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Man says 'stand your ground' law saved his life

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Updated: 7/26/2013 11:18 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Just about 24 hours ago, a local man didn't know if he would be leaving the Duval County Courthouse a free man.

He faced three years in prison on an aggravated assault charge.  His attorney said he simply stood his ground.  And Thursday, a jury agreed.

The charge stemmed from a May 2011 confrontation in the parking lot of the Jacksonville Beach Pier.  A local man was left beaten and bloody after a fist fight.

He pulled his gun and was arrested.  But his attorney, Lee Lockett, says that should have never happened.

"My client was simply trying to get through the parking lot.  He was viciously attacked by the alleged victim," he said.

The case went to trial this week, where Lockett says he was able to prove this was a clear case of self-defense, a case where his client stood his ground.  He never fired his weapon.

"The citizen has to be acting in a lawful manner," said Lockett.  "They have to be in a place that they have a right to be in.  And they have to be in a lawful possession of a firearm."

Despite the bad press the law has gotten recently, Lockett says in this case, it did exactly what it was designed to do, protect a man who was under attack.

"The 'stand your ground' law was not enacted so that citizens can run around and become gun-toting, gun-wielding outlaws," said Lockett.  "His goal was to get these guys away from the scene and to secure the scene.  And that's what the law was enacted to do.  And that's why the jury found him not guilty."

Lockett says the jury only deliberated for three minutes.

The 'stand your ground' law was enacted in Florida in 2005. Since the death of Trayvon Martin, and the acquittal of his shooter, George Zimmerman, there have been calls to have it amended or repealed.

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