One of the biggest takeaways from George Zimmerman’s trial – besides systemic racism – was that the usage of “stand your ground” laws is deeply flawed. That became even more apparent this past week when a Black man in Georgia wasn’t allowed to use the defense in his murder trial.
Clayton County, Georgia Judge Albert Collier denied Jessie Murray’s use of the defense because Murray claimed his gun went off by accident during his struggle with one of four men at a bar.
Rolling Out reports that Murray was attempting to defend himself and his ex-wife from a group of drunken men, one of which is a former police officer. In this instance, it’s implied that the judge feels that Murray should’ve waited until he knew for a fact that his life was in danger before he chose to use deadly force.
Officially, Collier said, “nor does it appear to this court that the other men in the vicinity were acting in such a way that would cause the defendant to reasonably believe that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or a third party … The court cannot reconcile the defendants asking for immunity under a self-defense statute, by stating that the use of deadly force was justified, and then also stating that the use of deadly force was unintentional.”
The choice to not use “stand your ground” may have been an attempt to prevent its overuse in the future. But, if that’s the case, it should be removed completely instead of casually used in certain cases over others. By definition, Murray was standing his ground that night.
“We respectfully disagree with all of the law cited and most of the facts stated in the Judge’s order,” said attorney Mawuli Mel Davis. “If being physically assaulted by 3 men is not a grounds for a person to defend themselves by any means necessary, I am unclear what is. It is our hope our Motion for Reconsideration will be heard.”