Associated Press cites CPRC: What makes a justifiable self-defense?

16 Apr , 2018  

Dr. John Lott was interviewed by the Associated Press about a case that was clearly not protected by the state’s Stand Your Ground law.  No reasonable person would have felt threatened by the criminal once he was lying unconscious on the floor.  Here is part of the Associated Press article:

A former Oklahoma pharmacist is seeking a reduction of the life prison sentence he received for shooting a teenage would-be robber to death nine years ago, but legal experts say actions that many consider vigilantism leave little chance the request will be granted. . . .

Surveillance video used as key evidence in the case shows two men enter the Reliable Discount Pharmacy where Ersland worked. One man points a handgun at Ersland and two women staffers, and Ersland is seen grabbing a handgun from behind a counter and firing it, striking Parker in the head as he tries to put on a ski mask. Parker, who was unarmed, falls to the floor out of view of the camera.

Ersland then chases the armed man out of the store. When he returns, Ersland walks behind a counter with his back to Parker, retrieves a second handgun and returns to Parker, standing over him as he fires five more shots into his torso. The medical examiner ruled that Parker did not die from the initial shot to the head but was killed by the additional gunshot wounds.

But criminal law experts said self-defense has limits, particularly in this case, because Parker was unconscious when Ersland fired again.

John R. Lott Jr., president of the Alexandria, Virginia-based nonprofit Crime Prevention Research Center, said laws like stand your ground, which Oklahoma adopted in 2006, require that people exercise the judgment and conduct a reasonable person would use. . . .

“There’s no way you could meet a reasonable person standard,” Lott said. A person has a right to defend themselves and others, “but they still have to require a reasonable person defense.”

Besides the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Jacksonville (FL) Journal-Courier, the Seattle PI, and about 40 other papers.


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