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A Florida judge on Monday ruled that an elderly black man charged in the shooting death of his neighbor can't use the Stand Your Ground defense, the second time in a week that the controversial law at the center of the Trayvon Martin case failed to provide cover to a defendant.
Monday's ruling dealt with the manslaughter case against Trevor Dooley, who has admitted to shooting his neighbor, David James, in 2010 after a verbal dispute over a teenager's right to skateboard on a local basketball court turned physical. (James was defending the kid's right to skate, fwiw.)
An ABC News affiliate in Tampa explains that Dooley—who had a concealed weapons’ permit—maintains that he only shot James after he became aggressive and threatened him. But a circuit judge ruled Monday that the evidence suggests that it was not until Dooley "reached for and pulled out his weapon—indicating an intent to escalate from an argument to violence—that Mr. James exerted and used physical force against Defendant." You can read more on that case over at ABC Action News and TBO.com.
Monday's ruling comes three days after Marissa Alexander, a black woman in Jacksonville, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for three counts of aggravated assault. Alexander's lawyer cited the Stand Your Ground law in her defense, arguing that she fired warning shots to protect herself during a confrontation with her husband. But a judge ruled last year that the law didn't apply because Alexander wasn't in genuine fear for her safety when she fired the gun, according to the Los Angeles Times. Local news station WJXT explains that was because "she left the room, got a gun and returned to confront him."
Alexander's sentencing drew quick criticism from Rep. Corrine Brown, a Democratic congresswoman who represents the Jacksonville area.* "I have lived here all my life," she said Friday. "And clearly [there] was no justice in this courtroom."
Dooley and Alexander's respective cases come as the Stand Your Ground law, which allows people to respond with deadly force in life-threatening situations, has taken center stage in the wake of the February shooting death of Trayvon Martin. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the Florida teen, has claimed he did so only in self-defense. He has since been charged with second-degree murder.
*Correction: An earlier version of this post misspelled Rep. Corrine Brown's first name.