The Case of Michael Giles.

Facebook buddy Jonathan B. contacted me with this case. There is an online petition to commute his 25 year sentence for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that carries a mandatory 25 year sentence in the State of Florida. We will not discuss here the wisdom of mandatory sentences but what he apparently did right after the shooting when the police arrived. Warning: There is very little in the way of information online so everything said here predicates we are getting a somewhat accurate description.

According to Opposing Views:

On Feb. 6, 2010, Michael Giles, then on active duty with the Air Force, fired one shot from his legal handgun during a brawl that involved between 20 and 40 people. One man, whom the petition describes as “Michael’s attacker” was struck in the leg but not seriously hurt.

The attacker had reportedly been in several altercations earlier that night, was angry and acting erratically. Giles was initially not involved in the mayhem and had been separated from two friends, the only people he knew at the scene.

When the attacker came at him, he fired what was described as a warning shot.

And that is the crux in this case. The moment you lay your hand on your sidearm, you have escalated the situation. As from what I have seen in other cases, Florida is very strict on warning shots and they are seen as evidence of you not really being in fear for your life or fear of grave bodily harm. And if you actually shoot and injure somebody, you will probably be prosecuted for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and sentenced under Florida Statute 775.087 (3):

3. Any person who is convicted of a felony or an attempt to commit a felony listed in sub-subparagraphs (a)1.a.-q., regardless of whether the use of a weapon is an element of the felony, and during the course of the commission of the felony such person discharged a “firearm” or “destructive device” as defined in s. 790.001 and, as the result of the discharge, death or great bodily harm was inflicted upon any person, the convicted person shall be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 25 years and not more than a term of imprisonment of life in prison.

Again, I am going on this with very little on the way of information and focusing on the keywords warning shot. It could be more out there, but simply there is no information available.

What should we take from this case? Marty Hayes in his booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law makes it clear:

And finally, it is your responsibility (as Gun Owner) to understand the laws regarding use of deadly force in self defense and to be aware of what happens within the legal system when a citizen uses deadly force in self defense.

Download the booklet in the conveniently given link above. Also, do yourself a favor and buy Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen, 2nd Edition, a great book on the basics and nuances of Self-Defense laws and please, please, go online and print the laws of your local state regarding self-defense and weapons. If there is a book that also covers your state specifically, buy it such as Florida Firearms Law, Use & Ownership 7th Ed. by Jon H. Gutmacher.

I will say this: Your training for Self-Defense situations has to be not only trigger pulling but also book reading. If you don’t, you will find yourself behind bars and that is not a pleasant experience.

15 thoughts on “The Case of Michael Giles.”

  1. When the concept of home-defense comes up, my Liberal roommate will inevitably start talking about “warning shots.”

    I’ll have to start reminding him that “warning shots” are illegal, and what makes them so.

    If you are not justified in taking a life, you are not justified in drawing a gun. If you must shoot, shoot to kill.

    1. Never use the words “shoot to kill”. You shoot to stop the threat. Unfortunately, death is a by-product of stopping the threat. If something happens and you have to use deadly force, your words to your roomies could come back to haunt you. After all, you were wanting to kill someone because your roomies told the cops you stated that you shoot to kill. Welcome to the life that Zimmerman is leading. Sky high legal bills. You are correct in the warning shot thing. I always teach to never fire a warning shot. That’s a jail sentence looking for a place to happen.

      1. Shooting someone in the heart while he’s straddling you, bashing your head against the concrete, and punching you in the face while shouting “YOU GONNA DIE TONIGHT” is legitimate self-defense, you racist sycophant.

        1. Believing fantasy scenarios with lines stripped from old Charles Bronson films is not very smart. Zimmermans injuries were incredibly minor and not even close to indicative of the mauling he claimed to receive. It was a minor struggle in the grass at worst.

          1. “Zimmermans injuries were incredibly minor”
            So what should be the legal limits on receiving injuries before defending oneself? Would you be willing to accept..I don’t know … three cuts before invoking self-defense? perhaps one bullet wound? Or maybe two smacks with a baseball bat.

            “It was a minor struggle in the grass at worst.”
            Another one who decided to forego what the evidence indicates and instead go for the Narrative that makes people feel better rather than accept they were wrong. Not even the prosecution dared to say the struggle did not happen in any other way than the concrete walkway. And while we are at it, how many smacks against the concrete are you willing to take on your head before defending yourself.

  2. No one should display their weapon unless they fear for their life or for serious injury, no warning shots. You can however fear for your life, fire and Miss, you know CSGV will back you since you did not have the proper training with a firearm to hit anything.

  3. Miguel, so now that this whole zimmerman case is over, he wants to fight celebrities, because “boxing is a hobby of mine” but could not defend himself against a 17 year old skinny kid who looked like he weighed a 150 lbs soaking wet, compared to George Zimmerman’s weight. I find it hard to believe that George could not fend this kid off, or shoot him somewhere where it would not kill him, say in the shoulder? Pistol whip the kid or something. What pisses me off about the whole Trayvon martin case is that George Zimmerman put himself in this situation by racially profiling a young black man walking down the street with his hood up. After being told by the 911 dispatcher to NOT PURSUE the kid and he did anyways. Nobody really knows what happened that day, but we can all speculate what happened and to me it just does not add up.

    1. I find it hard to believe that George could not fend this kid off, or shoot him somewhere where it would not kill him, say in the shoulder? Pistol whip the kid or something.

      Did you even read the post? Maybe you did but did not comprehend. In the State of Florida (and many other states) the moment you place your hand on your gun during a confrontation, you have reached the threshold of Use of Deadly Weapon. Now you are caught in a legal trap: You shoot or you go to Prison. Now, 9 out of 10 prosecutors will be glad is nobody gets killed and the incident de-escalated that they will not even think about pressing charges on the person that drew the weapon. But then you have the 10th asshole that for whatever reason decides “Hey, I am gonna make this guy wear orange rompers for 20 years and score me some points!”
      So A law that was designed to put in prison violent offenders is used to ruin the life of somebody that was just defending him/herself because some arsehole with a Juris Doctor attached to his name and drawing monies from the public coffers decides to do so.
      In Tallahassee right now there are two bills: One will include the language “threat of deadly force” to the use of deadly force statutes and will make legal being able to draw your weapon and not shoot the individual if he quits his attack. The other bill, favored by the idiots, politicians and Gun Control Activists, allegedly rolls back Stand Your Ground…but it actually forces Duty to Retreat to everybody, everywhere even inside your home or vehicle.

      It is up to you what law will you support, but make sure you know what you are doing because it may affect you in the future. One reminder…. if you are in a confrontation, you don’t get to decide if you retreated enough. That is made by the cops that were not there when the crap happened and the District attorney who will read the report of the cops and draw his own conclusions. Maybe you will get one of those 9 DAs that are cool…then again you may get the arsehole that will send you to Raiford. That is if you live in Florida…
      some

  4. The description is not the “crux of the case” as the author states. This case is not as simple as it appears. The young man left the party when the fight started, retrieved his gun and went back into the fight to “find his friends.” Not a wise choice. He is offered no protection either by self defense and most certainly not by stand your ground. You cannot leave a dangerous situation and re-introduce youself, claiming self defense.

  5. “Stand Your Ground Hopeless Defense for Blacks like Michael Giles,” a must hear podcast. Listen as the parents of Michael Giles tell what happened that night, and how poorly Michael’s defense attorney handled his case in court. He was literally throw to the wolves and his defense attorney left before closing arguments, and left Michael’s life in the hands of a junior lawyer from his firm…smh.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centerstage/2014/02/22/stand-your-ground-hopeless-defense-for-blacks-like-michael-giles

    1. He feared that the angry mob would turn on him and he would be killed or seriously injured. He fired a warning shot to get away from his attackers, and is now serving a 25 year sentence in Florida.

      If I read right, he was convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. According to Gile’s own statement, he was not in fear for his life or the life of anybody else when he took the shot. I know, the application of the law in his case is asinine but that is why HB89 is on the Legislature right now after being decided Favorable by 2 subcommittees. Eliminating Stand Your Ground not only will do anything to solve the problem but it would pretty much hobble self-defense across the state as the bill in Tallahassee supported by too many idiots would make Duty to Retreat…even inside your home the standard for Self -Defense. Do remember that it is not the aggrieved party who makes the determination if he/she retreated , did it enough and or safely but the District Attorney who was not present.

      And another thing, stop playing the Race card, Giles is not the only one serving time for giving a warning shot, Ronald Joseph Thompson is also fighting for his freedom because he did a warning shot to a group of punks. Nobody was hurt, but still he got charged, went to trial and lost.

      You wanna stop this crap? call your state representative and make sure he votes in favor of HB 89.

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .