Obama co-sponsored Illinois law in 2004 to shield people who use self-defense from civil liability

posted at 5:21 pm on July 22, 2013 by Allahpundit

An irresistible gotcha from Illinois Review, although I’m with Joel Pollak in not seeing how this supposedly relates to “Stand Your Ground.” Here’s what Illinois says about self-defense:

Sec. 7-1. Use of force in defense of person.

(a) A person is justified in the use of force against another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or another against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, he is justified in the use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another, or the commission of a forcible felony.

That’s textbook, straightforward self-defense. If someone’s doing something to you that you reasonably believe is apt to cause great bodily harm, you’re legally entitled to kill them to protect yourself. A “Stand Your Ground” law of the sort Florida has would add an extra wrinkle to that: You’re not obliged to try to run before defending yourself. If a guy pulls a sword and rushes at Indiana Jones, Indy’s got to make his best effort to escape if the fight’s happening in a “duty to retreat” jurisdiction. In a “Stand Your Ground” jurisdiction, there’s no need. He’s perfectly legally entitled to pull his pistol and take him down, irrespective of whether there’s an escape opportunity. That’s the difference. I don’t see anything about SYG in the statute here.

Here’s what the bill co-sponsored by Obama added to the above:

(b) In no case shall any act involving the use of force justified under this Section give rise to any claim or liability brought by or on behalf of any person acting within the definition of “aggressor” set forth in Section 7-4 of this Article, or the estate, spouse, or other family member of such a person, against the person or estate of the person using such justified force, unless the use of force involves willful or wanton misconduct.

In other words, unless the defendant was engaged in “misconduct” when he used self-defense, he can’t even be sued for wrongful death by the family of the person he killed if that person was the “aggressor.” Self-defense is thus a shield to both criminal and civil liability. A lot of Zimmerman critics would be surprised, I’ll bet, to find that The One voted for a law like that in Illinois. But who’s an “aggressor” under the statute? Quote:

The justification described in the preceding Sections of this Article is not available to a person who:

(a) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(b) Initially provokes the use of force against himself, with the intent to use such force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant; or

(c) Otherwise initially provokes the use of force against himself, unless:

(1) Such force is so great that he reasonably believes that he is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, and that he has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or

(2) In good faith, he withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

Two questions. One: Would Trayvon Martin have qualified as an “aggressor” under this law if the shooting had happened in Illinois? It would depend, it seems, on whether the beating he gave Zimmerman rose to the level of a forcible felony. If so, then the Martin family’s wrongful death suit would be barred — thanks to the bill Obama co-sponsored. Two: Would Zimmerman have qualified as an “aggressor” under subsection (c) of this law? Note that there is a duty to retreat specified here, which makes the claim that O’s bill had something to do with “Stand Your Ground” even more confounding. I think Zimmerman would end up off the hook in Illinois too, even if the jury concluded that he had provoked Martin to use force against him, because the beating Martin gave him exposed him to a risk of great bodily harm and he really had no opportunity to retreat according to his own version of what happened. Martin hit him, he went down, Martin jumped on top of him, and then hit him some more. No retreat possible. Unless I’m missing something, O’s civil-liability shield would have applied to Zimmerman. And that’s the real story here — not that O’s a hypocrite on “Stand Your Ground” per se, but that, as Pollak says, adding extra legal immunity to self-defense in Illinois is an inducement to the public to use it. That’s very different from what his supporters want in a legal regime right now.


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“It was my Doppelgänger” — obama

Schadenfreude on July 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Obama: That bill didn’t apply to Hispanics.

faraway on July 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Minor detail. Teh Won already forgot.

nor on July 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

As Bugs Bunny would say: “What an ultra-moroon.”

oldroy on July 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Obama: I have evolved since then.

Liam on July 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

See? — This is what happens when you don’t vote ‘present’ every single time on any possible controversial issue. No wonder Obama’s so high on that ‘leading from behind’ type of executive authority.

jon1979 on July 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

For a guy who’s statements are rendered obsolete with weeks of being said, this being 9 years old, is most definitely “no longer operative”.

dirtseller on July 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Obama: That bill didn’t apply to gay-rapist-black-peruvian White-Hispanics.

faraway on July 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Really. At this point can’t you get any of this straight?

Sheesh.

oldroy on July 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM

there is much that senator much less state senator 0bama disagrees with president 0bama….except infanticide and being a racist.

jukin3 on July 22, 2013 at 5:30 PM

If a guy pulls a sword and rushes at Indiana Jones, Indy’s got to make his best effort to escape if the fight’s happening in a “duty to retreat” jurisdiction.

Is this actual state law somewhere, that by law a person is required to run away from a threat whenever possible? If so, what brainless fools would actually create such legislation.

Bishop on July 22, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Obviously, the political winds have lurched to the left.

How’s that “fundamental transformation” working out for everyone again?

Meople on July 22, 2013 at 5:32 PM

I co-sponsored stupidly.

John the Libertarian on July 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Barry was for standing your ground before he was against it (and he’ll be for it again, as soon as one of his flunkies explains to him that SYG laws help blacks disproportionately more than whites).

AZCoyote on July 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

He only co-sponsored it. He probably figured they’d have to pass the bill before they could find out what’s in it.

rbj on July 22, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Awwww. The lawyers are confused over when you can take out a thug and when you can’t. What does this law mean, what does that law mean? Can we shoot em in Florida but not in Illinois?

Our POTUS has taught us that laws are meaningless, so what difference does it make now?

OK bad guys, better watch your step from now on.

fogw on July 22, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Present.

davidk on July 22, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Shelf life.

a capella on July 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

As the political winds shift, so do Obama’s positions on the issues.

But this little bit of hypocrisy exposed is sweet. Extra sweet.

novaculus on July 22, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Useful Idiot

Bmore on July 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

I`m sure bringing this up is racist or something.

ThePrez on July 22, 2013 at 5:41 PM

And that’s the real story here — not that O’s a hypocrite on “Stand Your Ground” per se, but that, as Pollak says, adding extra legal immunity to self-defense in Illinois is an inducement to the public to use it. That’s very different from what his supporters want in a legal regime right now.

Oh yeah, well, that’s “intellectually dishonest” for reasons I won’t bother to explain because trying to make people incapable of critical thinking understand would be a waste of my time .

Instead lets talk about this…

“Jefferson…owned slaves…Racism is not exclusively the province of rabid, hood wearing Klan members…racism whether it is Jefferson’s ownership of black slaves, the Klan’s burning down black churches or George Zimmerman’s presumption that Trayvon Martin was a burglar…Jefferson’s … desire/need to increase his income with slave labor… Klan members … George Zimmerman genuinely believed black youth to be threats … Once we stop understanding racism as “evil” … “conversation” about race… some racism *IS* about rabid hatred … the problem with conservative post-racialism … the race problem … black people and the race problem … the race problem by eliminating black people from voting … don’t buy contemporary claims that we’re “past” the racial problem … less people articulating their belief that a superior blood runs through their veins … merely declaring that racism is over and that people who agitate are keeping it alive … simply repeating ad nauseum that Jesse Jackson is a “poverty” pimp … speaks precisely to the similarities between Aycock and many conservatives today.”

libfreeRaceBaitingOrdie on July 22, 2013

farsighted on July 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Bishop on July 22, 2013 at 5:31 PM

I believe that is the case, by default, in all states not having a SYG statute.

a capella on July 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

That definition would seem to apply to Zimmerman. Wasn’t he getting his head bashed in from the hoodlum when he pulled the gun and shot him?

Buddahpundit on July 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Sounds like the President,

Acted Stupidly!!
(sarc)

canopfor on July 22, 2013 at 5:44 PM

I believe that is the case, by default, in all states not having a SYG statute.

a capella on July 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Then a loud WTF is in order. Requiring free citizens to run away is just sad.

Bishop on July 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Stand-your-ground law

Many states have some form of stand-your-ground law. Alabama,[14] Alaska,[15] Arizona,[16] California,[17][18] Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa,[19] Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana,[16] Maine, Massachusetts (though the term is used very loosely there),[20] Michigan,[16] Mississippi, Missouri, Montana,[16] New Hampshire,[16] North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,[16] Pennsylvania,[21] Rhode Island,[22] South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,[16] Texas,[23] Utah,[24] West Virginia,[16] Wisconsin[25] and Wyoming have adopted Castle Doctrine statutes, and other states (Iowa,[26] Virginia,[27] and Washington) have considered stand-your-ground laws of their own.[28][29][30]
==============================

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law#US_States

canopfor on July 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Surprising, though. One of the few instances where the then state senator Obama didn’t vote “Present”.

novaculus on July 22, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Then a loud WTF is in order. Requiring free citizens to run away is just sad.

Bishop on July 22, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Bishop:
=======

There is only one situation,to run away:

Holy Grail: Run Away!
*********************

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92gP2J0CUjc

canopfor on July 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Not at all related – those of us who said Ryan Braun juiced are now vindicated by…Ryan Braun’s acceptance of being suspended for the rest of the 2013 MLB season.

Notably, ESPiN didn’t break this one.

Steve Eggleston on July 22, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Explanation: He thought the law was going to help “black folks”.

Tater Salad on July 22, 2013 at 5:57 PM

So, Illinois protects against civil law suits in the case of self-defense, because of legislation sponsored by Teh One.

And California has a SYG law that goes further than Florida’s

Professor Goldman was going on about how the reason Florida v. Zimmerman was such a debacle was because of it’s crazy “Stand Your Ground” law, and how the outcome would have been infinitely more sane had the case been tried, for example, in California. Florida’s SYG law, he explained, gave individuals egregious powers to kill others, above and beyond that found anywhere else in America.

And then I was live.

Andrew Branca:… I’ve been listening to the show on hold while it’s been going on, and I hear a lot of discussion about how Florida has this crazy stand-your-ground law that creates these unique legal scenarios. The fact is Florida’s stand-your-ground law is quite common, 33 states are effectively SYG states and have very similar provisions. In fact there is one state that not only lets you to stand your ground, it explicitly allows you to pursue your assailant if necessary for your safety. And that state is California [where the station is located].

There has been an epidemic of highly educated Lefties spouting off about the Zimmerman trial and getting their facts all wrong.

farsighted on July 22, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Does Stevie Wonder know about this ?

burrata on July 22, 2013 at 6:02 PM

If so, what brainless fools would actually create such legislation.

Bishop on July 22, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Yes. The only reason I would run would be to find the ammo stash and reload.

hillsoftx on July 22, 2013 at 6:05 PM

If Obama was a co-sponsor, then in all likelihood this was merely window dressing to build his resume.

[Emil] Jones became the State Senate President when the Democrats took the majority in 2003, and basically created most of Obama’s legislative record by adding Obama’s name on other people’s bills. As Jones once said (apparently at Obama’s instigation), “I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator”:

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

“I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen,” State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. “Barack didn’t have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

“I don’t consider it bill jacking,” Hendon told me. “But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book.”

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama’s stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law – including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics – and he couldn’t have done it without Jones.

I don’t know if this bill fell into this category, but the fact of the matter is that Obama accomplished little as either an IL Senator or a U.S. Senator.

The only thing he does well is agitate and corrupt.

INC on July 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM

He was just tired of seeing the Latin Kings pushing around his bruthas in the Black Gangsta Disciples, and wrote the legislation to make sure they didn’t get sent to prison after shooting them down in the street.

LegendHasIt on July 22, 2013 at 6:13 PM

Whoa, hold on there….
This sounds perfectly consistent for President Maobama…The Divider in Chief
.
Lest we forget…..

Punish your enemies”
Argue with them, and get in their faces”
“Voting is the best Revenge

Just because Big Media has selective memory, doesn’t mean we have to forget the Chicago Way thuggery.

(And a rather good role model for all the Trayvon’s out there, I might add- with apologies to Sharpton)

FlaMurph on July 22, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Obama always plays to his base group of voters…
He wants to make sure blacks go out and vote in 2014…

albill on July 22, 2013 at 6:23 PM

For a guy who’s statements are rendered obsolete with weeks hours of being said, this being 9 years old, is most definitely “no longer operative”.

dirtseller on July 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Accuracy.

GrannyDee on July 22, 2013 at 6:24 PM

It would depend, it seems, on whether the beating he gave Zimmerman rose to the level of a forcible felony.

Ahem, attempted murder is a forcible felony … everywhere.

TXUS on July 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Where does anybody see a duty to retreat in this law?

Illinois caselaw recognizes no duty to retreat, going back decades. That’s why Illinois doesn’t NEED a Stand Your Ground statute, because it’s already a common law Stand Your Ground state. You just can’t actually carry any weapons to actually defend yourself in Illinois.

Dan Minardi on July 22, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Well, to clarify, sure, there’s a duty to retreat, but only if you are the initial aggressor. But that’s the same rule as in Florida.

Dan Minardi on July 22, 2013 at 6:36 PM

The tough guy campaigner who was religiously against gay “marriage” and for winning the “right war” in Afghanistan has evolved into an amorphous jellyfish who is for gay “marriage” has had no clue what to due in Afghanistan and so is quietly sliding our military out the back door as the Taliban prepares to re-entered the front.

He is the “whatever the audience wants, that I am” kind of poli-chameleon.

Dangerous when given the level of power he has been bestowed with by the brainless majority of low- and no-info voters.

We will suffer his aggressive vacuity for three and a half more years.

Barack Halfwit Obama.

profitsbeard on July 22, 2013 at 6:43 PM

See? — This is what happens when you don’t vote ‘present’ every single time on any possible controversial issue.

jon1979 on July 22, 2013 at 5:26 PM

To be fair, we only know that he co-sponsored the bill…we don’t know for sure that he didn’t vote ‘present’ on it.

James on July 22, 2013 at 8:20 PM

OF COURSE Martin committed a forcible felony with his vicious assault. Zimmerman only escaped serious injury because he was carrying and won the struggle for his gun.

But just because Obama “co-sponsored” a bill in the Illinois Senate, you cannot draw any further conclusions.

For instance, most of the bills which featured Obama’s name were legislation he never participated in drafting or advocating, Emil Jones just added his name to build a phony record of “accomplishments” for his little buddy. When confronted by unhappy Senators who had actually worked on the bills involved, Jones reportedly rebuked them with the assurance, “I am making a US Senator.”

Besides, just because Obama co-sponsored a bill doesn’t mean he voted for it. His default position was “present,” and it isn’t as if he could be troubled to actually read what he was voting upon, is it?

Adjoran on July 23, 2013 at 1:13 AM

Please answer….Is BHO really that out of touch with America? He has done nothing to help Americas like the Economy, Jobs, Benghazi and Susan Rice, DOJ and Holder,IRS with Lois Lerner, NSA watching or reading us all, Snowden, Foreign Relations, Egypt, Syria, Reid, Pelosi, Holder?

Does he really have a clue, or is he just trying to hide out on a Golf Course?…I think not. His clues are Carney, Jarrett, Holder are his own agenda for the destructio of the USA.

Or was it as Chris Mathews said on Hardball…”I want to apologize for all the White People in America”?

I only apologize when I have been found to be wrong (not to nations abroad) and “Cracker” or Cracka” (Honkey, Peckerwood, White Boy are just as offensive, culture or not) are as vile as the “N” word. Let’s get the MSM to stop others from using it.

Sabercat2 on July 23, 2013 at 3:19 AM

“Adjoran on July 23, 2013 at 1:13 AM”

“Besides, just because Obama co-sponsored a bill doesn’t mean he voted for it. His default position was “present,” and it isn’t as if he could be troubled to actually read what he was voting upon, is it?”

Did you mean that BHO will not admit to any one thing that …THE ONE, would have to at least admit to?

Empty Suit for the DNC. Now stop laughing…LOL…please stop now…c’mon stop.

I said stop laughing, I mean it now. There is enough humor from the POTUS and his administration to go around.

Sabercat2 on July 23, 2013 at 3:28 AM

This whole idea of an obligation to retreat is so ignorant of basic human nature I don’t even know where to start.

Whether you run or stand your ground is a decision that is made in a split second outside of your immediate conscious thought. It is instinctive. You do whatever your subconscious feels is your best chance of survival.

For many people, the prospect of running is more frightening than standing your ground. When you’re approached by a snarling dog, what do you do? Most people’s instincts would warn them that taking flight might well escalate the situation. The dog’s going to chase you. And when a predator has to chase its prey, it becomes enraged. Its adrenaline levels rise. It becomes more dangerous. The consequences of being caught are terrifying.

In addition to this, turning your back on any dangerous situation is inherently frightening, like walking along a cliff edge with your eyes closed. When you can’t see your predator you don’t feel in control of the situation.

“Fight or flight” is not a decision that’s made at the end of a process of careful reason. It’s completely out of the conscious control of most people. And so to incorporate it into any legislation is ignorant and callous beyond belief.

Sharke on July 23, 2013 at 3:29 AM