A 33-year-old North Carolina man won a victory in the state’s appellate court over his 2017 conviction for murder. The court has ordered a new trial in the case.
According to the court, the jurors in the original case were not given proper notice of the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law. The defendant in this case admitted that he shot the victim in the murder trial but claimed that he did so because he was merely defending himself. Testimony in the trial showed that there was an altercation between the men before the defendant fired his gun during the 2015 incident.
Prior to 2011, residents of North Carolina were generally required to retreat in the face of danger whenever possible, unless defending themselves from an intruder in their own homes. In 2011, however, legislation was passed that gave citizens of the state the broader right to use deadly force when in their own homes, cars or places of business to prevent imminent harm to themselves or others.
The new law is under fire from some politicians who would prefer to scale back its breadth in order to prevent deadly incidents that could otherwise be avoided. A measure was introduced in 2017 that would upend the current law, but it has not yet been successful.
If you are involved in an incident where you feel compelled to use force — deadly or otherwise — to defend yourself, it’s important to remember that there are often nuances to the law that laypeople don’t necessarily understand. It’s always in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent when dealing with the police until after you have a chance to discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.