The S.C. Supreme Court ruled this week on the state’s Stand Your Ground (SYG) law – although it wound up sidestepping a major issue in the application of the statute.
According to the court’s ruling, anyone who kills or wounds another and invokes the SYG law in an effort to gain immunity from prosecution – and is denied that immunity by the trial judge – cannot delay his trial during the appeal. This ruling came after the court heard an emergency appeal from Gregg Isaac, who attempted to assert immunity under the Palmetto State’s SYG provision in the 2005 burglary and shooting death of Antonio Corbitt.
The irony in this case? Isaac and another defendant, Tavares World, were invading Corbitt’s home at the time the shooting took place.
Isaac claims he fired because Corbitt appeared to be reaching for a gun. Judge Clifton Newman rejected Isaac’s claim, stating that “It borders on the preposterous for the defendant in this case to claim he was acting lawfully and had the right to kill Mr. Corbitt.”
We agree. Once you invade someone else’s home, you give up the right to “stand your ground” when the occupant asserts his own right of self-defense under the Castle Doctrine.
Unfortunately, the S.C. Supreme Court sidestepped the issue of whether a defendant can assert SYG immunity if he is invading another’s home by denying Isaac’s appeal on the basis that SYG became state law in 2006 – and could not be applied retroactively to Isaac’s 2005 case (which is scheduled to go to trial on September 30).
The court did rule in the event a pretrial motion for immunity under SYG is denied by the judge, the trial must proceed at that time – and the defendant may appeal the SYG ruling only after the trial if he is found guilty.
Frankly, this whole thing is ridiculous. And the court looks ridiculous for taking a pass on the home invader component of the case …