Self Defense Immunity Granted Murder Charge Dismissed

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Anthony G. Ryan, a Board Certified criminal defense attorney in Sarasota, Florida, was an integral part of a defense team that successfully asserted Florida's Stand Your Ground, self defense immunity law to have a murder charge dismissed. It is the first time that the state's relatively new stand your ground law was used to have a murder charge dismissed in Sarasota, Florida.

Board Certified Criminal Defense Specialist Anthony G. Ryan

I am just glad that justice was done in this case and my client was able to return home and be with his family

Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Anthony G. Ryan, of the Law Offices of Anthony G. Ryan, P.A. ( was an integral part of a defense team that successfully asserted Florida's relatively new Stand Your Ground, Self Defense Immunity law to have a second degree murder charge against his client dismissed. It is believed to be the first time self defense immunity has been successfully asserted to have a murder charge dismissed in Sarasota, Florida.

In State of Florida vs. Alphonse Gallo, Case No. 2010 CF 005960 NC, 12th Judicial Circuit for Sarasota County, Florida, Senior Judge Stephen Dakan ruled that Alphonse Gallo had acted reasonably and found that he "established his immunity from criminal prosecution" under Florida's so called Stand Your Ground Law. (See Judge Dakan's order granting immunity, attached.)

According to Judge Dakan's order, in the early morning of May 15, 2010 Alphonse Gallo found himself alone and in an argument with an acquaintance, Patrick Barbour, and three of his friends, in the middle of the street. Gallo and Barbour had already fought briefly earlier in the evening. But this time, Barbour brought some friends and threatened to rob Gallo. Gallo testified that Barbour, "pulled out a firearm," according to the Defendant's Version in Judge Dakan's order.

Gallo, who has a concealed weapons permit and had recently taken classes to become a security guard, also pulled out his gun, according to court documents. Gallo fired three shots at Barbour from close range, according to Judge Dakan's order.

Shots rang out as a gun battle erupted between Gallo and Barbour's friends, according to court documents. Three local nightclubs had just closed and emptied their now frantic patrons into the street after last call. A nearby Sarasota Police Officer, who was the first to respond to the shooting, testified he had difficulty getting to the body because of the crowd, according to Dakan's order.

In the end, the street was littered with twenty six empty shell casings from four different caliber guns, Barbour was dead, and Gallo was arrested and ultimately charged with second degree murder, according to the court's order. Gallo claimed it was self defense and now, armed only with his defense team including Sarasota criminal defense attorney, Anthony G. Ryan, and Florida's gun-owner friendly self defense law, sought to prove he was legally justified in killing Barbour, according to court documents.

In 2005 Florida's Self Defense Law was amended to remove the duty to retreat from confrontation before using deadly force requirement. Prior to the amendment, only those persons who were defending themselves inside their own homes could use deadly force without first attempting to retreat. This was called the Castle Doctrine.

Florida's relatively new self defense law found in section 776.012, Florida Statutes, allows a person to stand his ground and does not impose a duty to retreat if he reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

Likewise, section 776.013, Florida Statutes, provides that a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked or threatened in a place where the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat. It also states that such a person has the right to stand his ground and to meet force with force, including deadly force, if the person reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm.

Finally, section 776.032, Florida Statutes, provides that a person who acts in self defense as permitted by the Stand Your Ground Law is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

During the self defense immunity hearing the state's lone eyewitness, Sharama McCullough, claimed that Gallo had stood over Barbour's prone body and shot him several times. (See McCullough's version in Dakan's order.) However, during Anthony G. Ryan's cross examination of Ms. McCullough he was able to highlight several inconsistencies in her testimony and make her admit Barbour had been drinking earlier in the evening, according to court documents.

Mr. Ryan also got Ms. McCullough to admit on cross that she heard Barbour tell Gallo that he had "fire" in his pocket, implying that he was carrying a gun, according to Dakan's order. Mr. Ryan also impeached Ms. McCullough with her prior testimony from a video statement she had given to the police on the night of the incident. On one instance eliciting from the reluctant Ms. McCullough that Barbour's friends had in fact shot back at Gallo and that several shots were fired. (See the Discussion in Judge Dakan's order.)

Ultimately, the judge ruled that Gallo was in a place where he had a right to be and "had more than enough reason to believe he was in danger of imminent death or great bodily harm." "Under current Florida law, (Gallo) had no duty to retreat and was legally entitled to meet force with force and, certainly in this case, even with deadly force." (See Judge Dakan's Order On Motion For Statutory Immunity From Prosecution, 2010 CF 005960 NC, 12th Judicial Circuit for Sarasota, Florida.)

Mr. Gallo's attorney, Anthony G. Ryan, stated "I am just glad justice was done in this case and my client was able to return home and be with his family."

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release contact Anthony G. Ryan, P.A. at (941) 954-7132 or visit

About Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer, Anthony G. Ryan

Anthony G. Ryan is recognized as an expert criminal defense attorney, having been certified a criminal trial law specialist by the Florida Bar. Anthony G. Ryan graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Law and attained his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. He is proud to be a sole practitioner who exclusively fights for regular people accused of crimes in state courts throughout Southwest Florida.

Anthony G. Ryan
Board Certified
Criminal Defense Lawyer
100 Wallace Avenue, Suite 130
Sarasota, FL 34237
(941) 954-7132


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