AL Appeal Denial Undermines "Stand Your Ground" Criticisms

When opponents to Stand Your Ground laws talk about the measures, they accuse them of essentially legalizing murder. They argue that if all you need to do is say you’re scared, then you can kill anyone for anything and walk away free and clear. They love to point to George Zimmerman as evidence of that.

Of course, Zimmerman never used a Stand Your Ground defense in his trial, but far too few people actually know that.

Further, a case in Alabama recently proved you can’t just claim you were scared and get away with murder.

The Alabama woman who claims she acted in self-defense when she fatally shot her alleged rapist has lost her appeal based on the state’s Stand Your Ground law in her murder case.

Brittany Smith, 32, was denied her appeal seeking immunity from prosecution and the dismissal of her case in an unanimous decision by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Thursday, according to

Smith claims she was brutally raped and beaten by Todd Smith (no relation) at her home in Stevenson, Alabama, in January 2018.

She says she shot Todd dead as he choked her brother, Chris McCallie – but her claim of self defense was denied in court.

Now her case is likely headed to trial where she faces a life in prison sentence.

Smith had filed to drop the charges under Alabama’s Stand Your Ground Law which states that one may use physical force against another in the name of defense and to defend a third person from unlawful force.

In February this year Jackson County Judge Jenifer Holt declined to dismiss Brittany’s murder charges and said Brittany failed to show how she could be granted immunity for killing Smith.

‘Upon consideration of all the evidence, the court finds that the defendant has given inconsistent accounts of the events surrounding Todd’s death, beginning with the 911 call … and has attempted to alter or destroy evidence,’ the judge wrote at the time, according to

In other words, despite her claims that she was afraid the victim was about to kill someone, she’s still having to face trial for murder. The reason was that her claim just wasn’t credible to the judge.

And, to be fair, if she kept giving inconsistent accounts and tried to tamper with evidence, then yeah, she’s simply not credible.

That’s the thing about Stand Your Ground laws. They’re not free passes. It’s basically just a valid defense that means you don’t have to seek escape from a situation before acting. That’s it.

It doesn’t allow you to kill someone who isn’t hurting anyone else. It doesn’t allow you to shoot someone and then act like a guilty person, only to claim you’ve done nothing wrong later.

In one fell swoop, this case has completely destroyed the nonsensical claims by anti-gun and anti-self-defense activists who have tried to claim this simply allows murder to take place in our nation with the perpetrators never facing trial.

Brittany Smith, a 32-year-old white woman–her race matters since some claim only white people can use the law effectively–will face trial for murder, despite her claims of standing her ground. If that doesn’t settle the matter, what will?