Three Questions About 'Stand Your Ground' Laws
William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-415
23 Pages Posted: 21 May 2020
Date Written: 2020
In August 2019, Michael Drejka was convicted of manslaughter after a Florida jury rejected his argument that he killed the victim, Markeis McGlockton, in self-defense. In the national media, the case was widely billed as a test of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statutes. That description is (at least) extremely misleading. The controversy over Drejka’s self-defense claim once again draws attention to widespread confusion about what Stand Your Ground statutes mean and how they impact longstanding legal rules governing self-defense. It is important to resolve this confusion. Stand Your Ground laws, and the issues they generate, do raise serious questions about what constitutes justice in cases that give rise to claims of self-defense. In order to resolve those questions, we need (1) to understand what self-defense doctrine actually says and how it was designed to work, and (2) to specify the ways in which Stand Your Ground provisions do, and do not, affect that doctrine. In this essay I attempt to resolve three main sources of confusion over Stand Your Ground.
Keywords: Criminal Law, Self Defense, Stand Your Ground, Michael Drejka
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