Curtis Reeves Denied Stand Your Ground Immunity

We followed the hearing, and now the judge has entered her decision.    Today, March 10, 2017, Pasco-Pinellas Circuit Judge Susan Barthle denied Curtis Reeves’ motion to apply Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law to the case.  Reeves now faces trial on second degree murder charges for killing Chad Oulson to death in a movie theater over text messaging.   A trial date has not yet been set.

 

 

Here’s the ruling:

ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS PURSUANT TO FLORIDA STATUTE §776.013(3) (STAND YOUR GROUND MOTION)
This matter came before the court during evidentiary hearing upon defendant’s motion commencing on February 20, 2017, and heard through March 3, 2017.  Having carefully considered the witnesses’ testimony, the transcript and recording of defendant’s statement to detectives, all of the exhibits offered into evidence, including a personal view of the scene, argument of counsel, and current legal authority, this court determined that Mr. Reeves has not shown by a preponderance of the evidence that immunity attaches. 

In reaching this conclusion, this court states the following:
A defendant must establish entitlement to immunity by a preponderance of the evidence.  Under §776.013(3), Fla. Stat., a person is justified in using deadly force when that person (1) is attacked in a place where he has a right to be, (2) is not engaged in any unlawful activity, and (3) reasonably believes it is necessary to use force to prevent death or great bodily harm.  The first two factors are not at issue, since the defendant was inside a movie theater as an admission-paying patron; and there was no indication that the defendant was involved in any illegal activity at the time of the altercation.

This court does find issue with the Mr. Reeves’ testimony in support of the third factor, and denies this motion for the following reasons:
The physical evidence contradicts the defendant’s version of events.  For instance, the defendant testified that he was hit in the outside corner of his left eye with a cell phone or a fist.  The video evidence contradicts this assertion, clearly showing that there was no hit from a fist, and the item argued by the defense to be a cell phone was simply a reflection from the defendant’s shoes.  Despite hours of testimony by the defense’s crime scene reconstruction expert in an effort to prove that the reflections seen in the video were those of a cell phone, other images of the defendant in the movie theater clearly show the same rectangle-shaped reflection on his shoes.  In addition, common sense and the credible testimony of the medical examiner casts grave doubt on the likelihood of anything hitting the defendant in the eye beneath his glasses in the manner the defendant described.  Which begs the question, why did the defendant say he was hit in the left eye, to the point of being dazed, when the video images and basic physics indicate that he did not get hit in the left eye with anything?  The logical conclusion is that he was trying to justify his actions after the fact.

The defendant testified that the alleged victim was virtually on top of him, and that he was grabbing the alleged victim’s chest or body with his left hand while he fired the fatal shot with his right hand, and even stated that he was surprised he did not shoot himself in the hand while doing so.  The video evidence and other witness testimony contradicts this assertion also.  In fact, the video clearly shows that the closest the alleged victim ever came to the defendant was when his hand reached for and grabbed the defendant’s popcorn and threw it on him.  The video then shows the defendant lunge forward with his right arm extended, and fire at the alleged victim, who at that point was so far back from the defendant that he could not even be seen in the video anymore.  He certainly was not on top of the defendant, and plainly the defendant’s left hand was nowhere near the alleged victim’s body.

In addition to the video evidence and testimony that directly contradicted the defendant’s testimony, other facts tended to show that he was not in fear of great bodily harm or death.  His conduct demonstrated that he was not afraid of the alleged victim: the defendant initiated contact with the alleged victim on at least three occasions and was not concerned about leaving his wife there alone when he went to talk to the manager.  As he was trained extensively in handling firearms and dealing with conflict situations, he was far better prepared than the average person to deal with situations such as this one.  Furthermore, the defendant did not appear to be frail by any means; on the contrary he is quite a large and robust man.  He also appeared quite self-assured when he was testifying, and certainly did not appear to be a man who was afraid of anyone.

Because the defendant’s testimony was significantly at odds with the physical evidence and other witness testimony, this court has considerable doubts about his credibility, and is not willing to come to the conclusion that these circumstances are those envisioned by the legislature when the “stand your ground” law was enacted.

After careful consideration of all of the evidence provided in this case, this court finds that the defendant did not credibly demonstrate that he reasonably believed it was necessary for him to use deadly force in this situation, therefore, defendant’s motion is DENIED.

DONE AND ORDERED in Pasco County, Florida, this ______ day of March, 2017.

Posted on 03/10/2017, in Cases, Chad Oulson, Conceal Carry & SYG and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This video addresses appeal and delaying the case by more than a year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is so not fair!! He’s walking around free and may never do time. At the very least I hope it’s costing him a fortune. Oh this grinds my gears!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, Mindyme. It’s the way the judicial system works. That’s good in some cases, and bad in others. If Reeves lives long enough to stand trial, he is likely to be convicted. Look on the bright side —- Michael Dunn’s appeal was denied in November last year. Maybe Reeves will be sent to the same prison where Dunn is serving his time, and they can both spend hours talking about how they were only defending themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    Thanks for the update, Xena.

    Like

  3. crustyolemothman

    So far so good! Now if an honest jury can be found, justice will be served! Maybe there is hope for Florida, after all, no scratch that thought, will never happen… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mothman,
      I haven’t looked into decided stand your ground cases in Florida since 2013. Then, it seemed that the majority of stand your ground petitions were denied by the courts. In Reeves’ case, the State seems to feel that his lawyers want to extremely delay trial in the hope that Reeves’ age will have an effect on the jury’s verdict.

      At least in this case we don’t have a race factor. Also, the killing took place in a movie theater, not a bar or during a street fight. My bet is that if Reeves ever proceeds to trial, he will be convicted for second-degree murder.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. At least in this instance common sense prevailed. Truthfully……..it seems that common sense has been on a loooong vacation………..whew!
    Reeves blatant lie like he was hit in the eye is clearly indicative of the length that he and the defense will go to keep him out of his death cell. Note to Reeves: Stand your ground……in jail!

    Like

    • Roach,
      “Common sense.” The judge absolutely used it.

      “The video then shows the defendant lunge forward with his right arm extended, and fire at the alleged victim, who at that point was so far back from the defendant that he could not even be seen in the video anymore. He certainly was not on top of the defendant, and plainly the defendant’s left hand was nowhere near the alleged victim’s body.”

      Let’s hope that the jury uses the same common sense when Reeves stands trial.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. roderick2012

    Is it just me or do bullies like Reeves (and George Zimmerman) always see themselves as the real victims and attempt to portray themselves as such?

    Is this mentality common in law enforcement or people who aspire to become law enforcement officers or are these just two anecdotal cases?

    Like

    • Roderick,
      Bullies are narcissistic. It’s always about them. Some have dysfunctions that causes them to want to control everyone in their path. Resist their control, and they portray themselves as the victim. Chad Oulson used his freedom to speak to Oulson, and Oulson retaliated by shooting him. Trayvon used his freedom to run from the creepy looking man, and the creepy looking man put himself in harm’s way by leaving his vehicle and following the teen. The perpetrators think they are victims because free people did not recognize them as people to be obeyed.

      Like

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