Florida Supreme Court will decide if convicted felons have the right to “Stand Your Ground”
The Florida Supreme Court recently agreed to examine in an unresolved Palm Beach County case. The justices must decide if felons may invoke the Stand Your Ground self-defense law.
The case involves Brian Bragdon, a convicted cocaine dealer who two years ago shot at two men outside a West Palm Beach-area strip club. Bragdon, 25, claims he was defending himself when he shot the men.
But the prosecutors say he isn’t entitled to invoke the Stand Your Ground self-defense law, because of his felony conviction, he shouldn’t have been carrying a gun.
The Stand Your Ground law simply says an individual does not have to retreat and can legally use deadly force if the person reasonably believes doing so is necessary “to prevent imminent death.”
What this case revolves about a portion of the Stand Your Ground law that says it doesn’t apply to a person “engaged in an unlawful activity.”
That clearly was meant to prevent a defendant from using Stand Your Ground, if; for example, he shot and killed someone while breaking into a house.
But prosecutors contend that felons should be prohibited from adopting Stand Your Ground as a defense. This is because it’s illegal for felons to possess guns — meaning the “unlawful activity” rule applies.
This case will present an interesting problem to the Florida Supreme Court. Does a citizen lose their right to self defense by virtue of being previously convicted of a felony?
If so, where will they draw the line?