Stand-Your-Ground Law - §§ 13A-3-23, Ala. Code 1975


Ex parte Dalton Teal, [Ms. 1180877, Apr. 9, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). In a per curiam opinion, the Court (Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, Stewart, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., concurs specially) issues a writ of mandamus vacating the Jefferson Circuit Court’s order striking Teal’s affirmative defenses of self-defense and statutory immunity. While engaged in a physical struggle with Pallante, fearing for his life, Teal pulled a pistol and fired. He missed Pallante but struck Thomas, who was also in close proximity to Teal. Ms. *5. The Court concludes that because Teal “presented substantial evidence indicating that he acted in legally justified self-defense, as defined by § 13A-3-23, … he was entitled to have a jury, rather than the trial court on a motion for a partial summary judgment, determine the issue.” Ms. *9.

The Court first explains that “[t]o demonstrate that § 13A-3-23(a)(1) is applicable and to defeat Thomas’s properly supported motion for a partial summary judgment, Teal was required to produce substantial evidence indicating that he reasonably believed that Thomas was using, or was about to use, unlawful deadly physical force. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Teal, which our standard of review of a summary judgment requires, ..., we hold that a fair-minded person could reasonably infer from Teal’s evidence that Teal believed that Thomas was joining – or was about to join – Pallante’s attack on Teal and was about to use the same level of physical force against Teal that Pallante was using.” Ms. **15-16.

The Court rejects Thomas’s argument that Teal could not have acted in self-defense against Thomas because Teal testified he was attempting to shoot Pallante. The Court explains “[t]he entirety of Teal’s testimony indicated that he feared both Pallante and Thomas, that he possessed limited ability to aim and maneuver, and that he fired his weapon in the general upward direction of both men with the goal of ‘get[ting] them off of [him],’ i.e., to stop the use of deadly physical force against him.” Ms. *17.

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