You know how Obama and GWB's spin-doctors redefined "imminent" (as in "we attacked pre-emptively to prevent an imminent attack")? Well, if it's good enough for the Prez, it's good enough for Florida's neighbor-shooting yahoos. The yahoo in question is William T. Woodward, whose lawyer argues that he shot his neighbors while they were having a backyard barbecue because they were going to attack him. Eventually. Which is to say, imminently. And that, argues Mr Woodward's lawyers, is just self-defense as defined in Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws.
But that is how the government has been using it, argued Mr. Woodward's attorneys, and so it must be a plausible construction of the word as used in Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which authorizes deadly force to protect against "imminent death" or "the imminent commission of a forcible felony." That's why Mr. Woodward should be allowed to argue to a jury that he was legitimately making a preemptive strike against an "imminent" threat when he snuck up on some people having a barbecue and opened fire, killing two of them. Or so said a motion filed this week.
According to the report, there was a "feud" between Woodward and three of his neighbors. Police had been called "numerous times" but there's no mention in the report of any physical attacks. "[I]n the hours prior to the shooting," the motion reportedly says, "all three men were yelling at Woodward and … this type of behavior had been ongoing for over a month." They called him names and allegedly said "Come on, boys. We're going to get him." Again, this was "in the hours prior to the shooting," not immediately before the shooting. Is that "imminent"?
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