Zimmerman Preview? Florida Man Denied Use “Stand Your Ground” Law

In a case with some similarities to the George Zimmerman case, Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody has denied the use of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law in a shooting in September 2010 where an older man wrestled with a younger man on a basketball court. As with Zimmerman, Trevor Dooley, 69, had a gun permit and insisted that the younger man, David James, started the fight. In this case it was a black man shooting a white man, though the case has not generated the attention or controversy of the Zimmerman. Dooley is charged with manslaughter in James’ death.

James and his 8-year-old daughter Danielle were playing basketball on the court when a teenager entered the court on a skateboarder. Dooley told the teen that he was not allowed to skateboard on the court and was confronted by James who demanded that Dooley show him the sign that says no skateboarding. The teen was Dooley’s neighbor.

What followed as a shouting match and, what Dooley described, as a shoving match with James as the aggressor. Dooley says that he showed James his gun and shot James only after he was in fear of serious bodily injury. Notably, James’ daughter, aged 10, became a defense witness. She said that her father was “on top” of Dooley “to keep him down so he could actually get the answer” about where the sign was.

However, Moody still ruled that “…the evidence showed that Mr. James had not been threatening or aggressive in any way toward Defendant, although he did appear to be shocked, defensive, loud, upset and agitated. It was not until Defendant 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.”

That is precisely the type of ruling that prosecutors hope for in the trial of Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin. However, the Dooley case again shows how Special Prosecutor seriously over-charged the case against Zimmerman who is facing not a manslaughter charge but a second-degree murder charge. While Angela Corey insisted that the campaign for a criminal charge had no impact on her decision-making, the actual charge is disconnected with the criminal code and practices.

Source: ABC

54 thoughts on “Zimmerman Preview? Florida Man Denied Use “Stand Your Ground” Law

  1. Some states have a variation of stand your ground which is stand your ground on your own front door or porch. Florida gives you the right to stand your ground at the Ok Corral. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. Professor Turley, this is not analogous, with all due respect. It also doesn’t show that the Zimmerman case was over-charged, with the same respect. In this case, a confrontation had begun, largely thanks to the victim’s conduct toward the defendant, and they both knew each other. The older man not only had a reason to be where he was, doing what he was doing (minding his own business, playing basketball on a basketball court), but the younger man DID come into his “space” in a public place and did deliberately confront the older man.

    You have several elements of this crime:

    Identification of victim and defendant
    Challenging and potentially threatening behavior initiated by one of them
    Responsive challenging and potentially threatening behavior

    How do they compare in the Zimmerman and Dooley cases?

    Idenfication of victim and defendant: (And here, I do not mean black and white, I mean, how did they identify each other?)

    Z case: Defendant did not even know the victim; he saw him and profiled him as someone who needed to be dealt with by law enforcement or, lacking that, by self-appointed law enforcement; Victim did not know Defendant and only identified him as “creepy” and “crazy” stranger who was following him for unknown motive.

    D Case: Defendant and Victim knew each other. Not friends.

    Challenging and potentially threatening behavior initiated by one of them

    Z case: Defendant did both challenge and threaten.

    D case: Victim challenged and threatened first, but rather ineffectually; then Defendant threatened, very convincingly.

    Responsive challenging and potentially threatening behavior

    Z case: Presumably Victim responded with as much challenging and threatening behavior as he could muster

    D case: Obviously Defendant responded with as much challenging and threatening behavior as he could muster

    Z Case: The person who initiated the challenge and threat then escalated it and killed.

    D case: The person who RESPONDED to the initial challenge and threat then escalated it and killed.


    Z case: The one who started it finished it — fatally.
    D case: The one who responded finished it — fatally.

    AND OF COURSE, the ending was much different because Dooley was arrested, charged, tried and convicted. The lesser charge in the Dooley case does NOT prove that the Zimmerman case was overcharged. It proves that they were VERY different cases and cannot be compared in terms of the standing of one’s ground OR the degree of criminal intent in the homicide itself.

    By the way, the reason there was an uproar in Zimmerman/Martin and NONE in this case is NOT because of the race of the shooter and victim; it is because the SHOOTER WAS ACTUALLY ARRESTED and charged with the crime. If you will recall, the reason for the uproar in Zimmerman was that the police failed to take the matter seriously, let Zimmerman go, and failed to even take the witnesses’ statements pursuant to protocol!

  3. I haven’t checked back in here nfor some time but i see that again people are making judgments on cases that they have NOT researched, even replying to me that have not done so. Do your research and don’t worry about replying to me because you have not done it. Marissa Alexander was wrong and she should have taken the plea for 3 years. It was offered due to the mitigating factor of the DV. There was a 911 call that shows where the ex-husband clearly stated thst he was leaving and she stated she had something for him and then shot at him AND the 2 children not once but twice. As fro Trevor Dooley there were plenty of witnesses who saw what happened. He brandished the weapon in front of other people including 2 children. He was not touched until the weapon came out. Please don’t reply to me because you only show your ignorance and since you seem to be only on the side of the AA people in these cases, I can see where your loyalties lie and it certainly isn’t to the truth.

  4. Another needless death of a black youth by a raging gun nut in Florida:


    “Jordan Russell Davis, 17, and several other teenagers were sitting in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot when Dunn pulled up next to them in a car and asked them to turn down their music, [Jacksonville sheriff’s Lt. Rob] Schoonover said.
    Jordan and Dunn exchanged words, and Dunn pulled a gun and shot eight or nine times, striking Jordan twice, Schoonover said. Jordan was sitting in the back seat. No one else was hurt.Dunn’s attorney Monday said her client acted responsibly and in self-defense. She did not elaborate.”

    I hope this mans shooting days are over

    • Since I view this as a terrorist, hate crime, I hope that Dunn gets the death penalty. The poor kids were committing the “crimes” of being black in their own HS school parking lot. They also committed the other crime of being in an SUV which as all white Southern rednecks KNOW are reserved only for white folks.

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