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Old November 21, 2017, 04:44 PM   #1
TailGator
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Road rage incident with a twist

An interesting situation is developing in a small town in Florida. A man named Dennis Hicks got angry with another motorist at a light, and then challenged and threatened to shoot a different person in another car at the next light, named Timothy Sartori, apparently just for looking over at him. When the angry man "reached for something," Sartori opened fire and killed Hicks.

Sartori has not been charged. The investigating authority is not yet saying whether a gun was found in Hicks' car. It does not appear that Sartori saw a weapon, only that Hicks reached for "something" after threatening Sartori. Hicks was no gem, according to newspaper accounts, but it is not at all clear to me that Sartori can articulate a clear threat without having seen a weapon.

The other thing that could harm Sartori is that four of his shots hit another car. Thankfully, neither the driver of that car nor his 3-year-old passenger was injured. Imagine hitting a 3-year-old with stray shots.

Comments, especially from our legal professionals, are welcome. The most recent article with a description of the shooting is linked below. The only more recent publication is one that gives the name of the shooter, but it lacks the details of the linked article.

http://treasurecoast.fl.newsmemory.c...id_subscriber&

ETA: The link isn't working the same as when I copied it. To see the article I intended, you have to use the "Editions" button at the far right to change to the Press Journal, then go to page A10. Or you could take my word for it.

Last edited by TailGator; November 21, 2017 at 04:55 PM.
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Old November 21, 2017, 05:02 PM   #2
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Impossible to know for sure, and enraged people can be unpredictable. But Hicks might have a different version of events if he were still alive. Perhaps he would tell us that Sartori was not just 'looking' at him, maybe he was laughing at the road-rager, or making fun of him?

I've done that a time or two myself.

If not though, if Sartori was truly in fear for his life, I would hope he could clearly articulate in court what made him believe he was in true danger. If I drew down on everyone who said they would shoot me, I would consider myself a fool.
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Old November 21, 2017, 08:25 PM   #3
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It sounds like Sartori will have a difficult time showing ability in order to justify self-defense.
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Old November 22, 2017, 11:10 AM   #4
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I'll follow this with interest. I've always wondered if a clearly articulated threat of violence meant that the target of the threats could retaliate with actual violence and claim self defense. This is an ideal case study.

Does "I'm going to kill you!" alone justify lethal force? I guess we'll find out.
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Old November 22, 2017, 11:46 AM   #5
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I've always wondered if a clearly articulated threat of violence meant that the target of the threats could retaliate with actual violence and claim self defense.
A "clearly articulated threat" might meet the jeopardy requirement , but as Bart pointed out, the issue will revolve on ability.

And no, one may not retaliate and successfully claim self defense.
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Old November 22, 2017, 08:44 PM   #6
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According to today's newspaper update, Sartori reported Hicks's words to be "I'm gonna put a bullet in your ass."
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Old November 22, 2017, 11:50 PM   #7
john in jax
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Florida Law/satute
776.013 Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use:
(a) Nondeadly 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; or
(b) 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.
(Occupied vehicles are included in the above)

Since there is not an clearly obvious physically present (by way of say a firearm) threat of immediate death or great bodily harm it does seem to make that "reasonably believes" part a little harder to swallow.

However, at what point do YOU reasonably believe . . .? Are you going to wait for the bad guy to be actually pointing something at you? Going to take time to make sure it is a gun, and not a toy or innocuous object? You can always second guess in these situations, but until you are there . . .
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Old November 23, 2017, 12:25 AM   #8
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Too many miles

It just gets worse and worse out on the road. I spend way too much time on it. The classic travelling salesman....I think the issue today is not enough farmers daughters. Wayyyy to much built up stress.

Seriously tho, having reached my 6th decade I've learned along the way. I don't look at the driver, just monitor the position of their vehicle for safety in traffic.

I don't honk, no middle fingers, no nothin. Too many wound up way to tight folks out there.
There is something about that steel cage that brings out the worst in certain people.

I'd like to reach my 7th 8th or even 9th decade too.
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Old November 23, 2017, 03:36 AM   #9
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There's something about The Road that can turn stable men into total animals...
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Old November 23, 2017, 12:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Model12Win View Post
There's something about The Road that can turn stable men into total animals...
Driving under the speed limit in the left lane is one of the somethings that set people off. Roads are clogged with brain dead people that only think of themselves, they do not show courtesy or repect. Its amazing there isnt more violence on the road. Like Ricklin, I do not engage anyone when driving.

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Old November 24, 2017, 04:29 PM   #11
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I haven't seen any updates on this in a couple of days, including word on whether a gun was found in Hicks's car; the holiday may be a factor in the speed of the investigation and/or the reporting, of course.

There is a dichotomy in this story to be considered. A person who acts when Sartori did might well have legal problems, as folks here have observed. But a person who is sitting in a car and waits until he clearly sees the firearm in the hand of a person in another car may have survival problems. The car door provides concealment to the BG until he raises his pistol past the bottom of the window, at which time there is very little time to react. Tough situation with tough choices, balancing tactics with legalities. Driving away is of course the best choice, but I know the area enough to realize that it may not have been possible.
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Old November 24, 2017, 05:52 PM   #12
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The Police have been involved in several shootings, against unarmed Black men, and been exonerated, due to circumstances? This sounds like one of those.
Standing, in front of an irate man, and he swept his coat back, I would much prefer throwing a punch, or kick, quicker by far, than going for a concealed gun!

Before you ask, yes, I have done that a lot!
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Old November 26, 2017, 10:23 AM   #13
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One of the shooters bullets struck another car with a 3 year old inside.
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Old November 26, 2017, 10:37 AM   #14
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However, at what point do YOU reasonably believe . . .? Are you going to wait for the bad guy to be actually pointing something at you? Going to take time to make sure it is a gun, and not a toy or innocuous object? You can always second guess in these situations, but until you are there . . .
Someone will "second guess" in such a situation, and decide whether a reasonable person, knowing what he knew at the time, acted properly.
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Old November 26, 2017, 02:13 PM   #15
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sometimes it's easy to tell when the shooter acted through sheer stupidity or ignorance, shooting when it was clear (to any "reasonable" person) that the shooter's ideas of "reasonable" were clearly and completely wrong.

As a supreme court justice once said, "i can't define it but I know it when I see it."

a jury may ultimately be called forward to make a determination about what was reasonable, and IMO, the facts will be pretty clear. Either twelve jurors believe that he was perfectly within his rights in the shooting, and fully justified in pulling the trigger, or those jurors will rightly believe that he did wait until a proper time and acted in a proper manner and that the shooting was justified.

Fear of being bitch slapped by a drunken individual can't really be seen as reason to kill or even use deadly force by most "reasonable" persons,but most reasonable people will agree that if man kong has threatened you with a beat down and is aggressively approaching you with a lethal weapon that you can reasonably be in fear of grievous bodily harm or even death.

The jurisdiction and laws will be consulted and the individual prosecutor will decide whether there will be a trial for an illegal shooting. The jury, hopefully composed of "reasonable" people, intelligent, open minded, moral, ethical people will do what is right, deciding whether the person acted reasonably and in good faith. It's always possible that a juror may be selected who defines the code and the actions in a way that isn't truly in the spirit of the protective laws.

life isn't "fair", chaos rules all aspects of life, many people deliberately choose to make life even less fair and more chaotic. They can often be defined by code as criminals. I genuinely believe that the majority of US citizens support the criminal in petty crimes, vehicle, shoplifting, etc. almost every person in this country will stand by their teenager who has stolen a CD, or copied a movie. It's sad that people will lie and fight against justice when their hoodlum kid who has run wild in the streets ever since he was a child beats or kills a neighbor.
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Old November 26, 2017, 02:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Tail Gator wrote:
A person who acts when Sartori did might well have legal problems, as folks here have observed. But a person who is sitting in a car and waits until he clearly sees the firearm in the hand of a person in another car may have survival problems.
Yes, and although it may sound manifestly unfair, circumstances can sometimes present us with choices where all outcomes are undesirable and as you stated it, Mr. Sartori's choice may well have come down to: 1) die or 2) live, but spend much, if not all of it, in jail.
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Old November 26, 2017, 06:44 PM   #17
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TailGator

I haven't seen any updates on this in a couple of days, including word on whether a gun was found in Hicks's car; the holiday may be a factor in the speed of the investigation and/or the reporting, of course.

There is a dichotomy in this story to be considered. A person who acts when Sartori did might well have legal problems, as folks here have observed. But a person who is sitting in a car and waits until he clearly sees the firearm in the hand of a person in another car may have survival problems. The car door provides concealment to the BG until he raises his pistol past the bottom of the window, at which time there is very little time to react. Tough situation with tough choices, balancing tactics with legalities. Driving away is of course the best choice, but I know the area enough to realize that it may not have been possible.

Interesting - Seams it will be real important whether or not
Hicks was reaching for a gun!
Another news or police reporting lacking important details.
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Old November 26, 2017, 10:11 PM   #18
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Can I point out that the shooter had already drawn and had the guy at a disadvantage?

He had his gun in his hand, aimed at the aggressor, and fired a number of wild shots before the guy even presented any sort of tangible threat, didn't he?

we have only his statement that guy in the car next to him came up and yelled at him, threatening his life. Yet with no evidence of an actual, physical danger, he came up blasting like a nut.

Again, his target was in his sights before there was even a threat. Wouldn't a "reasonable person" think that maybe the shooter could have held fire until he actually saw a physical threat?

Sitting at my desk here, I can see absolutely nowhere to give him benefit of doubt. This is not like the westerns,where the bad guy has to draw first so the good guy can shoot the gun out of his hands. The laws, however, usually require that there is an evident threat, and yelling don't feed the kitties.
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Old November 27, 2017, 07:10 AM   #19
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In addition to the question of whether Hicks had a gun, there's the question of Sartori's knowledge of events between Hicks and the other driver. The question of Hicks' ability to harm Sartori is still there, but Sartori's knowledge also goes to the reasonableness of any belief that he held in regards to Hicks.
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Old November 27, 2017, 12:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
briandg wrote:
As a supreme court justice once said, "i can't define it but I know it when I see it."
The Supreme Court Justice was Potter Stewart. The case was Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184. The matter concerned whether a motion picture was "obscene" as defined under state statute and the quote, in relevant part, is:

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."
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Old November 27, 2017, 12:38 PM   #21
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There are 2 things going on here:
1) A real life example that we can think thru before/if we were to be in that situation.
2) How we view the situation from a jurors perspective.
It hard not to mix the 2 up!

PLUS, One of my pet-peeves that I see getting worse and worse:
Police reporting and/or Media reporting lack of simple facts.
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