A Florida court has ruled that a man who thought he was defending his niece from unknown attackers was within his rights to fire a shot, even though he was actually targeting a sheriff’s deputy who was trying to arrest the woman.
In its ruling, the Fifth District Court of Appeals determined that John DeRossett cannot be tried under the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which prohibits prosecutions in cases where individuals did not know they were shooting at a member of law enforcement.
The decision — issued Wednesday — ends the prosecution of John DeRossett, 60, on the attempted premeditated first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer while discharging a firearm. DeRossett spent nearly five years at the Brevard County Jail Complex in Sharpes as he awaited a trial. He was allowed to leave on bond in March.
“The appellate decision is better than a jury acquittal. An acquittal only means ‘not guilty.’ This order means that John is innocent, that his actions were justified, and that he never should have been arrested in the first place. It’s a total vindication,” said DeRossett’s Orlando-based attorney, Michael Panella.