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23 April 2012

Georgia Carry.org Asks Court to Dismiss Challenge to State's Stand Your Ground Law

About three weeks ago, the Reverend Markel Hutchins filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Georgia's Stand Your Ground law.

Hutchins has suffered no actual injury. Hutchins does not allege any facts by which conclude that an injury is imminent. Any injury Hutchins may suffer in the future is completely speculative or hypothetical.


Hutchins, who claims to "represent all Georgians" in his legal action, says the so-called Stand Your Ground law, "unconstitutionally violates the equal protection rights of minorities."

"As the Act removes any need to retreat prior to the use of deadly force, an individual is able to kill a victim and use their race as relevant evidence of their reasonable fear that justified their invocation of self-defense," Hutchins argues in his suit. "For this reason, the Act provides differing levels of protection and justification to individuals based upon their race violating the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Essentially, Markel Hutchins believes an old white lady might avoid prosecution if she claims she stood her ground when shooting a young black man; but, a young black man would have the book thrown at him if he said he stood his ground when shooting an old white woman. Hutchins even says as much in his legal pleadings.

Georgia Carry.org, an organization that believes the "citizens of Georgia and the United States have the right to own and carry the firearm of their choice for any reason other than to commit a crime," obviously disagrees with the premise of Hutchins lawsuit.

Georgia Carry.org filed a motion, April 19th, asking the Court for permission to intervene in the case. Georgia Carry.org also asked the Court to dismiss the Hutchins lawsuit on the basis that Markel Hutchins has no standing to file suit against the Stand Your Ground law.

A motion to intervene, according to Wikipedia, allows an individual or organization not listed in the litigation (in this case, Georgia Carry.org) to join the legal action if a judgment may affect their rights.

Georgia Carry.org makes the argument that the Hutchins lawsuit would adversely affect approximately 6,000 members of their group.

"The disposition of this case could impede or impair Intervenor’s members’ abilities to use arms in case of confrontation, and could subject them to criminal liability for conduct that otherwise would have been innocent on account of the affirmative defense of justification," Georgia Carry.org argues.

Georgia Carry.org is saying that if Stand Your Ground is overturned, Georgians defending themselves or their property against thugs and hoodlums might be prosecuted for defending themselves or their property against thugs and hoodlums.

The motion to dismiss, filed by Georgia Carry.org, says Markel Hutchins "utterly lacks any semblance of standing to bring his case and thus this Court has no jurisdiction to proceed." In addition, Georgia Carry.org argues that Markel Hutchins has not suffered an injury as a result of Stand Your Ground being on the books.

"He has suffered no actual injury. He does not allege any facts by which conclude that an injury is imminent. Any injury he may suffer in the future is completely speculative or hypothetical," reads the Georgia Carry.org Motion to Dismiss. "He does not like the law and wishes it did not exist, but it has no bearing on his life beyond that."

It should be interesting to see how this case proceeds, but I think Hutchins' lawsuit is frivolous. I agree with Georgia Carry.org that Markel Hutchins is trying to overturn a law he does not like. And I would remind Markel Hutchins that a black man, 84-year-old Frank Sams of Augusta, shot a black woman who burglarized his home and avoided prosecution due to Georgia's so-called Stand Your Ground law.

Stand Your Ground gives additional legal protections to law-abiding citizens, regardless of race, in defending themselves, their home, and their property.

Below are all the legal pleadings relating to the Hutchins lawsuit:

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (Hutchins v. Deal);
Brief in Support of Motion to Intervene (Georgia Carry.org);
Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Georgia Carry.org).