Narrowly Tailored Self-Defense Law’s Disastrous Consequences
Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.
Jeffrey Sumpter, 21, was attacked by three juveniles at the Dunkin’ Donuts where he worked in Norwalk, Connecticut, last October. On Monday he was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in jail because he decided to defend himself.
Nobody seems to dispute that Sumpter is not the aggressor here, but the victim. Three juveniles entered the bakery and attacked Sumpter. The fight spilled outside and Sumpter, who had a knife, stabbed one of his attackers.
And that’s where things went wrong for Sumpter. Connecticut does allow citizens to defend themselves. But its law also includes a “duty to retreat” from attackers if it’s feasible to do so. There are several important exceptions—people don’t have to retreat from their home or from their place of work. If Sumpter had stayed in his Dunkin’ Donuts he could have been covered.
But he went outside, and so according to the letter of the law in Connecticut, what happened was first-degree felony assault. According to the Connecticut Post, Judge John Blawie even said he believed Sumpter’s version of the events and that he was defending himself. But the law is the law, the judge says. Off to jail.
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By Cory Doctorow (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons