A recent shooting in St. Lucie County, Fla., resulted in the death of a boat shop owner. However, the state’s Stand Your Ground law has resulted in prosecutors declining to press charges.
The shooting, according to the Treasure Coast Palm, occurred when an argument turned into a fight, which got out of hand. It resulted in multiple shots fired, with two people shot – one of whom died – along with the shooter and one other taken to the hospital.
Argument Over Civil Suit Results In Shooting
According to Treasure County Palm, David Silva Jr (64, of Port St. Lucie) and Joseph Bernard Tenore, 21, went to Specialized Marine Services on March 1, 2022. Silva and Tenore were the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against Joseph Warren Tenore, 39, the younger Tenore’s father and former son-in-law of Silva’s.
The younger Tenore and Silva were suing the elder Tenore and Michael Sadlon, an associate of the elder Tenore’s, stemming from an incident where Sadlon allegedly struck Silva with one of the boat shop’s work trucks.
Silva and Tenore stopped to take pictures of the truck as evidence for the pending suit when Sadlon and the elder Tenore noticed them. An argument ensued, which turned into a fight. Both Joseph Warren Tenore and Silva called the police, reporting the fight.
During the brawl, Sadlon put Silva on the ground and allegedly choked him. The elder Tenore began beating his son with a length of pipe. Silva pulled a pistol out of his pocket and fired at Sadlon as he fled, which struck him in the ankle.
Silva then shot the elder Tenore twice, striking him in the arm and abdomen. The younger Tenore called police at 644 P.M. after the shots had been fired, reporting that two men had attacked him and his grandfather. Silva and Joseph Bernard Tenore were taken to the hospital but released.
State Attorney Declines To File Charges Citing Stand Your Ground Law
Assistant State Attorney Justin Cormier released his office’s decision on Nov. 3, 2022, with 18 pages of background investigation. Cormier concluded that Florida’s stand-your-ground law essentially established that Silva had grounds to claim self-defense and therefore exercise his prerogative to defend himself and others.
While noting that Silva could have gone back to his vehicle to avoid the tragic result, Cormier also noted that Florida law did not require him to. As a result, he had no duty to retreat, and as such, there was a good basis to believe a jury would have considered the shooting self-defense.
Stand Your Ground Laws Only Apply In Certain Circumstances
Contrary to popular belief, “stand your ground” laws only apply in certain circumstances. In other words, your claim of self-defense has to occur under the set of circumstances described by law, and the prosecuting attorney – or, failing that, a jury – has to believe so as well.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law requires a person to be in a residence, dwelling, structure, vehicle, or other places where they have a right to be. It also provides a defense to using deadly force if the person claiming the defense (i.e., the shooter) reasonably believes they must do so to prevent the death or great bodily harm of themselves or another.
It is not a blanket defense to any use of deadly force. It’s only an affirmative defense if the circumstances are deemed to fit. It’s just that, in this case…they were.