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Legal Question regarding defending self

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Walker132, Jan 7, 2009.

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  1. Walker132

    Walker132 Member

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    Hi, I found this site while looking for an answer to a problem I'm having with 4 neighborhood bully's who refuse to leave us alone. This has been going on for almost 8 yrs., but last weekend we had a close call with one bully & his German Shepherd.

    We live in a rural setting on a dirt road for 8 yrs. There are 4 neighbors that are bent on forcing us out as we aren't like them. They are Rednecks/Yahoos who take delight in bothering anyone that doesn't think like them and they have made it known they hate us. We are educated people who are law abiding citizens with no criminal records and want no trouble with anyone.

    You see, the 4 neighbors stick together informing the others about everything we do and what they can use against us. Their intent is to get us out and get more rednecks on the block. We have done nothing to provoke them and have endured much stress and anger from their meddling in our business. It's unfortunate that the law protects the guilty and not the victims.

    One of them has a Shepherd. It is not fenced in its yard and they let it run in the street as it pleases with no disreguard for other's safety. Having owned 2 Shepherds we know how unpredictable and intimidating they can be. This dog came at us while we were on our Harley a couple months ago. Fortunately, they called him back just in time. We were real pissed about what happened, but didn't call anyone to hopefully maintain the peace. That did not work.

    Last Sunday we were walking our dog in the street on her leash. The Shepherd saw us and made a beeline for our dog, then us. The male owner just watched, but did NOT call the dog or run after it. I- (Male) was so angry I told him to get his F-ing dog away from us. His response was foul language and then the rube threatened to beat me up. I'm 58, have a weak heart, and diabeties. I had no desire to throw hands with this 45 yr. old "child" so I took my dog and kept walking home.

    Now, the reason for this post is to find out: 1) If I'm on a public road & someone threatens me with bodily harm does FL law allow me to defend myself by shooting this a-hole if he is going to attack me? Our Castle Doctrine law is vauge in that area. It only mentions if a person fears for his life he can use deadly force in most public places. The key word seems to be "serious" bodily harm. Does someone hitting you with fists constitute serious bodily harm? 2) Also, I have been told that I can shoot the dog if it's going to attack me. I don't know about FL law on that one. Does anyone know the answer?

    As I have 2 chronic health issues it's very likely I could die from a dog bite. Diabetics must always guard against anything that could set off severe complications as their immune systems are weak at best. If this guy attacked me I could have another heart attack and die. If the dog bites me I could die. I'm somewhat worried over this with good reasons.

    One more thing, There are 4 of them and 1 is a Deputy Sheriff who won't go against them. He is a discrace to the badge and won't protect or serve us against the others. He's a "Good Old Boy" as well as a redneck. We've had trouble with him before and had to report his actions to the Sheriff to get him off our backs.

    Sorry this post is so long, but we tried to explain the situation as best as possible. All feedback is welcome and appreciated.

    We're sick and tired of being harassed by these people. We're sick of being victims and have the right to be left the F-k alone. This whole situation is just not right. :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  2. doberman

    doberman Member

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    Hmmm.

    8 years and you haven't once contacted law enforcement or an attorney on this matter?

    :confused:
     
  3. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    You need to look at other options to resolve this situation short of using deadly force.

    Harrassment and "not being left alone" does not justify the use of deadly force.

    I'm not an attorney, so I won't speak to the specifics of Florida law.

    In general though, the only use of deadly force that is justified is when it is necessary to protect you from an IMMEDIATE and actual threat of death or serious bodily injury AND when you had no other options besides using deadly force.

    The local prosecutor would be the one who would decide whether or not to file charges. He's going to look at the EVERYTHING involved in the situation, including your history with your neighbors. Anything you did before or during the incident that made the situation worse can be used against you.

    You have to do everything you can to avoid using deadly force in the first place. If it can be shown that there was something else you could do, safely, instead of using deadly force, you are going to have a much harder time defending yourself legally.

    Btw, there is no "cut and dried" answer for "serious bodily harm." In general, a simple punch would probably not be considered "serious bodily harm" and would not justify the use of deadly force in response.

    Just because you say you felt your life was in danger doesn't mean your life *really* was in danger. What evidence can you use to show that other person's actions really did threaten your life? That's one of the things the prosecutor will look at.

    Now, every circumstance is different, I'm just talking generalities here.

    Just remember, no matter how bad the situation is now, it can easily be made worse by an inappropriate use of deadly force. Add possible criminal charges to your current problems and you'll get an idea how bad things could be.
     
  4. doberman

    doberman Member

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    To back Trebors advice in short, a gun does not solve problems, it is a last resort option only.

    It seems to me, you have more than enough options available to resolve this problem without a gun in tow. The "Castle doctrine" and "use of deadly force" wouldn't be my first concern in this situation.


    Remember, avoid confrontations, you will avoid the consequences.

    If that makes any sense.
     
  5. beatcop

    beatcop Member

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    Read your state statutes before you act on any internet advice.

    You have a neighborhood squabble, not a lethal force scenario. I can understand you're frustrations, but use the appropriate avenues: Animal control officer, local police, etc.

    Post #3 is on track.
     
  6. SASD209

    SASD209 Member

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    Why are you even discussing lethal force......Nothing in your post even comes close to a situation requiring that. How about starting small like contacting local law enforcement or an attorney rather than dropping the 'lethal force' option?
    Or are you just a troll looking for the "ya, shoot 'em all up" response that you may get elsewhere, but not at THR...

    Consult your local laws and act responsibly.

    YMMV,

    SASD209
     
  7. swooshonln

    swooshonln Member

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    just throwing in my .02:

    just be careful what you intend, you are bordering the lines of "pre-meditated" it sounds like.
     
  8. notorious

    notorious Member

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    That's what I was going to say... discussing it like this openly sounds like premeditation or at least some thought and planning.

    Be very careful, this is evidence if you go to court and don't think a good lawyer can't find these posts or subpoena archived webpages even if you edit it.
     
  9. TRGRHPY

    TRGRHPY Member

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    Move. The stress of living where you do probably isn't helping your health any. I used to live in the city and noisy neighbors kept me up at night. When we moved to CO we bought a house in a rural area. No more irritating neighbor situations, or noisy traffic and stereos. Great place to walk the dog, let the kids run around, etc.

    Before you say that you can't afford to, think about how much it will cost if you take physical action against him/them/dog/whatever. Also consider how much of a toll this is taking on your body and what kind of financial situation that your wife will be in if you keel over from it.

    You should call the police at any rate, but be prepared to answer for why you haven't called for 8 years.
     
  10. notorious

    notorious Member

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    Cam and Company said the average cost to defend yourself in a shooting case would be around $10,000 to the citizen. How much is it to move?
     
  11. Vegas Silver

    Vegas Silver Member

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    I'm not sure I get this whole thing. As others have said, this request borders on premeditated if you act on it. The most concerning conflict you've had with them was a punch threat in 8 years? A dog chased you down on a Harley? You walk your dog near these people's houses, but you live in a rural area? You couldn't walk your dog in another direction? Also, the dog came to attack you while the owner didn't call him off, but it doesn't sound like he attacked. If the dog is vicious, why didn't he attack you?

    If you're in a rural area, why do you find yourself in proximity to these guys? Nothing stated here shows them coming for you...

    By no means is it right that you're being harassed. What you've stated just doesn't jive. Maybe you're missing some critical details in the info here.

    If this is a serious post, document some incidents with law enforcement, and look into some kind of restraining orders.
     
  12. LKB3rd

    LKB3rd Member

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    For a fistfight, it is my understanding (not a lawyer) that a "disparity of force" has to be clearly in place to justify using deadly force. Examples of that are a woman vs a large guy, or two or more assailants attacking a single guy if it is all males involved.
     
  13. Walker132

    Walker132 Member

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    We did call the S.O. on Sunday & a Deputy came over. After explaining our situation he went & saw the guy. He was supposed to let us know what was said, but he didn't call us. I am going to call the records dept. @ the S.O. today to find out if a report was done. As to moving- it would be extremely difficult financially and in S. FL nobody wants to write homeowner's ins. due to the hurricane risk. We live one 1 paycheck/income & this recession doesn't help. I did mention that we called the S. O. on the deputy that lives across from the guy who won't "grow up". He was told to leave us alone by his superiors @ that time. We don't want to cause trouble to fuel the fire we already have. I'm not a Rambo, but I'm damn sick & tired of irresponsible people not taking care of their animals & meddling in my affairs that are none of their concern. Nobody should have to put up with bullys. We can't move now- what has to happen to force people to leave you alone? Yes, I did walk a different route yesterday, but I shouldn't have to. I pay high taxes & expect to live out my years in peace without being bothered by mindless fools that serve no purpose in life. Premeditated? No, but what else is one to do? Mace will stop the guy, but not the problem. THEY are the problem. None of you answered my question regarding legally using deadly force. Is anyone from FL and an attorney on this forum? This is sort of like when there's a problem brewing and the victims tell the police- nothing is done until after the victims are killed or permanently disabled.

    I was going to call my elected official on this today & possibly the lawyer referral service appt.

    For the record- I have never used a gun to harm anyone. I don't hunt or fish. I love animals, but it's humans that have always tried to F-k with me. It seems that some people aren't happy unless they're making others miserable. Rednecks do it all the time! Look at the Jews & Arabs. They refuse to make peace and leave each other alone. Throughout mankind's history it's nothing but 1 war/conquest after another. I am a vet and saw 1/2 of my H.S. graduating class die in Nam.

    I am ex law enfocement & never had to shoot anyone in 11 yrs. One thing I will not allow is for someone to put their hands on me. I've never hurt anyone who didn't have it coming & am a peaceful man, but these 4 morons are really pushing this childish B.S.

    Are most of you gun lovers, but not in favor of shooting someone who would do you great bodily harm? Would you try to fight a guy with your fists if you might not survive?

    Why are we in 2 wars? Men are dying daily for nothing basically. I was against Vietnam & I'm damn sure against the 2 wars we have now. I once saw a bumper sticker that read "War is not healthy for any living thing."

    Thanks for your responses. Please let me know your thoughts on this reply and what you might do if you can't move & the law won't do anything as a crime hasn't been committed. Believe me, we would love to leave this redneck paradise. I'm not looking to use deadly force, but I need to know the exact meaning of Florida's statutes and what my legal options are. Perhaps I worded the post incorrectly. I look forward to hearing from you again.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  14. ShunZu

    ShunZu member

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    The advice given here by everyone is free... and that's exactly what Internet advice is worth. I have to echo the sentiments above... and strongly advise you to seek council with an attorney who can help clarify your state statutes in this situation. Good luck.
     
  15. Walker132

    Walker132 Member

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    Thanks. I was hoping there was a FL lawyer here. I'm making an appt. today sometime. What exactly is this forum for aside from gun lovers, rights, and the NRA?
     
  16. Treo

    Treo member

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    I'm sorry but this one isn't passing the sniff test
     
  17. Walker132

    Walker132 Member

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    What is a sniff test and what do you mean exactly?
     
  18. Treo

    Treo member

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    I mean that your story smells.

    The sense that I get is you are essentially asking what do these guys have to do before I can shoot them.

    The repeated "redneck" referrences indicate that you're doing just as much as they are to fuel the fire.

    You're a retired cop yet not familiar W/ deadly force laws ?

    less than 1% of the population of America died in Viet Nam yet your high school lost half its graduating class?
     
  19. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    Seriously??? You cursed at him, BUT HE is the bad guy for cursing back? Ever hear the expression you reap what you sow?

    Not to sound to crass amigo, but we all have to die sometime. I would be more concerned with how I live and how I conduct myself than I would be about dying.

    If I were you, I would buy a 6 pack and go over to the chief Redneck's house and tell him that you haven't been neighborly and would like to try to start over. Tell him you have 6 more cases and that your intention is to drink him beer for beer until you are best friends...

    Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."
     
  20. jorb

    jorb Member

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    61 yrs old. Three, count em, three open heart surgeries. COPD and CHF. Now I am not going to attempt mixing it up with anybody. I will not seek out trouble, but I will not become a hermit to avoid it either.
     
  21. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Love is the answer....

    Friend - - -

    It seems that you and your neighbors have an "us" versus "them" relationship. I know that there are some folks that will just never mix, but I urge you to give it a try.

    Is there some act of kindness or grace that you could perform for one of them, something that would clearly benefit them yet be of no value to you, something that they would recognize as a peace offering?

    Just try it. Then try it again. And again. Maybe it won't change the dynamics of the situation. Maybe it will. Maybe it will change you.

    As someone who once worked in Law enforcement, I'm sure you saw many cases where use of force could be legally justified, but the moral thing to do was to try to de-escalate the situation and get the people involved to back down and calm down. The same holds true in your personal life.

    Again, I know this approach is hard, but I suspect you know that it would be less hard that any alternative that involved deadly force.

    - - - Yoda
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    My thought exactly.
     
  23. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Another thought...

    I once dated a girl who was from "up north." We stopped at a gas station so she and her daughters could use the can, but she refused to get out of the car. I asked why, and she said, "Because of all those Rednecks."

    The gas station's parking lot was jammed with pickups, and in the back of all of them were several guys in hunting outfits, many holding their rifles pointing in the air, all calming talking between themselves and drinking (mostly Gatorade, I'm sure). The girlfriend was afraid to walk past them.

    I tried to explain that these guys were absolutely no threat to her, and in fact, if she were ever in trouble, virtually every one of these guys would risk their own lives to help her, even though they didn't know her. It didn't matter. The girlfriend insisted we go to another gas station.

    My point? The only folks who automatically assume that Rednecks are all bad are people who never bothered to get to know any.

    (I later married a nicer girl, one who kept a shotgun in her closet.)

    - - - Yoda
     
  24. Dominus

    Dominus Member

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    Sorry to say but the OP looks like a nice set up for an anti-gun blog.

    If its a real problem, I'd invite them over for a BBQ, then file a police report (if BBQ fails) and if that doesn't help then I would move. Life is too short and the world too big for BS.
     
  25. PoliticallyCorrectingU

    PoliticallyCorrectingU Member

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    It seems to me that if you could see past the chip that is residing somewhere on your shoulder, you might learn to like some of these REDNECKS who all seem to be able to get along with others. I have known many folks who seem to be the cancer in the body. All of the good will and picnic invites in the neighborhood were ignored but the police were always called when the children played too loudly.

    Maybe the mathematical principle of lowest common denominator applies here too.....

    Nuff Said.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
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