Monday, September 15, 2014

Success: Belkis Plata Wins "Stand Your Ground" Motion*

Teary-eyed Ms. Plata and her client, Leonard Dillard.
We are thrilled to announce that Ms. Plata's Motion for Determination of Immunity and Motion to Dismiss (commonly called, a "Stand Your Ground" Motion) was granted today for her client, Leonard Dillard.
 
In 2011, the alleged victim ("AV")  owed Mr. Dillard a significant amount of money from a car sale. Mr. Dillard took the AV at his word that the AV would repay Mr. Dillard. Around Christmas, Mr. Dillard in need of money for Christmas presents, approached the AV at a local bar and grill. Text messages showed that the AV was extremely disrespectful toward Mr. Dillard and had no intention of repaying Mr. Dillard.
 
At the bar and grill, the two agreed to "talk" outside. As Mr. Dillard walked outside onto the patio, the AV violently shoved him into a concrete table. As Mr. Dillard attempted to regain his footing, the AV lunged at him again. Mr. Dillard who always carries a small pocket knife for work, stabbed the AV one time in defense. Mr. Dillard then immediately called the police.
 
Prior to Ms. Plata being counsel, a Stand Your Ground Motion was filed and denied. At Final Pre-Trial (the Tuesday before Jury Selection), Ms. Plata announced that she was ready for trial. That Friday, the State of Florida curiously disclosed evidence that had been in their file for more than two years. Ms. Plata, seeing the additional evidence supporting the denied Stand Your Ground motion,  moved the Court to rehear the Stand Your Ground motion.
 
In an unusual set of circumstances, Ms. Plata requested that the Court go to the scene of the incident to better understand the points made in her Motion. The State of Florida objected to this request.
 
Today the Honorable Judge Adrian Soud granted Ms. Plata's Motion for Determination of Immunity and Motion to Dismiss after considering the Motion for more than one month. At one point, Mr. Dillard was facing one count of Attempted Second Degree and 30 years in prison. After visiting the crime scene and reading Ms. Plata's written argument, the Court agreed with her that Mr. Dillard acted in self-defense and dismissed the charge.
 
Text messages between the AV and Mr. Dillard were largely at issue in this case. The Honorable Judge Soud stated in his Order that, "[t]he nature and tone of [Mr. Dillard's] text messages to [AV] directly contradicts the prosecution's argument that [Mr. Dillard] was angry and looking for a fight."
 
Ms. Plata and Mr. Dillard were moved to tears by the result. Ms. Plata was honored to help Mr. Dillard win his liberty and end this three-year ordeal.

*Disclaimer: Results may not be typical. You may not have as beneficial a result.

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