Kansas Court Of Appeals To Rule On “Stand Your Ground” Self Defense
The Kansas Court of Appeals recently heard arguments from state prosecutors on why murder charges should be reinstated against a man they say committed a premeditated attack. A Finney County district judge had already granted the defendant’s immunity from prosecution after he determined the suspect acted in self-defense and that prosecutors could not sufficiently demonstrate the crime was premeditated.
The case began in December 2014 when Garden City Police arrived to find one man dead from gunshot wounds in the Dillons East parking lot on E. Kansas St. According to reports, the shooting took place after a verbal altercation between two men erupted into violence.
The victim allegedly tried to force his way into the shooter’s vehicle where the shooter and his girlfriend had taken refuge. Shots rang out after the defendant exited the vehicle, pointed his pistol at the victim, and then issued a countdown to cease his assault.
Prosecutors claim the countdown was evidence of a premeditated act because the defendant had time to contemplate and justify his attack. On the other hand, defense attorneys for the defendant argued the countdown was a warning to the victim and he had reason to fear the victim would cause him and his girlfriend bodily harm.
Kansas stand our ground laws
Kansas is one of 10 states with so-called “stand your ground laws” that do not require persons under attack to flee the scene; instead, the law allows them to stay and use reasonable force to subdue their attacker. Some states’ stand your ground laws require individuals to make an attempt to flee if they can do so, but Kansas amended its law in 2006 to remove any such language.
While rarely used, the key to the statute is the reasonableness with which individuals respond to their attacker’s actions. The law does not give individuals the right to overreact in otherwise benign confrontations and does not excuse premeditated acts like starting a fight.
Reach out to our Olathe criminal defense attorneys for help
Often times, prosecutors will employ their own interpretation of stand your ground laws in order to secure a conviction, regardless of who might actually be at fault. For that reason, it is important that defendants secure experienced legal counsel to help them clear their good names, even in clear-cut cases of self-defense.
We are here to help
If you were charged with a violent crime, contact our office and speak to one of our experienced Olathe criminal defense attorneys. Call us today (913) 780-6666.