Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

November 6, 2013

Lawsuit targets Georgia's 'stand your ground' law

ATLANTA — A federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta asks a judge to declare Georgia’s “stand your ground” law unconstitutional.

The complaint was filed Monday in Atlanta by The Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which was founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and says the 2006 law is applied unevenly and allows people to use deadly force in self-defense as a preventive measure rather than as a last resort. The complaint also says the law is particularly harmful to racial minorities.

“The Act does not account for societal and cultural biases which result in a presumption of criminality (or presumptions of victimization) against certain socio-economic and ethnic groups which results in the unequal allocation of the presumption of the presentation of an eminent threat sufficient to justify the use of deadly force,” the lawsuit says.

Georgia’s law says a person is justified in threatening or using force if they believe it is necessary to protect themself or another person.

Two additional plaintiffs in the lawsuit — the estate of a man who was shot by someone who claimed self-defense and a man who said he shot someone in self-defense but was convicted of murder — are used to illustrate the alleged inconsistent application of the law.

The lawsuit names Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens as defendants. A spokeswoman for Olens declined to comment.

Lawyer Robert Patillo, who filed the suit, said he’s not aware of any similar lawsuits having been filed in other states that have “stand your ground” laws.

Carrie and James Christopher Johnson Jr. are the parents of Chris Johnson, a young black man who was fatally shot by Adam Lee Edmondson, a white man, following a fight over comments Edmondson is alleged to have made to Johnson’s girlfriend, the lawsuit says. Edmondson was charged with murder but invoked the “stand your ground” law in his defense and was found not guilty of murder.

Herman Lee Smith III is a young black man who was convicted of felony murder in August in the death of Cardarius Stegall, another black man. Stegall walked toward Smith with a gun, and Smith shot him to protect himself or other people, the lawsuit says. A witness at Smith’s trial testified Stegall was walking toward a third man who was standing next to Smith when the shooting took place. A jury convicted him, finding that he didn’t have a “reasonable belief” that his life was in danger.

“Stand your ground” laws have gotten a lot of attention recently following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in July in the February 2011 slaying of the unarmed 17-year-old in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman claimed he shot the teen in self-defense, citing the state’s “stand your ground” law. Martin’s father has called for a repeal of Florida’s statute.

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Ga. woman sentenced in child abuse case

    The mother of a 1-year-old boy who was hospitalized with a fractured skull in 2012 has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

    July 29, 2014

  • AP81072904918 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • United Way presents fundraising prom

    Save the date — and make sure to find one — for The Prom, a retro-celebration to benefit the Greater Valdosta United Way.

    July 29, 2014

  • Times hosts blood drive

    The Valdosta Daily Times will participate in a blood drive, 12:30-5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, with the American Red Cross Bloodmobile visiting The Times’ 201 N. Troup St. parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Free health fair planned for Quitman on Aug. 9

    A free health fair hosted by the 100 Black Men of Brooks-Grady-and-Thomas Counties, Inc. and sponsored by Archbold Hospital will take place Aug. 9  from 8 a.m.-noon. The second annual 100 B-G-T Health Fair will be located at the Courtland Avenue Church of Christ in Quitman. All Valdosta-Lowndes County residents are welcome to attend.

    July 29, 2014

  • Lake Park considers millage rate increase

    Lake Park has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will result in a 29.64 percent increase in property taxes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Free Health Fair slated for August 9th

    A free health fair hosted by the 100 Black Men of Brooks-Grady-and-Thomas Counties, Inc. and sponsored by Archbold Hospital will take place on August 9th  from 8:00am until 12 noon.

    July 28, 2014

  • BtpsXVpIgAEXKB-.jpg Manhunt underway for drivers of stolen dump truck

    This morning, around 8:00 deputies from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a dump truck traveling south on I-75.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

  • IMG_3745.jpeg Gas leak on West Adair

    A gas leak has occured on West Adair Street, between Tombs and Oak Street. The leak began just after 11 a.m.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results