Two local men were killed when they attempted to commit a home invasion robbery in Palmetto Bay, Florida. The two men entered into the residence unaware that the homeowner was at home at the time of the burglary. The homeowner opened fire which killed one of the intruders. The other intruder jumped from a balcony on the third floor and later died from his injuries at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The homeowner will not likely need the services of a Miami criminal lawyer as investigators say he acted in self-defense.
Both intruders had a past criminal record in the Miami-Dade County criminal justice system. One of the men had been arrested as recently as two months ago for driving on suspended license (DWLS) as a habitual traffic offender. He also had prior arrests for cocaine possession, home invasion robbery and battery. The other intruder also had a felony criminal record. The incident occurred last Wednesday, the evening before Thanksgiving, when the two defendants broke into the Palmetto Bay home only to be greeted by a hail of gunfire.
The "Stand Your Ground Defense" that became law in 2005 really does not apply in this case. Prior to the enactment of that law, homeowners never had a duty to retreat in their own residence. The new law applied to individuals outside their home and provided that citizens no longer had a duty to retreat from a deadly threat before using deadly force and have the right not to retreat if engaged in a lawful activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be. This case is distinguishable from the March 9, 2009, when a homeowner pulled a rifle on FPL employees outside his residence. The FPL workers never entered the residence which why the new law applied to that case.
If the criminal investigation reveals the shots were fired at the intruders inside the residence, the police cannot justify an arrest of the homeowner. However, if the investigation reveals that the homeowners fired shots outside of his residence, he may very well find himself in a more precarious situation. If that is the case, the "Stand Your Ground" law will apply and the homeowner may need to hire a criminal lawyer to represent his interests. Florida jury instruction 3.69g) applies to the use of justifiable uses of non-deadly force as it applies to dwellings. Specifically, the instruction provides that if a defendant is in his or her residence, he or she has no duty to retreat if he or she has a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or bodily injury if the victim has unlawfully and forcibly entered the residence.
Police Identify Armed Robbers Killed in Home Invasion, Miami Herald.com, November 26, 2010.