Lesson Plan on Self Defense, Castle Doctrine and “Stand by lefttoleave


									                                                                                 Nick Lewis
                                                                             October 7, 2007
                                                                          CEPS – Street Law
                                                                     Professor Throckmorton

      Lesson Plan on Self Defense, Castle Doctrine and
             “Stand Your Ground” Legislation
This lesson has three major parts.
 A quick lecture, and discussion questions designed to provoke intelligent thought and
   debate over self defense legislation.
 A newspaper article, to get the students to think about Florida self defense law,
   specifically, the stand your ground legislation.
 A interactive session in which the students will get to present skits to the class.

Lesson Schedule:

1. Write the quote of the day on the board. Discuss the quote of the day with the students.

2. Discuss self defense with the class. I found it helpful to give a short lecture on the
topic. The points I used in my lecture are included in the teaching supplement.

3. After the lecture is given, ask the students the discussion questions that follow.

4. After the discussion questions, read the newspaper article that is included in this lesson
plan. Go around the room and have the students read the article out loud, alternating
readers ever paragraph.

5. Discuss the newspaper article, some discussion questions are included in the lesson

6. Have the groups of students break off into 7 groups. These groups will develop skits
based on a certain fact pattern and will present the skit to the entire class.

7. Make the students discuss the skit that was performed. Ask the students if self defense
is authorized in that situation. Also ask if the analysis changes outside of Florida.

                                                                                Nick Lewis
                                                                            October 7, 2007
                                                                         CEPS – Street Law
                                                                    Professor Throckmorton

                                    Beginning exercise:

       Before beginning your lecture on self defense, write this quote on the board. If
you think time permits you may ask the students what they think of it, otherwise just tell
them to keep it in their minds while doing the related class exercises. You may always
come back to it at the end of class.

    “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion... in private self-

                                         John Adams


        The lecture you give the students should cover the basics of self defense. The
statutory language of self defense can be confusing. A handout with the applicable
statutory provisions will, therefore, not be given to the students. The information should
be summarized and conveyed to the student in the easiest manner possible. Pursuant to
this goal, I surmise that the lecture should be broken down into three main points.

   What is self defense and what is the underlying policy reason for its existance.
   When you can and can not use force / lethal force
   Exceptions and extension of self defense doctrine, including Florida’s twists.

    Within each of these main points exist various sub points. Be sure to mention the
various doctrines associated with self defense - Castle doctrine, Duty to run, Stand your
ground - and alert the class that Florida is in the minority of states concerning its self
defense policies. Also make sure that you address what would happen if the students got
into a fight at school.

                                                                            Nick Lewis
                                                                        October 7, 2007
                                                                     CEPS – Street Law
                                                                Professor Throckmorton

                                 Discussion Questions:

   What do you think self defense should apply to?
       Should the state ever authorize lethal force for self defense?

   Do you think more states should have statutes like Florida?
        Can you think of any situation in which subjective statutes like Florida’s
          might cause problems?
               Should self defense rely on objective or subjective criteria?
        Should states go even farther than Florida in legislating self defense?
               Less than Florida?

   Do you agree with self defense laws as they relate to defense of property?
        Should you be authorized to use greater amounts of force, than is currently
        Should you be authorized to use less force?

                                                                               Nick Lewis
                                                                           October 7, 2007
                                                                        CEPS – Street Law
                                                                   Professor Throckmorton

                                        Newspaper Article:

                                    Self-defense laws under fire
                      U.S. states expand right to use deadly force
By Adam Liptak
Published: MONDAY, AUGUST 7, 2006

In the past year, 15 U.S. states have enacted laws that expand the right of self-defense,
allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations that might formerly have
subjected them to prosecution for murder.

Supporters call them "stand your ground" laws. Opponents call them "shoot first" laws.

Thanks to this sort of law, a prostitute in Port Richey, Florida, who killed her 72-year-old
client with his own gun rather than flee was not charged last month. Similarly, the police
in Clearwater, Florida, did not arrest a man who shot a neighbor in early June after a
shouting match over putting out garbage, though the authorities said they were still
reviewing the evidence.

The first of the new laws took effect in Florida in October, and cases involving it are now
reaching prosecutors and juries there. The other laws, mostly in Southern and Midwestern
states, were enacted this year, according to the National Rifle Association, which has
promoted them enthusiastically.

Florida does not keep comprehensive records on the effects of its new law, but
prosecutors and defense lawyers there agree that fewer people who claim self-defense are
being charged or convicted.

The Florida law, which served as a model for the others, gives people the right to use
deadly force against intruders entering their homes. They no longer need to prove that
they feared for their safety, only that the person they killed intruded unlawfully and
forcefully. The law also extends the principle to vehicles.

In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement that a person attacked in a
public place must retreat if possible. Now that same person, in the law's words, "has no
duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force,
including deadly force." The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the
people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.

This month, a jury in West Palm Beach, Florida, will hear the retrial of a murder case that
illustrates the dividing line between the old law and the new one. In November 2004,
before the new law was enacted, a cabdriver in West Palm Beach killed a drunken
passenger in an altercation after dropping the passenger off.

                                                                                Nick Lewis
                                                                            October 7, 2007
                                                                         CEPS – Street Law
                                                                    Professor Throckmorton

The first jury deadlocked 9 to 3 in favor of convicting the driver, Robert Lee Smiley Jr.,
said Henry Munnilal, the jury foreman.

"Mr. Smiley had a lot of chances to retreat and to avoid an escalation," said Munnilal, a
62-year-old accountant. "He could have just gotten in his cab and left. The thing could
have been avoided, and a man's life would have been saved."

Smiley tried to invoke the new law, which does away with the duty to retreat and would
almost certainly have meant his acquittal, but an appeals court refused to apply it
retroactively. He has appealed that issue to the Florida Supreme Court.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said the
Florida law sent a needed message to law-abiding citizens.

"If they make a decision to save their lives in the split-second they are being attacked, the
law is on their side," LaPierre said. "Good people make good decisions. That's why
they're good people. If you're going to empower someone, empower the crime victim."

The organization said it would lobby for versions of the law in eight more states in 2007.

Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said her
group would fight those efforts. "In a way," Brady said of the new laws, "it's a license to

Many prosecutors oppose the laws, saying they are unnecessary at best and pernicious at
worst. "They're basically giving citizens more rights to use deadly force than we give
police officers, and with less review," said Paul Logli, president of the National District
Attorneys Association.

But some legal experts doubt the laws will make a practical difference.

Even before the new laws, claims of self-defense were often accepted, said Gary Kleck,
who teaches criminology at Florida State University.

"In the South," he said, "they more or less give the benefit of the doubt to the alleged
victim's account."

The case involving the Port Richey prostitute, Jacqueline Galas, turned on the new law,
said Michael Halkitis, division director of the state attorney's office in nearby New Port
Richey. Galas, 23, said that a longtime client, Frank Labiento, threatened to kill her and
then kill himself last month. A suicide note he had left and other evidence supported her

                                                                              Nick Lewis
                                                                          October 7, 2007
                                                                       CEPS – Street Law
                                                                  Professor Throckmorton

The law came into play when Galas grabbed Labiento's gun and chose not to flee but to
kill him. "Before that law," Halkitis said, "before you could use deadly force, you had to
retreat. Under the new law, you don't have to do that."

The decision not to charge Galas was straightforward, Halkitis said. "It would have been
a more difficult situation with the old law," he said, "much more difficult," he said.

Jason Rosenbloom, the man shot by his neighbor in Clearwater, Florida, said his case
illustrated the flaws in the Florida law. "Had it been a year and a half ago," Rosenbloom
said of his neighbor, Kenneth Allen, "he could have been arrested for attempted murder."

"I was in T-shirt and shorts," Rosenbloom said, recalling the day he knocked on Allen's
door. Allen, a retired Virginia police officer, had lodged a complaint with the local
authorities, taking Rosenbloom to task for putting out eight bags of garbage, though local
ordinances allow only six.

"I was no threat," Rosenbloom said. "I had no weapon."

The two men exchanged heated words. "He closed the door and then opened the door,"
Rosenbloom said of Allen. "He had a gun. I turned around to put my hands up. He didn't
even say a word, and he fired once into my stomach. I bent over, and he shot me in the

Allen, whose phone number is out of service and who could not be reached for comment,
told The St. Petersburg Times that Rosenbloom had had his foot in the door and had tried
to rush into the house, an assertion Rosenbloom denied.

"I have a right," Allen said, "to keep my house safe."

                                  Discussion Questions:

   Has you opinion of self defense changed?

   Do you think Mr. Allen was justified in shooting Mr. Rosenbloom?

   Do you think that Florida’s ―stand your ground‖ doctrine will lead to widespread
    shootings? Or do you think that people who oppose this doctrine are worrying for no

                                                                                Nick Lewis
                                                                            October 7, 2007
                                                                         CEPS – Street Law
                                                                    Professor Throckmorton

                          Skit Information and Hypotheticals:

        These are the hypo’s that you will give each of the 7 groups. You may use props
to help make the exercise fun, but remember it’s a school so be discerning when you are
deciding what to bring in. The students will also be given 3 mystery words that they will
have to incorporate into their skit. Give the students 10 minutes to brainstorm before
          After time has elapsed, have each group of students present their skit in front of
the class. After a group is done with their skit, have the class discuss if self defense
would be authorized. Then ask if it would be authorized in Florida.

1. Mystery words: Hedgehog, Street Corner, Mars
      Facts: Friends are going to go see a movie after school, but run into a group of
      thugs. After a brief exchange of words, the thugs attack the friends with a
      baseball bat. A movie patron, who overhears the fight, shoots the thugs in the
      chest with his assault rifle.

2. Mystery words: Duck, Helmet, Fire Station
       Facts: A person’s house is invaded while they are sleeping. The invaders don’t
       appear to be a threat, but are stealing some of the homeowner’s possessions. The
       ruckus awakens the homeowner and he shoots the intruders who are in house.

3. Mystery words: 1985, Tin Can, Library
       Facts: A person driving home is approached by several shady individuals. As they
       approach the car, the driver opens fire. Two are instantly killed and a third is run
       over by the driver as he tries to get away. The shady individuals are carrying
       weapons, but their weapons are not drawn.

4. Mystery words: Steven Spielberg, Clock, South Miami
       Facts: A home is broken into while the home owner is sleeping. The invaders did
       not come to the house to hurt anyone, they are there to steal the home owner’s
       possessions. After waking up to the sound of forced entry, the homeowner decides
       to go downstairs. While descending his stairs, the homeowner startles the
       intruders and they run outside. The home owner grabs a trophy he recently won
       and pursues the intruders into the street. He throws his trophy at one of the
       invaders, knocking him unconscious.

5. Mystery words: Honda Civic, Bookshelf , Spray Paint
       Facts: Some elderly citizens are at a library when they overhear a 25 year old law
       student having a nervous breakdown. In his rage the law student makes an off
       color comment about Perry Mason. The elderly become enraged and challenge the
       law student to a fight. The law student agrees and is thoroughly beaten by one of
       the elderly. He suffers 4 broken ribs and a dislocated jaw.

                                                                                 Nick Lewis
                                                                             October 7, 2007
                                                                          CEPS – Street Law
                                                                     Professor Throckmorton

6. Mystery words: Penguins, Tooth Brush, Worm
       Facts: A group of German immigrants go to a party and encounter some bullies.
       The bullies make fun of the immigrants, but don’t attack or threaten them. The
       immigrants respond to the insults by attacking the bullies with their elite German
       martial arts.

7. Mystery words: Judge, Taxes, Football
       Facts: A group of animal rights activists are attempting to sabotage a tractor
       owned by a family of farmers. The farmers hear a commotion outside and decide
       to investigate. They see the activists around their tractor and fire a few shots in
       their general direction. One of the activists is hit in his head and dies instantly, the
       others are wounded.

                                                                                 Nick Lewis
                                                                             October 7, 2007
                                                                          CEPS – Street Law
                                                                     Professor Throckmorton

                                    Teaching Guide:

                               The 2007 Florida Statutes:

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.--A person is justified in using force, except
deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes
that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's
imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force
and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death
or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent
commission of a forcible felony; or

(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great
bodily harm.—

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or
great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is
intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of
unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling,
residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to
remove another against that person's will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied
vehicle; and

(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful
and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a
lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or
titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a
written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or

(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise
in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the
defensive force is used; or

                                                                                Nick Lewis
                                                                            October 7, 2007
                                                                         CEPS – Street Law
                                                                    Professor Throckmorton

(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using
the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or

(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as
defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle
in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself
in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably
should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any
other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right
to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or
she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm
to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. ->
“stand your ground law”

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling,
residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an
unlawful act involving force or violence.

(5) As used in this section, the term:

(a) "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached
porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or
immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by
people lodging therein at night.

(b) "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or
permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.

(c) "Vehicle" means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is
designed to transport people or property.

776.31 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force,
except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably
believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or
other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or
personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is
a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he
or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly
force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the
imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the
person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

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                                                                              Nick Lewis
                                                                          October 7, 2007
                                                                       CEPS – Street Law
                                                                  Professor Throckmorton

776.08 Forcible felony.--"Forcible felony" means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual
battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping;
aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful
throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony
which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual

                                  Additional Reading:

http://www.useofforce.us/ - good for all around knowledge about self defense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duty_to_retreat - a good resource for duty of retreat



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