The so-called Stand Your Ground law has been adopted in South Carolina and 19 other states in the country. Basically, the Stand Your Ground law authorizes individuals to use deadly force in cases of self-defense, giving them immunity from prosecution.
Though the Stand Your Ground law has come under scrutiny, (the law was used to protect a man who killed an innocent bystander while pointing his gun at several female teens he called “thugs”), up until now, it seemed pretty straight forward: If you feel like you’re being threatened, you can defend yourself.
However, prosecutors in South Carolina say that the Stand Your Ground protection shouldn’t extend into the home in cases of domestic violence, according to Slate Magazine.
Case in point: Whitlee Jones, a woman whose screams for help were heard by the entire neighborhood as her boyfriend, Eric Lee, dragged her down the street by her hair in 2012. When an officer arrived at their residence after a concerned bystander saw the incident, the argument was already over and Jones had left. While Jones was out, she decided to leave her boyfriend, so she returned to the house to get her things. She brought a knife with her to protect herself. When she exited the house after getting her possessions, Lee attacked her, and she fought back, killing him in the process with the knife.
On October 3, a judge granted Jones Stand Your Ground immunity, meaning that she was exempt from trial on the charge. However, now prosecutor Culver Kidd is arguing that the Stand Your Ground defense does not apply to violence which occurs in a person’s own home.
The judge who granted Jones Stand Your Ground immunity disagrees with Prosecutor Kidd. Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson said Kidd’s interpretation of the law would create the “nonsensical result” that a victim of domestic abuse could defend against an attacker outside of the home, but not inside the home – where the most vicious domestic violence is likely to occur.
But Kidd can’t seem to understand that reasoning. The top prosecutor in Charleston, Scarlett Wilson, also agrees with Kidd, and they do have an odd, roundabout legal leg to stand on.
South Carolina is a state that has not one, but two self-defense laws.
The first one is called the Castle Doctrine. That law authorizes residents to use deadly force on intruders into their home.
The second one is Stand Your Ground. Its language dictates that a person is authorized to use deadly force if an attacker isn’t “where he has a right to be.”
The prosecutors say that neither law allows one resident of a home to harm another resident. Under the Castle Doctrine, the domestic abuser is not an intruder. Under Stand Your Ground, the domestic abuser, as a resident, is technically “where he has a right to be.”
Judge Nicholson says that’s insane. Under those interpretations, domestic abusers are exempt from both the Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground defense platforms, effectively making a domestic abuse victim even more powerless than they already are.
In a current study by MSNBC, only 2.6 percent of white women who killed white men were found to be justified under Stand Your Ground. Whereas 13.5 percent of white women who killed black men, and 5.7 percent of black women who killed black men, were found to be justified.
[Image via The Daily Record]