Ernesto Castro, who was arrested and charged with Aggravated Battery for going after Zon McCoy with a machete, had his charges dismissed in Charlotte County this week. Castro’s attorney, Casey Clough, successfully argued that he was entitled to immunity under the “Stand Your Ground” law, because evidence showed that he was defending himself. Apparently, McCoy was chasing him around with an ax (or ax handle) and he claims to have used the machete to defend himself. His claims were substantial enough to convince the judge, who said it wasn’t “even close”, and granted his motion for immunity on the eve of trial. Kudos to Judge Duryea for having the courage to do the right thing in light of the evidence. It takes judicial fortitude to throw out the State’s case instead of punting to the jury, especially since the victim was participatory.
The WINK article claims the case set a precedent for being the first successful stand your ground motion where the alleged “victim” survived and testified- it’s not. The McDaniel case in Lee county also featured a victim- who lied, and a machete attack. Perhaps it was the first in Charlotte county. It’s still a big win for the Defendant, and demonstration why the stand your ground immunity is a good idea. If the judge found the evidence clearly showed that the defendant had been defending himself, why should the case be allowed to go to trial. It sounds like another case of one guy got hurt, the other guy got charged. Stand your ground is a barrier to gut-check moves on the part of law enforcement, and a benefit to the system- the State didn’t have to go to the expense of putting on the trial because the judge had the courage to act on the self-defense.