A Jacksonville teen was recently arrested on charges that he shot a man inside his garage and then chased him, shooting him again, News4Jax.com reports.
Gun charges in Jacksonville, especially those involving juveniles, can be some of the most contentious. That’s because the State Attorney’s Office often wants to prove a point and make a statement with a long prison sentence in order to serve as a deterrent for others. But a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney wants leniency, to show that the young adult has learned the lesson and will curtail the behavior in the future.
It is a battle that is fought every day in every courthouse across the United States. There is a fine line between age and punishment that must be walked gingerly in order to ensure justice and not irreparably harm the defendant.
According to the news report, the 19-year-old was inside a house he was staying at with some others when around noon his girlfriend was walking down the stairs and saw a person’s reflection on a television stand and told the teen someone was breaking into the house.
Police say the teen got a shotgun and loaded three rounds, finding an 18-year-old in the garage. Police say the two know each other, but the 19-year-old pointed the gun at the younger teen and fired, hitting him in the chest.
Police say the 19-year-old then chased the alleged victim from the garage to the back of the house, where he shot him two more times. The man was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. The 19-year-old faces a charge of attempted murder. Now an adult, the juvenile system will no longer be available to him.
Police say there was no sign of forced entry and that the front door was unlocked and the garage open at the time. The shooting was initially reported to be a burglary and police are looking for two other people wanted in connection with the case. Prosecutors said witnesses revealed that the two other people were running from the house because they heard gunshots.
This is an interesting case because at first glance, it appears that self-defense could come into play. Under Florida’s Castle Doctrine as well as the Stand Your Ground laws, a person has no obligation to retreat from his or her home. If a person feels threatened, they are allowed to use force to protect their property, even deadly force. However, prosecutors also often look at the appropriateness of the response.
If this teenager did, in fact, know the alleged victim, there may have been bad blood and he may have had a reasonable fear that he was going to come after him. Running after him after allegedly shooting him once could hurt that defense, however. The fact that police are looking for two other people may shed some light on the whole situation.
In these cases, consulting a lawyer immediately is critical. Being represented before others are taken into custody and have a chance to talk — or deal — with authorities, can go a long way toward ensuring the best outcome possible in your case.
The Forbess Law Firm has been helping clients facing criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today through our website. Or call us at 904-634-0900.
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Jacksonville man Faces Gun Charges After Shots Outside Nightclub: August 5, 2011