Lawmaker Announces Bill to 'Repeal' "Stand Your Ground"

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A Spartanburg lawmaker has introduced legislation which aims to get rid of South Carolina's "Stand Your Ground" law.

The "Stand Your Ground" defense has already been used in some court cases, and is being used in the recent stabbing death of a Dutch Fork High School student.

The laws were passed in the state back 2006 when they were added on to what is known as the Castle Doctrine, which gives a person his or her right to defend their castle. Rep. Harold Mitchell, D-Spartanburg, says his legislation only aims to leave that part of the law standing.

"'Stand Your Ground' is last man standing," Mitchell said. "We're taking back. Taking back the "Stand Your Ground," and protecting the citizens of this state."

Mitchell was accompanied by fellow lawmakers and a number of supporters holding signs that read "Repeal "Stand Your Ground."

Under the Castle Doctrine, a person has the right to defend their home or vehicle using "deadly force," but that person cannot be "engaged in an unlawful activity," or be using the home or vehicle to "further an unlawful activity."

Mitchell said his legislation is intended to keep those aspects intact.

Under "Stand Your Ground" laws, a person "has no duty to retreat," and can "meet force with force," which is what Mitchell said his legislation would remove.

Deatra Niles' son, 17-year-old Darrell Niles was fatally shot outside a Columbia home in 2010. The homeowner told police his daughter was being followed., and when shots were fired, the homeowner fired back killing Darrell Niles, an innocent bystander.

A judge later sided with the homeowner, citing the state's "Stand Your Ground" laws, and leaving Darrell's mother to believe the law needs to be changed.

"The law need (sic) to go," Niles said. "That's my thought. It just need to go. I don't want that to happen to no one (sic) else's family and then (the person in question) use the 'Stand Your Ground' law."

State Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, defends the law, and is using it to defend his client,18-year-old Kierin Dennis, who is charged with stabbing 17-year-old Davon Capers to death last month.

"If you are standing, or someone is standing in the Statehouse," Rutherford said as an example, "and they are approached by someone wielding a knife who intends to cut them, what Rep. Mitchell wants them to do is run home? It's just not logical. It doesn't make sense."

The bill now sits in a House judiciary sub-committee.

Mitchell said he is hoping to move the bill forward by next month.


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