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Stand Your Ground and Self Defense in Florida by Charnele Tate: Construction and Application

Leasure v. State, 105 So.3d. 5 (2012)

Tamra Suzanne Leasure was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to thirty years in prison after she shot and killed Arthur Tilley. During her trial, she presented evidence to show that she shot Tilley after struggling and arguing with him in the kitchen of her house. According to the Florida Court of Appeals for the Second District of Florida, 

A person is justified in using deadly force when that person:

  1. is attacked in a place where she has a right to be;
  2. is not engaged in any unlawful activity, and;
  3. reasonably believes it is necessary to use force to prevent death or great bodily harm 

 The first two factors are not at issue. As to the third factor, Leasure testified that she armed herself because Tilley threatened to kill her and was coming at her and shoving her. Leasure said she backed Tilley into her kitchen at gunpoint. He grabbed the gun, and they wrestled over it. She shot him in the head, but he kept threatening her and coming at her. So she shot him two more times in rapid succession. This evidence established a prima facie case of self-defense.

                -Leasure v. State, 105 So.3d. at 13, 14

 Exerpt from Westlaw

Smiley v. State, 966 So.2d. 330 (2007)

Statute expanding right of self-defense by abolishing common-law duty to retreat before using deadly force was a substantive, rather than a procedural/remedial, change in the law, and, thus, presumption existed against retroactive application to cases pending on effective date; the statute established a “no duty to retreat” rule in a broad context that had not previously existed and altered the circumstances criminalizing use of deadly force.

 Exerpt from Westlaw

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