Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Another clear case of self-defense?

From the Associated Press, via the Times, "Wisconsin: Trial Begins for White Man in Killing of a Black Teenager" (my emphasis):

Fourteen jurors have been selected to hear the case of a 76-year-old white Milwaukee man charged with first-degree homicide in the killing of an unarmed 13-year-old black boy last year. The man, John Henry Spooner (above), is accused of killing a neighbor, Darius Simmons, on a sidewalk near their homes. Prosecutors say Mr. Spooner accused the teenager of breaking into his home and stealing guns. When he denied the thefts, Mr. Spooner shot him in the chest from five feet away, then shot him again as he tried to run. Mr. Spooner’s lawyer says he will argue that his client did not intend to kill. The jury pool contained four black people, but the defense removed three of them. The prosecutor, Mark Williams, told the judge he wants to take up the issue on Tuesday.

I wonder if Mr. Spooner feared "great bodily harm or death" when he pulled out his gun. Or will he invoke the Wisconsin version of Stand Your Ground:

In general, a person who uses force in self-defense or in the defense of another person may not be convicted of a crime stemming from that use of force. This law applies only when: 1) the amount of force used is reasonable; and 2) the person uses that force to prevent or stop what he or she reasonably believes is an unlawful interference with himself or herself or another person, such as the crime of battery. Current law specifies that a person may use force that is intended or likely to cause the death of or great bodily harm to another individual only if the person reasonably believes that using such force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another person.

Could you really say for sure, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Spooner didn't fear for his safety?

Who knows what that old codger was thinking?

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