Stuart) saying "duty to retreat" is the law in Virginia. Dan straightens that out.
    I'm not sure if I'd rather have Dan become a Judge, Senator or remain the protector of the innocent. It'd be nice if we could clone him!

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    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I'm not sure if I'd rather have Dan become a Judge, Senator or remain the protector of the innocent. It'd be nice if we could clone him!
    +++++

    ETA: Governor would be nice, then US Senator?
    Last edited by AtackDuck; 07-29-2013 at 09:35 AM.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtackDuck View Post
    +++++

    ETA: Governor would be nice, then US Senator?
    Ever notice how much he looks like Santa Claus?


    (Good Lord, I hope I didn't just dig a hole for myself with that.)
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  18. #18
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    Ever notice how much he looks like Santa Claus?


    (Good Lord, I hope I didn't just dig a hole for myself with that.)
    Skid looks like Santa. Dan looks more like the Father Winter

    Last edited by peter nap; 07-29-2013 at 10:27 AM.

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    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Skid looks like Santa. Dan looks more like the Father Winter

    I've seen pictures of skid but he hates me so I can't say anything. I think Dan would make a good Santa... if he can ho, ho, ho.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

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    Well then,

    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Skid looks like Santa. Dan looks more like the Father Winter

    Would that make you Father time? ;>)
    Last edited by va_tazdad; 07-29-2013 at 11:41 PM.

  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    I've seen pictures of skid but he hates me so I can't say anything. I think Dan would make a good Santa... if he can ho, ho, ho.
    I hate you?

    Let me point out that disagreeing with someone does not equate with hating them.

    Philosophically, the opposite of "love" is not "hate", but "indifference". Love and hate are but different faces of the same level of intense interest in a person and their well-being. Let me state for the record that I am not now, nor have I ever been, intensely interested in you or your well-being.

    And since Obama is about to wipe out the coal industry you can look forward to an empty stocking this Xmas. (Personally I always thought you were "bad" so you could get free heating fuel. )

    On Donner, on Blitzen, On Chewy, on Vato! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoSyCtD0WO4

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  22. #22
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_tazdad View Post
    Would that make you Father time? ;>)
    Chris Lapp!

  23. #23
    Regular Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    I hate you?

    Let me point out that disagreeing with someone does not equate with hating them.

    Philosophically, the opposite of "love" is not "hate", but "indifference". Love and hate are but different faces of the same level of intense interest in a person and their well-being. Let me state for the record that I am not now, nor have I ever been, intensely interested in you or your well-being.

    And since Obama is about to wipe out the coal industry you can look forward to an empty stocking this Xmas. (Personally I always thought you were "bad" so you could get free heating fuel. )

    On Donner, on Blitzen, On Chewy, on Vato! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoSyCtD0WO4

    stay safe.
    When I first started reading your post I thought, man he thinks I'm serious. Then as I read further it was obvious a bit of returned humor was his thrust.... that is, right.... right? (heh, heh)

    Burl Ives, Santa Claus, Father Winter? Hell, I don't stand a chance with you guys. Maybe I need to grow a beard and join the club. Nah, the fur would get in my food.
    Last edited by SouthernBoy; 07-30-2013 at 05:40 AM.
    In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    America First!

  24. #24
    Regular Member Ladyhawke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    -snip- Maybe I need to grow a beard and join the club. Nah, the fur would get in my food.
    But birds need a place to live too...

  25. #25
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    When I first started reading your post I thought, man he thinks I'm serious. Then as I read further it was obvious a bit of returned humor was his thrust.... that is, right.... right? (heh, heh)

    Burl Ives, Santa Claus, Father Winter? Hell, I don't stand a chance with you guys. Maybe I need to grow a beard and join the club. Nah, the fur would get in my food.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGQyv-43334

    Nuff said.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

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