Bethel University Florida Stand Your Ground Laws

1. Capstone Case: Tennessee v. ReevesTracie Reeves and Molly Coffman, both twelve years of age and students at West Carroll Middle School, spoke on the telephone and decided to kill their homeroom teacher, Janice Geiger. The girls agreed that Coffman would bring rat poison to school the following day so that it could be placed in Geiger’s drink. The girls also agreed that they would thereafter steal Geiger’s car and drive to the Smoky Mountains. Reeves then contacted Dean Foutch, a local high school student, informed him of the plan, and asked him to drive Geiger’s car. Foutch refused this request. Reeves and Coffman were found to be delinquent by a Juvenile Court based on a conviction of attempt to commit second-degree murder. The question is whether the students engaged in enough activity to constitute an attempt offense.

  • Did you find enough evidence that the girls had taken a substantial step toward the commission of a targeted offense?
  • What test does the court establish for Tennessee to determine if a substantial step has been taken?
  • Do you find that the court, in using common law rules of construction, modifies the legislative enactment of the attempt statute?

Minimum of 500 word count. APA format, scholarly sources withing past 7 years.

2. Read and compare the court’s opinion in United States v. Gladish, 536 F.3d 646 (7th Cir. 2008), involving an alleged attempt to have sexual conduct with a minor. What factors did the court consider in determining whether Gladish engaged in a substantial step toward sexual activity with a minor?

Minimum of 500 word count. APA format, scholarly sources withing past 7 years.

3. Capstone Case: United States v. Thomas

On October 30th, 1990, Wallie Howard, a Syracuse police officer working undercover for the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), was shot and killed during a cocaine “buy-bust” taking place in the parking lot of “Mario’s Big M Market” in Syracuse. The defendants charged with Officer Howard’s death tried to assert a self-defense claim at trial, but the court refused this request.

  • Lawrence fired at Agent Howard and killed him after Howard had already drawn his weapon and fired. Why was Lawrence unable to claim self-defense in the shooting?
  • In this case, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said: “It has long been accepted that one cannot support a claim of self-defense by a self-generated necessity to kill.” What is the logic behind this principle? Do you agree with it?
  • How does this case compare to the jury verdict in State of Florida v. George Zimmerman (aka the Travon Martin case)?

Minimum of 300 word count. APA format, scholarly sources withing past 7 years.

4.Determine whether your home state has a “stand-your-ground” law that allows defendants to assert self-defense in cases where they might have been able to safely avoid a confrontation. If your state does not have such a law, locate the stand-your-ground law in Florida. After reading the law, identify the elements a criminal defendant must meet in order to successfully present a stand-your-ground defense.

Minimum of 300 word count. APA format, scholarly sources withing past 7 years.

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