Newspaper "study" of Florida's no-retreat law
The Tampa Bay Times publishes "Race Plays Complex Role in Florida 'stand your ground' Law." Good grief! They start with 200 cases, with no controlling for variables (e.g., did the defender have a record, were they a good witness, etc., etc.) and try to draw conclusions, such as "people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time," suggesting an unconscious racial bias.
But wait a minute... self-defensive homicides, like homicides in general, usually involve two people of the same ethnicity. So if people who killed a black person were acquitted more often, that means ... black self-defenders were acquitted more often. The article goes on to note that when the statute was invoked, whites and blacks were charged at the same rate and convicted at the same rate. And ...
"In mixed-race cases involving fatalities, the outcomes were similar. Four of the five blacks who killed a white went free; five of the six whites who killed a black went free."
"Overall, black defendants went free 66 percent of the time in fatal cases compared to 61 percent for white defendants..."
But even the higher acquittal rate for blacks must prove racial bias, because it is "a difference explained, in part, by the fact blacks were more likely to kill another black." Yet the article began by claiming a higher conviction rate for blacks, and suggesting that proved racial bias. (The article does not explain why it gives two different sets of figures). So, indeed, whether the conviction rate for blacks is higher, or lower, either proves racial bias!
It's not "news" nor "analysis", it's op-ed. The "outcome" was known before the essay written.
Posted by: Harry Schell at June 5, 2012 07:25 AM
If it really is a "study" they should have sources cited. This article
shows an unusually high level of citation for a newspaper, but hardly
enough for a college Freshman level research paper.
They should cite which cases they studied, from there Mr. Hardy can
test his hypothesis using their data.
We shouldn't believe the facts are on our side, we should prove it!
Posted by: Freiheit at June 5, 2012 09:11 AM
The facts are not in favor of a number of existing constitutional protections - rules against double jeapordy and self-incrimination to name two which could arguably disposed of depending on your values. We have a bias against false positive punishments under our system of justice on which we place a very high importance. Other alternatives are possible (see the French legal system for exmple, with significantly less use of juries and much less in the way of other protections we would find highly valuable). Utilitiarian arguments in favor of armed self-defense are suspect and we should not play the game our opponents want us to play. After a certain point you just have to say that's what we want, we are a majority, no you don't get to do that (ignore/do away with the 2nd Amendment).
Posted by: RKV at June 5, 2012 12:00 PM
I suppose at least Florida has a law... A local homeowner where I live awoke to an intruder kicking in(assuming the bangs were kicking in) his door. Went downstairs and fought with the armed intruder in his kitchen. Got the knife away it sounds like and stabbed him. There's a big investigation now because Vermont has some clause when it comes to your right to defend your home that states you must first try to flee and only attack IF there is no other way to escape. Now this homeowner who was defending his child, wife, and himself may face charges depending on whether police decide he stabbed and killed the intruder before trying a non-violent method or if he had no other option.
Posted by: Sarah at June 6, 2012 06:37 AM