Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Wrongful Arrest, Part II

Better-than-AP article here. I've rearranged the order of the quotes below, please read the entire article yourself.

"Lowe said he and Spaulding have worked for years to clean up their corner of the Lealman area, keeping a watch out for drug dealers, burglars and gang members and alerting police to problems."

Lowe is the victim. He's a 63 year old man who was getting beaten up by THREE men in their 20s. Spaulding is Lowe's 71 year old friend. I guess Pinellas cops had their doughnut break interrupted one time too many by these darn old folks, huh? Nothing like throwing them in jail to stop that nonsense!

"One man swung at him{Lowe}, missing, but then kicked Lowe in the hip, knocking him to the asphalt. He said two other men began kicking him. A fourth was present but didn't fight, he said . . "

"Spaulding held a .22-caliber pistol and warned the men once, twice, three times to stop. Then he fired, striking one in the right biceps."

. . . . Lowe said he did not hear a gun go off. {this indicates serious stress} . . . The other two men involved in the altercation were James Curtis Ganoe III and Eric James Palm, both 18, from St. Petersburg, sheriff's officials said. Neither had been charged with any offense Monday. Goodman, of the Sheriff's Office, said an investigation was continuing. . . .

The man who was shot, James T. Moore of Seminole, was treated and released from Bayfront Medical Center on Sunday night, his 20th birthday.

After leaving the hospital, he went to jail. Deputies arrested Moore on a battery charge, based on an unrelated incident earlier Sunday night.

But Pinellas police apparently didn't arrest Moore for the beating of Lowe?

Possible bright spot from Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney:
"Bartlett said people in certain circumstances can fire at aggressors to prevent them from killing someone or causing "great bodily harm" to a victim.

Bartlett was not familiar with the case. He said if his office's investigation confirms that three young men were attacking a 63-year-old man, it's possible a case could be made that the force was justified.

"On the other hand, if it wasn't a life-threatening or great bodily harm scenario, then the intervening party had no justification to use the force," Bartlett said."

Note to any and all who think that kicking a 63 yr-old in the hip cannot reasonably be considered something that could cause great bodily harm: Please come see me when you reach 63. I will hire 3 20 year olds to kick you, out of my own pocket. If you are under 63, I guess I'll have to make it 5, just to even things out.

Absolutely disgusting, smarmy twit, Pinellas sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman, had this to say:

"The use of a weapon to stop a confrontation is not the correct way. He would have been better off calling 911."

Note to Tim Goodman: Please wear a name tag at all times. If ever I see your car stranded by the road, I will, solely to please you, not stop to see if your battery needs a jumpstart. If ever I see you in bleeding in the street, I will, solely to please you, make no attempt to stop your bleeding. If ever I see you being kicked by 3 men 1/3 your age, I will, solely to please you, yawn delicately like a cat and continue on my way.

OK, that is all I have on it for now. I will try to sneak some time at work tomorrow to call the Pinellas county sheriff's office and get an update, if there isn't anything on Google. In cases of self-defense shootings, a hearing must be held. The cops confiscate the gun used in the shooting, and hold it until after the hearing. They are supposed to return the gun if the hearing determines the shooting was justified. I didn't think they could take ALL your guns, just the one used, but am not sure.

Below are a few pertinent Florida laws & statutes. I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY but I do believe that you shouldn't have to be an attorney to understand the law (yeah, I get disillusioned a lot). I can't see any way, shape or form under which Mr. Spaulding can really be charged - but lately I don't trust governments any farther than I could spit a rat.

State of Florida Constitution

Article I

Section 8. Right to bear arms

(a) The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law.

Florida State Statutes

Chapter 776
Justifiable Use of Force

776.012 Use of force in defense of person
A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against such other's use of imminent use of unlawful force. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commision of a forcible felony.

{taken from Florida Gun Owners Guide, by Donna Lea Hawley and Alan Korwin, published by Bloomfield Press in 1998. This may well have changed, but not that much}

'Forcible felony' is interesting. Seems like, for it to be forcible battery, Moore must have had a prior conviction. There is no way Spaulding could have known whether Moore did or did not . . . which makes it seem a very silly criteria. Hopefully I am missing something but again, dammit, shouldn't have to be a lawyer to know what is and isn't legal.

Title XLVI
CRIMES Chapter 784

784.03 Battery; felony battery.--

(1)(a) The offense of battery occurs when a person:

1. Actually and intentionally touches or strikes another person against the will of the other; or

2. Intentionally causes bodily harm to another person.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (2), a person who commits battery commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(2) A person who has one prior conviction for battery, aggravated battery, or felony battery and who commits any second or subsequent battery commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. For purposes of this subsection, "conviction" means a determination of guilt that is the result of a plea or a trial, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld or a plea of nolo contendere is entered.

How Florida defines battery and felony battery

Update: arse-kicking Letters to the Editor of the St. Pete Times. GO CITIZENS!!

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