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Wrongful Death Argued For In Florida “Stand Your Ground” Criminal Defense Case


Many are now calling the incident that occurred in July in a Florida “Circle A” convenience store parking lot more a case of a wrongful death than a viable use of the Florida “Stand Your Ground” criminal defense. Of late, this even includes the National Rifle Association (NRA) and GOP lawmakers, who rejected the local sheriff’s claim that the legislation prevented him from making an arrest in the high profile shooting.

In July, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chose not to arrest and charge Michael Drejka after he shot and killed Markeis McGlockton earlier in July during a dispute over a parking space. The sheriff claimed that Drejka had appropriately relied on Florida’s stand your ground law in defending himself after McGlockton pushed him to the ground. The incident reportedly started when Drejka pulled up alongside McGlockton’s car and started arguing with his girlfriend over the handicapped parking space.

Florida Law

Many have now disagreed with the sheriff’s assessment that this was the rightful use of the stand your ground defense, pointing out that not only is Florida’s stand your ground law geared towards the protection of one’s residence, but in order to use lethal force, it requires a reasonable belief that the individual defending themselves or someone else had to use lethal force in order to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. Witnesses have reported that McGlockton was in the act of retreating and backing away when Drejka fired, indicating that there is a lack of reasonable belief that deadly force was required in order to prevent Drejka from being harmed. In other words, it is not enough for the shooter to simply be afraid; they must have relied on the reasonable-person standard, which is an objective, not subjective, standard.

Civil Liability & Probable Cause

Even those who lobby for the NRA and who were pivotal in drafting and getting the state law passed have now disagreed with the sheriff, pointing out that; in fact, a determination must first be made by law enforcement as to whether the use of lethal force was justified or “reasonable” in the circumstances in each individual case. In addition, in response to the sheriff’s claim that his own office could be held civilly liable if he arrested Drejka, nothing in the law indicates that someone can sue the sheriff for making an arrest where there is probable cause.

Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys

If you have lost a family member or loved one due to someone else’s intentional act, we can help you obtain justice. The Baez Law Firm has brought a number of wrongful death cases throughout Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and surrounding areas of Florida, helping families to obtain the compensation they need so that they can start to move on. Contact us today to find out how we can help.


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