Friday, July 22, 2005

Fatal shootings during illegal eviction are justifiable

The fatal shootings of two armed men who forced their way into a home to evict the tenant have been ruled justifiable self-defense.

The men -- armed with a gun, a knife and a bicycle chain -- were trying to evict Melvin Wilcox from his Jacksonville home but weren’t willing to wait for the police.

“It was not a legal eviction,” said Assistant State Attorney Alan Mizrahi. “You can’t evict someone without a police officer.”

Florida statutes prohibit so-called “self-help” evictions. Read the law here.

State Attorney Harry Shorstein has formally ruled out filing charges against Wilcox, saying he had the right to use deadly force to defend himself and his home.

Florida legislators expanded the justifiable homicide law last session, but Shorstein said Wilcox’s case would be self-defense even under the old law.

Read The Florida Times-Union stories here and here.

Thanks to April Charney of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid for the heads-up.


At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Juan Paxety said...

Speaking of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) I understand they've lost a lot of grant money they were expecting. If folks are looking for a charitable contribution, you might look there. (Not connected, etc.)

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to make a correction to your story regarding the eviction. I am the sister of one of the young men who was killed. As of this date we were told that there were no weapons on my brother or the other two people with the exception to the bicycle chain. My brothers personal possesions were just released to my family three weeks ago(a year and a week after his death) and the property room gave me the evidence " the bicycle chain". I am not even sure where this chain came from due to the fact that the package has on it, blue chain, date and time of recovery 7-16-05 and location of recovery medical examiners office. My brother was killed on July 9th?? According to my information the victoms were outside the home when murdered. I know at least my brother was, he was laying outside on the sidewalk and he had been shot in the ankle and neck so I don't believe he walked out. I cannot verify this information as a report has not been supplied to my family as far as the findings or the investigation. Thank you for allowing me to voice my comments.

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