The Florida Supreme Court won’t take up the case of an Opa-locka man who claimed self-defense in shooting and killing two unarmed men during a fight outside a Northwest Miami-Dade restaurant.
Prosecutors had asked the high court to review a local appeals court decision to grant immunity to Gabriel Mobley under Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law.
But this week, high-court justices without explanation issued an order refusing to accept the case, which means Mobley is free and clear of murder charges.
The decision means Mobley’s case will set legal precedent in Florida. Legal experts have long seen the case as a key test of the controversial law, which eliminated a citizen’s “duty to retreat” before using lethal force in the face of a deadly threat or great bodily harm.
Critics say the 2005 Florida law, and similar ones across the country, promote a shoot-first vigilante culture that allows criminals a pass on justice.
More vexing for prosecutors, the law also gave judges greater leeway to throw out criminal charges — before a jury trial — if they deem someone acted in self-defense.
In Mobley’s case, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Thomas Rebull refused to grant immunity to Mobley. But the Third District Court of Appeals in January reversed the judge, saying Mobley acted reasonably that night in using deadly force against two aggressors.
“Mobley did not shoot two innocent bystanders who just happened upon him on a sidewalk,” the court said in a 2-1 opinion.
I won’t say that this closes down the book on SYG/ Immunity from Prosecution challenges in Florida, but it does make it more difficult. As usual, the media is making a hash about what happened that night and I am sure there is plenty of absence of malice in dong so.
If you want to read the details of the case, click here for the appeal to the Third District court. As usual we want to read the original documentation and not what some journo thinks you should know or rather not kn ow about the case.
In this document, I found a passage that left me surprised as hell and proves what Andrew Branca says about some lawyers and judges not knowing Stand Your Ground and Immunity from prosecution and the same principle applies to other parts of the Florida Statutes
Here, the court below determined that Mobley did not “reasonably” believe that deadly force was “necessary” to prevent “imminent” death, great bodily harm, or commission of a forcible felony. In doing so, the court discounted the totality of the circumstances facing Mobley and concluded that the use of deadly force was not reasonable, first, because Mobley “never saw a weapon and did not know anything about the possibility of a weapon,” with him only seeing “the second attacker appear to be reaching for something under his shirt,” and second, because Mobley should have brandished his gun, fired a warning shot or told the attackers to stop because he had a gun.
Now, this happened in 2008 and the badly called “Warning Shot” law just came online 10 days ago. This reads like the judge is actually saying that at that time, a warning shot was not only legal but obligatory? If somebody were to read this section and then give a warning shot (prior to July 2014) can he successfully refer to that court’s decision in case he was charged with Assault w/ Deadly Weapon, etc?
We got us a good law if nothing else to get this kind of judicial tumblings in check.