South Carolina Father Wins Self-Defense Immunity in Shooting of Bystander

Hey folks,
A father in South Carolina who fired his handgun in self-defense–and in the process killing an apparent innocent bystander–has successfully argued that he is not subject to criminal or civil liability under the state’s self-defense immunity law.

South Carolina’s self-defense immunity statute–§16-11-450. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil actions; law enforcement officer exception; costs.–is essentially identical to Florida’s self-defense immunity statute currently under legislative review (as covered by Legal Insurrection here)–§776.032. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

Darrel Niles, a purported bystander killed by Shannon Scott firing in defense of himself and his family.

The Issue Is Self-Defense Immunity, Not “Stand Your Ground”

As is frequently the case in Florida, news coverage of this case invariably conflates the state’s self-defense immunity statute with other legal provisions involving issues of retreat, incorrectly referring to such immunity hearings as “Stand Your Ground” hearings. In fact, as was the case with the George Zimmerman trial, this South Carolina case had nothing whatever to do with Stand Your Ground, which is covered by completely different South Carolina statutes (§16-11-420. Intent and findings of General Assembly and §16-11-440. Presumption of reasonable fear of imminent peril when using deadly force against another unlawfully entering residence, occupied vehicle or place of business.)

For my full-length write-up of this case, check out my post over at Legal Insurrection:

South Carolina Father Wins Self-Defense Immunity in Shooting of Bystander

Also, don’t forget my Law of Self Defense Seminar taking place in Columbia, South Carolina, in just about a week (October 19).  For more info, click here.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.

In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country, with upcoming seminars scheduled for Columbia SC (10/19), Atlanta GA (11/16), and Epping NH (11/24, at the SigSauer Academy, where Andrew is a Guest Instructor). Click here for reviews of recently completed seminars in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @LawSelfDefense and using #LOSD2, on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.

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