9 November 2017 | paul-allaer
Florida's "stand your ground" law examined in the "loud music" case
"3 1/2 Minutes Ten Bullets" (2015 release; 98 min.) is a documentary about the "loud music" incident at a Jacksonville gas station in 2012, where a middle-aged white guy ends up shooting at 4 male black teenagers in a car playing loud music, and killing one of them. Upon his arrest, he claims that he was "standing his ground", as defined under Florida law. But was he?
Couple of comments: this documentary tackles a super-interesting case from the legal perspective (disclaimer: I am a lawyer myself, although my practice is NOT in criminal law or doing court trials). The lawyer defending the shooter zeros in on it when he addresses the jury: "these are the elements of the Florida "stand your ground" law. You may or may not like that law, but that is irrelevant. Your duty is to apply the elements of that law." The amazing thing is that the jury does apply the law correctly in the end. What is not so amazing, and in fact is quite disappointing, is that this is not an "objective" documentary. It is pretty clear from the get-go where the documentary makers stand in their beliefs. This should've been a riveting documentary and while certain parts of it are (in particular the court scenes), it is not enough (for me, anyway).
I recently stumbled on this documentary while browsing the Documentary section of HBO On Demand. Glad I checked it out, even though as already mentioned, the documentary is not even-handed. But the legal case itself is worth checking out.