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Stand Your Ground Defense Fails In Raul Rodriguez Trial

On June 13, 2012, Raul Rodriguez was convicted of fatally shooting his unarmed neighbor, Kelly Danaher, during a 2010 altercation in Houston. Rodriguez now faces life in prison.

According to a report from the Huffington Post on June 14th:

Rodriguez was angry about the noise coming from Danaher's home, where the family was having a birthday party for Danaher's wife and young daughter. Rodriguez went to the home and got into an argument with Danaher and two other men attending the party.

In a 22-minute video he recorded that night, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher "my life is in danger now" and "these people are going to go try and kill me." He then said, "I'm standing my ground here," and shot Danaher after somebody appeared to grab his camera. The two other men were wounded.

During the trail, Rodriguez's lawyers attempted and failed to justify the shooting using ALEC's "Stand Your Ground" model bill. According to the bill (which was amended in 2007 to extend a person’s right to use deadly force beyond the home and to vehicles and workplaces), the use of deadly force is allowed if the defender has not provoked the attacker or been involved in criminal activity at the time. Since the revisions of the Castle Doctrine in 2007 through Senate Bill 378, the “self-defense” justification has been extended considerably.

Thankfully, the court found that in no way did encroaching on your neighbor’s property, bullying partygoers with deadly threats, or exacerbating a noise complaint into a homicide constitute “self-defense." Sadly, Texas law has created a culture and environment where citizens feel justified to shoot first and ask questions later.