After his first conviction was thrown out, a second jury this month found a Jacksonville night club security guard not guilty of aggravated battery and another felony charge stemming from a 2012 shooting. The jury instead found the man was acting in self-defense when he fired a shot at the car of a woman who repeatedly came back to the club, yelling obscenities and threatening the guard, including saying she had a gun, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The woman was intoxicated and had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, the newspaper reported. When she continued to come back and yell racial slurs at the guard, he had armed himself with a shotgun and tried to shoot her car door with a pepper ball shot, the newspaper reported. Instead, he hit her in the eye.
He was initially charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and shooting deadly missiles into a vehicle. Both charges are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. There could also have been minimum mandatory charges that applied because the defendant discharged a firearm, but there could be a gray area because his fired pepper ball shots, not actually bullets. In the first trial, the man was convicted of both charges. However, his attorneys appealed the conviction and it was overturned because of statements prosecutors made during closing arguments that could have hurt the defendant’s ability to have a fair trial, the newspaper reported. Because of the ruling, the man was granted a new trial and ultimately acquitted in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case. There are strict rules that govern what evidence can be submitted, what attorneys can discuss in front of a jury and exactly how criminal trials must proceed. These are in place to ensure that every person accused of a crime can receive a fair trial in front of a jury of his or her peers. In this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case, the defendant could have received 30 years in prison because of the first conviction.
Self-defense defenses can be tricky in Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases. One of the determining factors is often whether the person who pulls the trigger plays a role in instigating the incident or is truly defending him or herself. That was likely the factor in both decisions made by two different juries. It can be a risk to take Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases to trial, especially when minimum mandatory sentences of 20 years are also often hanging in the balance when someone discharges a firearm. Our Jacksonville Gun Crimes Attorney will thoroughly investigate the charges against you, explain what minimum mandatory charges, if any, would apply and provide you with the information you need to make a decision on how to proceed with the case.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Firearm Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.