I think I can pretty much give up trying to separate Immunity from Prosecution & Stand Your Ground, so I will just mash the names together and apply the differences as needed. Let’s get with this case:
The fight that ended Rankin’s life happened August 17, 2013, when he a group of friends were out in Ybor City.
A run-in with another group of guys led to Amore getting punched and knocked out cold.
Less than 10 minutes later, Amore was attacked again. His attorney says while he was being badly beaten, he grabbed a pocket knife to defend himself.
One of the attackers, Joshua Rankin, would die after being stabbed three times.
This case slipped from under my radar when it first came out. I did a search for it and got a couple of news items and the obligatory interview with the parents of the deceased. In fact, from this interview we get the “original” version of what happened:
So early Saturday morning, when Rankin, 21, saw a buddy get attacked in an Ybor City parking lot, it was natural for him to come to his friend’s defense….
…Later, at about 2:45 a.m., they confronted Medeiros and Rankin near E Fifth Avenue and N 15th Street, according to police. One of the men, Joseph Amore, pulled a knife. Rankin stepped between his friend and the blade.
A noble, self-sacrificing young man who died helping his friend from an unnecessary attack. Or at least that was the initial idea put forth by the media as the evidence presented in court turned out to portray a completely different event.
In fact, there were two confrontations between two groups of young people out for the night. The first time they intersect, somebody said something to somebody else and ego made its presence. Joseph Amore ends up knocked out on the ground. This is not a literary usage of the word, Amore went unconscious. The groups split.
For whatever reason, Rankin decided to go back after Amore’s group. This time Amore is attacked by more than one person, thrown against a car, beat up and here is when he pulls out a knife to defend himself. Rankin gets stabbed twice in the neck and another one on his group gets non-threatening injuries.
So, why did this case even had to go court and the defendant request an Immunity from Prosecution?
Now, I am not a genius legal expert (or even a bad one), but once the initial confrontation ended with the knocking down of Amore. the clock died for that particular event. Amore was no longer a threat, nor was looking for more trouble, both groups separated, in fact you could say that Amore was the victim as no amount of verbiage is excusable as to inflict bodily harm.
Rankin’s group going back to Amore’s group started a new event, one in which their actions triggered Self-Defense, specially since a disparity of force was well-defined against Amore: He was not physically well and more than one attacker went after him.
So Justice was made even when some appeared to be on a witch hunt or just simply flexing legal muscle. It is certain that Mr. Amore had to spend money for the lawyer and other costs, but the bill is probably way smaller than if the case had gone straight to full trial. It also saved the taxpayers money wasted on a trial that did not need to happen, although I am not sure if the defendant can claim the State to refund him for legal costs. Still, cheaper than a full trial.
I think it was either Massad Ayoob or Marty Hayes that I heard the idea of maybe why some obvious cases of self-defense go to court and why many defense attorneys do bad work on those cases: They are used to deal with career criminals and so, they are good at defending the guilty person, but they suck at defending the innocent because they lack the experience. In this case, we had a lawyer who apparently knew what he was doing and a law that helped an innocent man remain free.
There are more details pertinent to the case and I urge you to read the judge’s motion to grant immunity. If you feel like it, Google the case and see what was published initially (specially by “We Hate Stand Your Ground” Tampa Bay Times) and compare it with the facts of the case.
And again, if your state does not have Immunity From Prosecution, get moving, join whatever group needs to be joined (Or create it if it does not exist) and get it in the books.