After a tragic theater shooting in Pasco, a Florida woman is set to testify in a hearing where a judge will determine whether the incident meets the criteria for the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Nicole Oulson was at the theater with her husband on the day of the shooting. She said that she arrived with her husband Chad a few minutes early and as they were waiting for the film to start, former Tampa Police captain Curtis Reeves rudely confronted Chad and told him to put away his cell phone. “It was not friendly. Very abrupt,” she said.
Nicole went on to explain that Reeves threatened to go get someone in management and her husband ignored the threat, saying something like “Do what you need to do.” At that point Reeves spoke to a manager and then returned. Her husband was no longer on his phone, but she said Reeves continued to give her husband a hard time, even bragging about how he had gotten a manager involved. She said Chad got frustrated and stood up and then things escalated quickly. Reeves shot Chad, killing him in the theater.
Two additional witnesses will also testify in the case. Reeves will take the stand at some point to explain why he shot Chad. From the beginning, Reeves has argued that he was fearful for his life and had no choice but to shoot Chad because he turned violent.
Vivian Reeves has also been called in to testify. She was married to Curtis for almost 50 years prior to the shooting that changed their lives forever. Vivian recalls Chad Oulson on his phone during the previews and she said her husband asked him to put the cell phone away because he was being loud and disruptive. She said that Chad raised his voice and used profanity towards her husband. Vivian said she told her husband that they should move seats, but instead he went and complained to the manager about the disruption. When he came back, he said something to Oulson and confrontation eruption.
Vivian said Oulson stood up and leaned forward. “I thought he was coming over,” she said. Security footage from the theater captures this moment and Oulson seems to grab popcorn from Reeves and throw it into his face. That was when Reeves pulled out his gun and killed Oulson with a single shot.
While Reeves argues that he was acting in self-defense, the state prosecutor is painting him as the aggressor, arguing that the confrontation could have been avoided if Reeves had not repeatedly entered into Oulson’s personal space, providing him.
“There are a lot of intricate pieces to this case,” said Christopher Ligori, a personal injury lawyer in Tampa. “There are two separate stories that are entirely different, but both claim to depict the same event. The judge will have to decide which is telling the truth and whether Reeves was really within his reasonable rights when he pulled out his weapon and fired on Oulson.”
This week, a Florida attorney announced a new lawsuit on behalf of victims in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. The collective lawsuit represents around 50 survivors and family members of those who were killed. The shooting occurred at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub last summer.
The shooting made national headlines as the worse mass shooting in recent history and it drew particular outrage because it seemed targeted at the gay nightclub. There were 49 people murdered and dozens that were injured. The lawsuit seeks damages, claiming negligence, wrongful death, and multiple other counts. The named defendants in the case are shooter Omar Mateen’s wife and his employer.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci is representing the victims in the lawsuit. He told the press that Mateen was working for G4S, an international security company at the time of the shooting. The company knew that Mateen was mentally unstable and still permitted him to carry a gun on the job. He would not have had a firearm license otherwise. “Mateen gave out so many warnings that someone should have reigned this guy in,” Romanucci said. “They should have said, ‘You are not stable. You shouldn’t have a weapon.’”
Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, is also being sued. Romanucci said that she knew her husband intended to go to the nightclub and commit murder. Salman is already facing federal harges of aiding and abetting and is in jail, awaiting trial. Prosecutors said the woman went with her husband as he cased various locations and planned a terrorist attack. “Rather than warn authorities, she kept it a secret and acted as his accomplice,” Romanucci explained.
In other similar cases, lawsuits have been unsuccessful. Someone attempted to sue the manufacturer of a gun that was used in the Connecticut Sandy Hook shooting, but a judge dismissed the case, citing federal laws that shield gun makers from lawsuits related to criminal use of their firearms. Romanucci believes that suing the employer will be a better option because there are no federal laws that could prevent the lawsuit from proceeding.
A law professor from the University of Connecticut, Sachin Pandya, said attorneys will still have to find specific evidence that places fault with the employer. “You still have to show that what the employer failed to do caused the mass shooting.”
There have been other lawsuits related to the Pulse shooting. Families of three victims have previously sued Facebook, Twitter, and Google, making claims that Mateen carried out the attacks after turning radical through propaganda found on the social media platforms.
Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA, said that the lawsuit could be an uphill battle. They will have to not only prove that the employer was directly responsible for the shooting, but also that the wife was a co-conspirator and that by failing to report the attacks, she actually directly caused the deaths and injuries of the named victims.
Christopher Ligori, a personal injury attorney in Tampa, said the case will be difficult, but it could pan out well for victims and their families. “When you have victims of violent crimes, sometimes personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are the best ways to seek some form of justice.”
Modern legal systems of the world have their foundations in one of the four main frameworks. These are civil law, common law, statutory law and religious law. Of course, many of them are a combination of two or more of these basic systems.Every country has a separate and unique historical development which leads to the formation of a unique set of laws. The most widespread of the four are Civil law (also called Continental European law) and Common law.
The history of Common Law is connected mostly to the history of the British Isles. It formed in England, based on the concepts of Anglo-Saxon law with a strong influence of Norman law. Afterward, it spread all around the British Commonwealth and influenced the formation of legal systems of many countries. It is currently in practice on practically every continent (except South America). The defining characteristic of common law is the fact that the main legal source is the judge’s decision in a case – precedent. Of course, common law systems have laws, just like all other legal systems do, but the relationship between precedents, statutes, and laws is very complex.
Civil law, in contrast to common law, has its base in codified laws. Codifications of rules, passed by the legislative powers like kings or parliaments, are the most important sources of law. Most of modern legal systems based on civil law stem from Roman legal tradition. The main codification of Roman law is Corpus Iuris Civilis from 529 A.D. Judges in Civil law systems do not have the authority to create a law like they do in Common law with legal precedents. They are only interpreters and enacters of the codified regulations.
Civil law systems are usually divided into four following groups: French civil law, German civil law, Scandinavian civil law and Chinese law. Each of these has many connections, but also distinct differences. Many countries all around the globe base their legal systems on civil law.
The defining feature of religious legal systems is that they are based on religious scripts, documents, books or even oral tradition. These sources are the only recognized legal sources. However, not all religious legal systems are the same. It is because the methodology used to differentiate legal sources varies. For example, Islamic Sharia law allows precedents and analogy. Therefore, it is close to Common law. On the other hand, Christian Cannon law is oriented towards codification, just like Civil law. There are three main religious legal systems: Jewish Halakha, Islamic Sharia law, and Christian Canon law. Sometimes these are considered to be purely moral guidance rules, but sometimes they have the full power of laws.
The main feature of statutory legal systems is that they are written down and passed on. The lawgiver can be a single ruler or a body of the legislature, such as a parliament. It is contrary to oral or customary law, where regulation is passed to future generations orally.