Texas Jury Convicts Man in Stand Your Ground Case

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Texas' version of the law, which is known as the Castle Doctrine, was revised in 2007 to expand the right to use deadly force. It allows people to defend themselves not only in their homes but also in their workplaces or vehicles. Legal experts say the expansion also gave people wider latitude on the use of deadly force.

The law also says a person using force can't provoke the attacker or be involved in criminal activity at the time.

Johnson said Rodriguez can't hide behind the stand-your-ground law because he provoked the confrontation and then brandished his weapon against an unarmed individual, which is a crime.

But defense attorney Neal Davis said he doesn't believe Rodriguez did anything illegal. He said Rodriguez went to complain and was confronted by Danaher and the two other partygoers, and that he didn't pull out his gun until he was standing in the street and Danaher approached him in a threatening manner.

"He had a right to be (in) the street. He was not provoking anybody. He was not engaged in any criminal activity. The (stand-your-ground) law is not only for home invasions. That's why the law was changed," Davis said.

An acquittal of Rodriguez would not "say everyone in the city of Houston is going to turn into the wild, wild west," Davis said.

Johnson told jurors prosecutors don't have any problems with guns in Texas.

"But with that comes a lot of responsibility. It has to be used as a last resort," she said.

Grant Scheiner, a Houston criminal defense attorney who was not involved in the case but who followed it, said a conviction in a case like Rodriguez's might prompt some clarification of Texas' stand-your-ground law that would more clearly define what it means to provoke someone. But he said the outcome of the case, conviction or acquittal, would not lead to major changes in the law.

 

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