Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Work Cited in a Knife Self-Defense Case


Case No. 6D23-509.

District Court of Appeal of Florida, Sixth District.

The defendant argued successfully that the trial court erred in failing to give his claim of self-defense proper consideration.  The case cites DC v. Heller (2008) for the right to armed self-defense of one's home and a law review article by Dave Kopel, Joe Olson and myself about how arms are protected by the Second Amendment.

Reading the appellate court decision, I find it entirely plausible that the defendant was engaged in lawful defense of his home against a guy with a BAC of .335%.


  1. Florida is touchy about Jury instructions. Even with all the pressure on the Zimmerman trial for a conviction, they did not dare to screw up with that.
    Dumb mistake by the judge.

  2. Side issue:

    “According to the medical examiner, a blood alcohol level of .335 would probably have rendered Zuniga comatose, unconscious, or asleep, and he would have had no purposeful movement.”

    When I was working as a medical first responder for my volunteer fire department, we had a late 30s alcoholic patient we visited frequently. She would pound down boxed red wine, get morose and depressed, and call 911 (often screaming).

    We would respond, help the EMTs load her in the ambulance to go to the ER to sober up under medical supervision. Lather rinse repeat about once per week until she died. The EMTs told us that sometimes she registered BAC as high as 0.5. Not a typo, not 0.05, but 0.5. That’s lethal for anyone who had not trained as hard as she did to tolerate alcohol.

    During every one of our visits she was completely awake, and relatively lucid. She was always in bed, and we always had to carry her out on a stretcher, but she did not actually give any indication of not being in physical control of her self, other than the screaming and crying. In other words, she was not comatose or incapable of purposeful movement.

    Not saying that that’s what was going on here, but BAC of 0.355 might not be unmanageable for a long-term alcoholic either.