Last week Avallone Law received word that a stand your ground motion argued by Larry Avallone was granted. This court ruling was particularly gratifying because the client, charged with battery, was innocent. The police should have never filed the charges and the Office of the State Attorney should have never prosecuted the case.
The events leading to the battery charge were that the client, who was working security for a local bar, observed a group of eight women having a good time at the bar. During the evening, a man who appeared to be intoxicated, entered the bar, and pinched one of the women in the group. It was later discovered that the man and woman were a couple, but they had not been in the bar together. The woman did not like being pinched and reacted negatively to it. The client intervened, as was his job to do so, and ordered the man to leave the bar. The intoxicated man started to leave, and the woman returned to her friends. The man quickly re-entered the bar and made a beeline back toward the woman. The client, fearing that the woman was in danger, put himself between the man and the woman. After refusing to leave, and threatening the client, the intoxicated man was forcibly ejected. The client had done his job.
Officers of the local police department responded, watched the videos, and determined that the client was within his rights and that no crime had occurred.
A few weeks later, the police department reversed course and filed charges with the prosecuting attorney's office. When questioned, the officer representing the police department never adequately explained why he had this change of heart. The Office of the State Attorney agreed with the police and filed a battery charge.
Florida Statute 776.032, commonly known as Florida's “Stand Your Ground” law, allows a person to use force to defend themselves and others. A mini-trial was conducted where the judge considered all the evidence in the case. The court found that the client was entitled to immunity because of the stand your ground statutes. The battery charges will have to be dropped.
Unfortunately, the client had the anxiety of being charged with a crime that hung over his head for almost one year. He is now free from this charge, which should have never been filed in the first place.
The silver lining to this misfortune is that the system worked as it should have. The police and the state attorney got this wrong, but it was corrected by the judicial branch. An independent judiciary is critical in a situation such as this one.
If you have a criminal case, you likely have questions. Avallone Law is here to help.