When the sheriff refused to arrest Michael Drejka I wrote that I would be shocked if the State Attorney did not file charges against the man. That has happened and the only question is whether the defendant can present a credible claim of self-defense. I am convinced he cannot and he will accept a plea agreement. Self-defense is defined as the right of an innocent person to use a sufficient level of force to prevent unlawful injury to himself or other innocent parties. As a general rule, self-defense only justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat. Moreover, the use of force in self-defense generally loses justification once the threat has ended. For example, if an aggressor shoves a man to the ground but then ends the assault and performs an act that indicates there is no longer a threat, then the threat of danger has ended. Any use of force by the victim against the assailant at that point would be considered retaliatory and not self-defense. The following link gives a good analysis of the use of self-defense: Self-Defense Overview - FindLaw Willfully taking the life of another is a crime in any situation one could possibly imagine unless the law provides for a specific exception. When it comes to the use of deadly force the Florida Statutes are plain and unambiguous: 776.012 Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.— (1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force. (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony . A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be. History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1188, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2005-27; s. 3, ch. 2014-195. In interpreting law, a basis tenet is that each word is significant. In the quoted statute deadly force is allowed when one reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary. What is reasonable is a matter for the jury to decide. The jury is instructed to determine what a reasonably prudent man would have believed under the same circumstances . Here are the relevant portions of the exact jury instructions given in the George Zimmerman case relative to the issue of self defense: “A person is justified in using deadly force if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself. In deciding whether George Zimmerman was justified in the use of deadly force, you must judge him by the circumstances by which he was surrounded at the time the force was used. The danger facing George Zimmerman need not have been actual; however, to justify the use of deadly force, the appearance of danger must have been so real that a reasonably cautious and prudent person under the same circumstances would have believed that the danger could be avoided only through the use of that force. Based upon appearances, George Zimmerman must have actually believed that the danger was real.” Judge Debra Nelson – Jury Instructions for George Zimmerman Case | Genius The video clearly shows the victim merely shoved the defendant to the ground and then backed away. After the defendant drew his weapon the victim backed away even further. They appeared to be about 12 feet apart when the defendant shot the unarmed victim . I cannot comprehend how a reasonably prudent person could believe the victim posed an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the defendant. The bad news for the defendant is that most people who saw the video believe the defendant is guilty. I believe that around 80 percent of those who responded to a poll on USMB thought he should have been arrested. I am sure that figure would have been much higher if posters knew about other evidence against the defendant, and there is more: “Three other incidents involving Drejka are detailed in the affidavit that may also be used in trial under Florida's similar fact, or 'Williams Rule' evidence. While that evidence can not be solely relied on to convict Drejka, it can be used to show a pattern of conduct with a similar motive, lack of mistake or accident, or even proving identity. Witnesses involved in those incidents would have to testify themselves in court. “One incident reportedly occurred in the same parking lot of the Circle A store 3 months before McGlockton was shot. A septic truck driver parked in a handicapped spot, was confronted by Drejka. According to the affidavit, Drejka threatened to shoot the driver before he left in his truck, shouting racial slurs at the driver. Drejka then called the driver's boss to complain and ending the call by reportedly saying he was 'lucky he didn't blow his employee's head off.' “Two other road rage type incidents are also reported from 2012. One involves two teens stopping at a yellow light that was about to turn red on State Road 580. Drejka allegedly honks his horn and yells at the driver. At some point Drejka holds a handgun out the driver's side window. Neither of the teens decided to press charges. “Another incident occurred in December of 2012. A female driver told a Largo Police Officer that Drejka had pointed a gun at her and the people in her car. The affidavit goes on to say that the officer tracked down Drejka and spoke with him about what happened. Drejka reportedly complained that the woman was driving too slow in a school zone, but denied pulling out a gun. That driver then left the area.” Legal Battle Over Clearwater Shooting Case begins | 970 WFLA It was also obvious that at least some members who thought the defendant should not have been arrested relied on what the sheriff said: "Stand Your Ground allows for a subjective belief by the person that they are in harm's way....We don't get to substitute our judgment for Drejka's judgment …. The question is not what I would do, what you would do, what the public would do, what someone else would do …. What really matters, is the person's subjective determination of the circumstance they were in and the fear that they had.” ‘Stand Your Ground’ Did Not Kill Markeis McGlockton Well, the sheriff was wrong. The law does not allow the use of deadly force when one subjectively believes it is necessary; instead, it provides that deadly force is allowed only when one reasonably believes it is necessary and the jury gets to determine what is and what is not reasonable. The sheriff's interpretation of the law is both uninformed and illogical. I can only wonder how the sheriff can determine one's subjective state of mind. Apparently he relies solely upon what the person tells him! This has led some posters to believe that in Florida a person could kill someone and get away with it merely by claiming he believed it was necessary for self-defense. That's not the way we do things in my home state of Florida. CONCLUSION: All the evidence points to the fact that at the very moment the defendant pulled the trigger, he was not in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death; therefore the use of deadly force was unlawful. I believe the man will accept a plea agreement . I cannot believe that a jury would acquit him. I watched the video and if I were sitting on a jury I would find him guilty.