With the imminent hearing on HR 1467, the bill that would bring “stand your ground” to Minnesota, tomorrow I think we need an example of how important such legislation is. For an example we need look no further than Iowa:
One couldn’t blame him. Lewis had just finished 112 days in jail because he didn’t have the cash to make bail. When jurors finally freed him on Feb. 9, Lewis walked out homeless, unemployed and minus most of his possessions.
Ludwick, a former soldier and convicted felon, was driving four people home from a Halloween party. Documents say Ludwick slowed; Lewis passed him. Ludwick sped up, and the cars raced down 11th Street until they came to Regency Woods. They collided when Lewis, in front and on the right, started to turn left.
Lewis said Ludwick and a passenger, Justin Lossner, got out of the Taurus and began punching the Mustang’s windows.
They backed off when Lewis pulled out his .380-caliber pistol. But they came back.
Lewis said he was outside his car, evaluating its damage, when he caught Ludwick and Lossner trying to sneak up on him from two different directions.
The recording of a 911 call made by Lewis begins with Lewis yelling at the two to “just stay where you are. Get back! Get back! I’m going to start shooting!”
There are exchanges of profanities while Lewis explains the situation to a police dispatcher. Then, “Get away from me. Get away from me!” And a bang.
You read that correctly, Mr. Lewis was found innocent of any crime was greeted with a loss of his property and months of his lives stolen as he rotted in prison awaiting his trial. What’s most egregious about this story is the fact that Mr. Lewis would have been legally protected from all of this if Iowa had a stand your ground law as it gives the defender the benefit of the doubt. Without such legislation the state gets to assume guilt until innocence is proven, and in such cases those forced into a self-defense situation may lose everything even if a jury acquits them.
As I stated yesterday the other problem when a stand your ground law isn’t on the books is the fact that any action taken in self-defense can be argued to be “unreasonable.” One person looking at Mr. Lewis’s situation may claim his use of a firearm wasn’t reasonable because his attackers were, apparently, unarmed. Another person would point out the fact that Mr. Lewis was outnumbered, a fact that makes a self-defense situation far more dangerous. Mr. Lewis had every right to be where he was and therefore should have the right to defend himself at that location. Stand your ground laws benefit those who find themselves having to defend themselves against initiators of violence.
I have further commentary about this story that I’ll post up tomorrow. Considering that the “stand your ground” bill is being debated tomorrow I wanted to get this out so people could read it and understand the importance that this law holds.