Friday, March 23, 2012

American Injustice

Racism and injustice are alive and thriving in communities, not only in Florida, but all across America. Bruce Springsteen reminds us in a song from the year 2000, "American Skin": " can get killed just for living in your American skin...."

Clearly, if the Florida case has been a black neighborhood watch man who killed a white teenager there would have been a quick arrest, high bail, and a spectacular trial showing the community's outrage. Lady Justice's only blindness is that American justice is not blind.

Earlier this year the General Assembly defeated Delegate Dickie Bell's Castle Doctrine Bill because it was overly vague and lacked bipartisan support. Bell promises to tighten the legislation and reintroduce it next year. While many people can support the notion self-defense of one's home, these bills are often the first step to enacting "Stand Your Ground" laws such as the one in Florida. Twenty-four states have a Stand Your Ground law on the books and the NRA is supporting passage of similar laws in all 50 states. With the "get tough" mentality of the majority in the House of Delegates and the muscle of the NRA, passing not only a Castle Doctrine bill but of a Stand Your Ground bill, is a distinct possibility.

In this clip, attorney Jonathan Turley explains the dangers inherent in passage of over-broad, poorly written self-defense legislation that may legally allow an irresponsible or vengeful person to use deadly force without justification.
Delegate Bell and the General Assembly should use extreme caution and heed the lessons of the Florida tragedy and other cases when reconsidering a Castle Doctrine bill and possibly considering a Stand Your Ground bill. In this regard, Common Law, with centuries of accumulated wisdom, has served the Commonwealth well. As recent events have confirmed, these vague new bills open the door to unintended and deadly consequences that make a sham of our deeply held American value of justice.


Anonymous said...

bell is a asshole

Brent Holl said...

Well spoke. Read Gene Robinson's piece in the WAPO this morning. There's a link on BlueRage.