Florida Man’s Defense Invokes ‘Bush Doctrine’ To Justify Shooting Neighbors At BBQ

Attorneys for a Florida man who allegedly killed two people at a Labor Day barbecue filed a motion to have their client’s murder charges dismissed under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Florida Today reported Wednesday.

Police said William T. Woodward “snuck up” on the barbecue and opened fire on three neighbors, killing two men and injuring one, according to the newspaper. In addition to the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, Woodward’s legal team also argued that the three men posed an imminent threat to Woodward because they had been threatening to “get him” in the hours prior to the shooting.

The motion argued that Woodward could have expected an attack based on those words alone. It cited the “Bush Doctrine” to justify Woodward’s response to the perceived threats, referring to George W. Bush’s concept of waging pre-emptive war against potential threats before they metastasize into imminent threats.

“I think legally that term has sort of been evolving especially given changes of our government’s definition of ‘imminent,’” Robert Berry, one of the attorneys representing Woodward, told Florida Today. “It’s become more expansive than someone putting a gun right to your head. It’s things that could become, you know, an immediate threat.”

[Image via Varlanov Anatoly / Shutterstock]

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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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