Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense Forever Changed by Deadly Parking Lot Trial
In October, Michael Drejka – the criminal defendant at the heart of the Florida stand your ground federal parking lot shooting case – was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Drejka shot Markeis McGlockton, who was unarmed, while he was backing away after a physical dispute arose with regard to parking in a handicapped parking space. Drejka reportedly had a history of confronting people who parked in the handicap spot of that parking lot, and was found guilty of manslaughter in August in connection with the incident. The judge also ordered Drejka to pay $5,000 in restitution to McGlockton’s partner.
Murky History Of A Controversial Law
Drejka was initially not arrested by the county sheriff, who claimed that he had legally and rightfully exercise to stand his ground right by acting in self-defense. In response, a number of parties, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), came out arguing that Drejka actually did not reasonably act in self-defense, and had therefore not abided by state law requirements.
Florida stand your ground law has been criticized before; most notoriously with the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case, whereby Zimmerman killed unarmed teenager Martin, alleging that he feared for his life in doing so. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder. A number of individuals have pointed out that the application of the law arguably allows for aggressors to pick fights and use deadly force if they begin to lose. In addition, according to one study, there are some serious (and concerning) racial discrepancies that affect whether the defense is successful, with black defendants being convicted nearly 100 percent of the time when they claim a ‘stand your ground’ defense after shooting a white person here in Florida, and white defendants being acquitted at least 10 percent of the time when they use that same defense. Whether it is these racial realities – or cases like Trayvon Martin’s, where the shooter’s actions were upheld even when the victim was unarmed – there is no question that there is significant confusion in terms of what is and is not allowable under Florida’s law, leading to a number of innocent people killed and criminal trials on the application of the law. Still, those who had concerns after the Martin case have indicated that the conviction and sentencing against Drejka is a significant victory against abuse of this controversial self-defense law.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys to Find Out More
If you have lost a loved one here in Florida due to someone’s unreasonable, violent conduct, we can help. The Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Baez Law Firm are not only experienced in criminal defense law, but have also brought a number of wrongful death cases throughout Florida. Contact us today to find out more.