National "Stand Your Ground" debate hits home

Does the law give people a license to kill and legalize in-home murder?

Morrison County Sheriff Wetzel, who was part of the team that arrested Smith at his house the day after Thanksgiving, agrees that Cornish's bill would have proved problematic.

"How would you ever again convict someone of homicide in their own home?" asks Wetzel. "One could just say, 'I was afraid and I feared for my life.' But there needs to be an objective standard. Was it reasonable for you to be afraid?"

Law enforcement around the state took a strong stand against the shoot-first bill. The Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police, the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, and the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association all lobbied lawmakers and Governor Dayton to shoot down Stand Your Ground.

Byron Smith killed two teenagers who attempted to rob his Little Falls home on Thanksgiving Day
courtesy of the Morrison County Sheriff's Office
Byron Smith killed two teenagers who attempted to rob his Little Falls home on Thanksgiving Day
Elliot Fineman (top) of the National Gun Victims Action Council says that Stand Your Ground "enables paranoid crazies." Former assistant St. Paul city attorney Tom Weyandt opposed a Minnesota Stand Your Ground law introduced last year.
courtesy of Tom Weyandt
Elliot Fineman (top) of the National Gun Victims Action Council says that Stand Your Ground "enables paranoid crazies." Former assistant St. Paul city attorney Tom Weyandt opposed a Minnesota Stand Your Ground law introduced last year.

"Our concern was that, had that legislation been signed into law, it would have made a Byron Smith-type situation more difficult to prosecute," says John Kingrey, executive director of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. "Most people would agree that you have the right to use force with force, but once an intruder is incapacitated, your duty to continue using force ceases." 

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
All
 
 
Loading...