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Sign of things to come?

A Fort Myers shooting that has received little attention is headed for what promises to be an interesting court case. It involves a Dunbar grocer who shot to death another man in the grocery store's parking lot. On its face, the case appears to be a perfect first test of Florida's controversial new self-defense law.

Fort Myers police reported that Samer Hasan, 28, who works at Sam's Grocery on Ford Street, in the early morning hours of July 15, noticed Elias Nazario, 26, in the parking lot. Hasan thought Nazario was doing a drug deal.

Twice, Hasan sent two teens outside to tell Nazario to leave. When Nazario both times indicated he was not leaving, Hasan grabbed the store's Glock handgun and went outside to tell Nazario he was calling police.

During the confrontation, Nazario punched Hasan in the face. Hasan then shot him through the chest.

INTERESTING CASE

Two legal wrinkles make this case different from a typical confrontation and shooting:

• First, Fort Myers has a Nuisance Abatement Board, which can close a business that it believes isn't doing enough to stop crime on its premises.

This grocery — then called Wright's Grocery —was shut down for three months in 2001 when the board ruled its owners weren't taking seriously the drug deals and other crimes at the store. The business was allowed to reopen only after it had devised a crime-fighting plan.

The first thing business owners are expected to do is to call police if they suspect a crime is taking place. Hasan apparently was on the phone at the time of the shooting trying to do just that.

How much was Hasan's livelihood on his mind as he confronted Nazario that night? Has the city unfairly put the burden of crime prevention on businesses?

• Second, accompanied by predictions of statewide carnage, legislators this year passed a bill that extended Florida's "castle doctrine" beyond a person's home and vehicle.

The castle doctrine — based on the notion that a man's home is his castle — allows a person to respond with deadly force to an intruder in his home, with no requirement to try to escape the situation or to believe his life is in imminent danger.

This legislation also has been called the "stand your ground" law.

The Hasan case seems to fall squarely within this new law's broad protections. It reads:

"A person, not engaged in an unlawful activity, who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."

Further, this person cannot be held liable for his actions in criminal or civil court.

Unfortunately for Hasan, however, the law does not take effect until Oct. 1.

CHARGES 'INSANE'

What will jurors in conservative, law-and-order Lee County do? Will they give Hasan the benefit of any doubt? Will they be allowed to consider that in a few months Hasan's actions probably would be covered under new state law? Will the City of Fort Myers' strict rules for businesses play a part in their deliberations?

Obviously, we don't know all the details surrounding this shooting, but we can see how the case is shaping up.

Police did not arrest Hasan at the scene, but waited to see whether the state attorney's office would press charges. Last week it did, charging Hasan with manslaughter, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Hasan turned himself in to authorities.

He is being represented by Joseph Viacava, who said at the time, "It's a complete shock to us that he has been arrested for doing nothing more than defending his own life after being attacked."

On Wednesday, Viacava called the charges "insane. He should get a merit badge for opening a business in a bad neighborhood."

Viacava believes the city has forced people like Hasan to do cops' jobs for them, facing down armed drug dealers or losing their livelihoods.

Although Viacava believes that the revised "castle doctrine" doesn't apply in this case because Hasan was literally pushed against a wall with no way to retreat, we believe it could be the first practical reaction to the state's controversial new "stand your ground" law.

http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050811/OPINION/508110395/1015

*FW Note:

Here we see the results of allowing government and it's agents to have a monopoly on the the authority to use force.

Coincidentally, in the course of protecting his business, he was forced to also protect his life.

The law demanded that the man act, and when he did, he was arrested.

Can't have civilians going around taking the law into their own hands y'see..

:x :roll:

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