McKenna on KIRO: Stand Your Ground laws and “reasonable” fears

KIRO 97.3 host Dave Ross asked Rob about a parking lot shooting in Florida that resulted in no charges. Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was amended last year in a way that makes it tougher to bring charges in such cases.

Dave Ross: “It sounds like that version of the law gives an ordinary citizen the same status as police officers have in Washington State.”

Rob McKenna: “Well it certainly strengthens this form of immunity, because someone can get into a dispute, shoot someone else, and then it’s up to the state to prove that it was an unreasonable fear – that there really wasn’t a legitimate or reasonable fear of further bodily harm.

“And notice, the test is ‘bodily harm.’ You don’t have to be able to say ‘Hey, I thought I was going to die.’ You just have to claim that you were going to be the victim of some sort of bodily harm, and then the state has to prove that was unreasonable.

“It’s what, in the law, is often called the ‘reasonable person test.’ And that’s where juries come in, ultimately, if a prosecutor proceeds. But under this new law, it seems less likely that prosecutors are going to bring these cases, and here the sheriff didn’t even refer the case to the prosecuting attorney for a charge.”

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