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In 2005, Florida became the first state to pass a Stand Your Ground law, which appears to have intensified the climate that has led to the nickname "Gunshine State."

Florida's controversial "stand your ground" self defense law would be repealed provided a bill filed Wednesday by Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee passes.

The law allows a basis that there is "no duty to retreat and [one] has the right to stand one's ground and meet force with force in certain circumstances" when someone felt threatened.

The shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford nearly a year ago brought the law to national attention when the 17 year old was killed by George Zimmerman while he was acting as a neighborhood watchman.  Although it was expected that Zimmerman's attorneys would use the "stand your ground" defense, they have in fact chosen to use the basic self-defense as they claim Zimmerman did not have the option to retreat. The case should come to trial in June of this year.

Williams, a supporter of the Second Amendment and right to bear arms, says his legislation is aimed at removing the "no duty to retreat" language in the current law.

"Current law gives citizens the ability to use a defense of stand your ground if they felt as though their life was threatened. This law does not give them the ability to go and pursue someone they feel has threatened their lives or has caused them bodily harm," Representative Williams said. "If that individual is in retreat you can not go into the street and fire a weapon at them. What we want them to do is use the mechanism in place. Call law enforcement."

Williams says his bill does not remove a citizen's right to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger.

"If they're in their home, at their property and they feel their property is being threatened, they have the ability to protect themselves," Rep. Williams said. "We're not taking that ability away from them. By repealing this law (stand your ground) we're putting forth language that protects not only their right to protect themselves, but the community at large."   ~ Source

The repeal, HB 4009 reads:

General Bill:
 by Williams, A.

Use of Deadly Force in Defense of a Person: Repeals provisions relating to home protection & use of deadly force, which created presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm in certain circumstances & provided that there is no duty to retreat & has the right to stand one's ground & meet force with force in certain circumstances; conforms provisions.

Effective Date: upon becoming a law

Last Event: Filed on Wednesday, January 09, 2013 7:44 AM        ~ Source      

A long line of law enforcement officers and prosecutors opposed the law before it was enacted and have expressed deep concerns about it since, but their objections have fallen on deaf ears.

After the Trayvon Martin killing, Governor Scott ordered Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to convene a task force on citizen safety and protection as a result of the law.  Hearings were conducted, but it was little more than a farce as the entire task force was stacked with proponents of the law and when the report was filed no one was surprised that it found no recommendations for a single change.

Florida "Stand your Ground" law yields some shocking outcomes depending on how law is applied, Tampa Bay Times, June 3, 2012

In the most comprehensive effort of its kind, the Tampa Bay Times has identified nearly 200 "stand your ground'' cases and their outcomes. The Times identified cases through media reports, court records and dozens of interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys across the state.

Among the findings:

• Those who invoke "stand your ground" to avoid prosecution have been extremely successful. Nearly 70 percent have gone free.

• Defendants claiming "stand your ground" are more likely to prevail if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white.

People have had the right to defend themselves from a threat as far back as English common law. The key in Florida and many other states was that they could not use deadly force if it was reasonably possible to retreat.

That changed in 2005 when Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law Florida Statute 776.013. It says a person "has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground'' if he or she thinks deadly force is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm or commission of a forcible felony like robbery.

"Now it's lawful to stand there like Matt Dillon at high noon, pull the gun and shoot back,'' said Bob Dekle, a University of Florida law professor and former prosecutor in North Florida.

The article further cites examples of inconsistent and unequal treatment of the filing of charges across the state; the wide variety of interpretations of the law by police officers, prosecutors and judges; an outline of questionable cases; the increase in cases; arguments for the law's success; and an emboldening by the citizenry as the claims in cases have increased.

"Stand Your Ground" laws coincide with jump in justifiable-homicide cases,The Washington Post, April 7, 2012

This sharp turn in American law — expanding the right to defend one’s home from attack into a more general right to meet force with force in any public place — began in Florida in 2005 and has spread to more than 30 other states as a result of a campaign by the National Rifle Association and a corporate-backed group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which promotes conservative bills.

Florida has been at the forefront of expanding gun rights for decades, ever since an NRA lobbyist named Marion Hammer, the NRA’s first female president, became a force in the state capitol in Tallahassee.

When she helped write the Stand Your Ground bill and circulated it, some police chiefs and other law enforcement officials warned that the measure would make it hard to convict people of murder — defendants would simply claim self-defense and challenge prosecutors to prove they were lying.

But those concerns were heavily outweighed by lawmakers’ desire to send a message to taxpayers that the justice system would no longer consider suspect those who defend themselves against attack.

Justifiable homicides in Florida have tripled, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data. Other states have seen similar increases, FBI statistics show.
I am happy to see a Florida Democrat take the lead in repealing the travesty of this law.  The timing is perfect and I have much hope that we will see the passage of this bill.
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Comment Preferences

  •  After Trayvon Martin (7+ / 0-)

    Anyone still thinking that wanting to own a gun is normal?
    Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

    by pollbuster on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:46:41 PM PST

  •  Interesting that it's from a rep in Tallahassee (6+ / 0-)

    That it's being filed from a Democrat doesn't surprise me but isn't that part of the state fairly conservative?

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:48:30 PM PST

  •  I think Liberals are Wrong about Stand Your Ground (4+ / 0-)

    I am a hard-core progressive liberal, but I am very disappointed in the liberal position on "stand your ground." I think liberals have missed the boat, largely because they are misinformed by the media, which has totally missed the boat.

    The reason why Florida is one of the few states that passed a "stand your ground" law is because almost every other state has those very same principles codified in it's jurisprudence through it's common law. In California, where I am a criminal defense attorney, I use this defense all the time, but we just call it self-defense and it is as old as our state. Nearly every person I have used it to defend was a person of color, by the way.

    All "stand your ground" means is that you don't have to run away when attacked. To me it is just basic common sense that we shouldn't have to run away, when someone is being aggressive with us. If I'm walking down the street and someone picks a fight with me and starts swinging at me, I should be able to swing back, and not be required by law to run away. The difference between being a free man and serving the rest of my life in prison, should not depend on whether I had the ability to run from the aggressor, but didn't.

    If we legislated away "stand your ground" in California, all sorts of people would be locked up for long periods of time, just for fighting back against an aggressor. The media would like to take a few examples involving overzealous vigilantes and turn the tables on who the aggressor is. "Stand your ground" is for people who are assaulted to defend themselves. They are the victims and they should be allowed to fight back, not be forced to take their chances running away.

    The liberal blogosphere loves to portray "stand your ground" as some kind of license for white racists to shoot people of color. The biggest losers of a repeal of this law will be people of color, since they are overwhelmingly and disproportionately the ones who find themselves in the defendant's seat. Every woman who protects herself against the man who abuses her, every kid who lives in a rough neighborhood and stands up and fights back when a gang member tries to shake him down, every gay person that fights back against a gay-basher instead of running, those are the people who are going to suffer most, due to this weird distortion of the "stand your ground" law thanks to George Zimmerman, who ironically won't even be using "stand your ground," because according to his defense he had no opportunity to flee, once the violence started.

    •  You have totally misrepresented the Florida (6+ / 0-)

      stand your grand statute. I'm not sure if this is out of ignorance of the law or a need to deceive (I'm not sure why this would be the case).

      But your unwillingness to grapple with the specifics of this law is the reason why your explanation here is not helpful, and frankly wrong.

      All "stand your ground" means is that you don't have to run away when attacked.
      Dead wrong. In Florida, "stand your ground" gives a person the right to use LETHAL force when he or she has a "reasonable" fear of serious bodily injury.

      This:

      To me it is just basic common sense that we shouldn't have to run away, when someone is being aggressive with us. If I'm walking down the street and someone picks a fight with me and starts swinging at me, I should be able to swing back, and not be required by law to run away.
      Is true. You shouldn't have to run away. And you should be able to swing back. You just shouldn't necessarily be able to shoot back, and then when you shoot back, have the burden shifted to the state to prove that you were acting unreasonably.

      So, I'll say again - even if you do know what the Florida stand your ground law says, you haven't presented it that way.

      And here's why the law is bunk - it's all about the practical implications. In these situations, when a person shoots back, a lot of the time the only person left to testify over whether the shooter had a "reasonable suspicion" is the shooter himself. You know, that whole problem of the original "assailant" being dead.

      It makes these acts nearly unprosecutable. So the people who do use their stand your ground power against a REAL threat are lumped in with the people who fire away when there is no real threat (the George Zimmermans of the world).

      Here's a strong explanation:

      http://www.thedailybeast.com/...

      For the record, I am about as defense-oriented as any person who writes on this site. But your characterization is false, at least for Florida. What Florida codified is NOT what's in the common law in other states. It goes well beyond that. And it's that distance that Florida's gone beyond other states that is exactly the problem.

      "I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil." ~Bobby Kennedy

      by Grizzard on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:21:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        When someone is causing "serious bodily injury" I do have the legitimate right to kill them (lethal).

        What kind of cockamamie justice system would tell me "he only gouged out your eye and was stomping on your head, you had no right to use lethal force" ?

        You shouldn't have to run away. And you should be able to swing back. You just shouldn't necessarily be able to shoot back
        No. I have no ethical obligation to save an attacker's life, or try to make a split second decision on whether this is merely going to be a black eye or a curb-stomping. It sucks for him, but that's not my problem.
      •  So the part you take issue with is self-defense... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        ALL FIFTY STATES have self-defense which allows you to defend yourself with lethal force when you reasonably believe that you are threatened with death or serious bodily injury. That is just basic self-defense and will be in place whether "stand your ground" is repealed or not. So, I'm afraid you are misinformed. I don't blame you, because the traditional media and the liberal blogosphere has been awash with this misinformation. "Stand your ground" is the part where you don't have to run away. What you are taking objection to is basic self-defense, a defense available in all 50 states and in federal cases and nearly every civilized country in the world. What in particular do you find objectionable about that?

        Of course, the burden is on the state to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Would you change that?!?

        Yes, the shooter, if there are no witnesses, is the one to tell the story and it is up to the jury whether to believe him or not. That is the nature of our criminal justice system and applies to all cases, not just stand your ground. All your arguments go against the very fundamentals of our justice system that protect people against wrongful conviction/incarceration/death penalty. Our justice system is founded on the principal that it is better for ten guilty to go free, then for one innocent to be convicted and in your argument you are flipping that ratio so that 10 innocents will be convicted, to prevent that one Zimmerman type from going free. Remember, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the defendant will be the victim of an attack, not a vigilante like Zimmerman.

    •  I see it differently (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, ahumbleopinion
      All "stand your ground" means is that you don't have to run away when attacked.
      "Stand your ground" as I understand it means that you don't have to run away before using deadly force, provided that you can safely do so. If it's as you describe, then of course I'm with you. I find it hard to believe that in Florida, prior to 2005, self-defense was not considered to be a legitimate legal defense.

      You have the right to stand your ground. But if you are
      (a) about to use deadly force
      (b) can safely retreat instead of using deadly force,
      then the law, without Stand Your Ground, says you have to do (b). I think that's entirely reasonable. If you are given a choice between taking a life and not taking a life, you should be obligated to not take it, even if the other person attacked you first. If you cannot retreat safely, then you may kill in self-defense, but only if that is your last resort.

      "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

      by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:23:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The link to the above (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        randomfacts

        Tampa Bay Times article is rife with examples of questionable cases.  Cases in which the victim was shot in the back, obviously not posing a threat; similar cases in different jurisdictions where charges are filed in one case and dropped in another and a host of other problematic issues with this law.

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:41:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because a law is applied problematically.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaxDem

          .....doesn't mean you throw out the law. You might as well throw out the whole constitution, based on examples of abuse. Rapists and murderers get off on 4th and 5th Amendment violations all the time, but we keep these protections because of the overwhelming good they do, not because of the occasional bad instances.

          •  Well actually, (0+ / 0-)

            one of the reasons why Justice Stevens changed his views on the death penalty is that he realized it can't be applied justly. The goal is to write the law with the minimum number of abuses possible. That includes making a distinction between deadly force and nonlethal force. You may disagree on how to make the distinction, but the distinction should be made.

            "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

            by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:44:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The stand your ground law comes to states through (0+ / 0-)

            ALEC and the NRA.

            Watch "The United States of ALEC" and then argue your "facts".

      •  You are correct (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        They had self-defense just as you describe it. You should know that "deadly force" is defined as "force likely to cause death or great bodily harm." Great bodily harm is defined as "great harm as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm and as such, does not include mere bruises." Florida case law is replete with cases where great bodily harm, in other words, deadly force was found when a person punched or kicked another person.

        In my opinion, you should not have to analyze on the scene of an attack whether you can safely escape and be either hurt or killed if you err in one direction, or prosecuted criminally if you err in the other direction. You also shouldn't have to be unclear of whether your punch to the throat to back off an attacker twice your size is going to be considered by a jury to be deadly force.

        The way the law is now makes sense. Before, it left too many defendants vulnerable to wrongful incarceration.

        In my opinion, people should not be allowed to carry guns, unless they are hunting or protecting their home. That would go a long way towards eliminating the problem without taking precious rights away from the defendant.

        •  Disagree that the way the law is now makes (0+ / 0-)

          sense. What you are talking about is that you don't think that "deadly force" is defined narrowly enough because it can include wounds that occurred when a person punched or kicked a person. Of course it is possible to kick or punch a person to death, but that is rare. Most of the time, the person would have to be lying on the ground, unconscious, and you would have to strike them several times in that state.

          So if the law is allowing defendants who were attacked, punched the person once in the chest, and this caused a heart attack, then no, they should not be punished.

          But if they were attacked, got into a fight with the other person, beat them to the ground unconscious, then continued to beat them several more times until the person stopped breathing, then yes, that should be punished. Starting a physical fight with someone is stupid, but it should not be a death sentence.

          Each situation is unique and no law that any of us can think of is going to take into account every possible situation. No law is going to be free from the possibility of misapplication and abuse. However, the principle of least harm should be enshrined into the law somewhere. If a person has clearly beat back their attacker, and is clearly in a position of safety, they should not be able to use lethal force.

          "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

          by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:52:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you even read the definition? (0+ / 0-)

            Legal definitions are not the same as literal definitions. The legal term deadly force has a very specific meaning, which I stated above and will do so again below:

            Deadly force is defined, under Florida law, as "force likely to cause death OR great bodily harm." Great bodily harm is defined as "great harm as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm and as such, does not include mere bruises."

            Death or anything close to death is not required. If you break someone's nose or jaw, you've used deadly force. If you poke out their eye, slam their head against a wall, or break any bone, you've used deadly force. If you use any weapon, whether it be a knife, rock, bat, etc, you've used deadly force.

            Of course if someone hits someone after they are no longer a threat, they should be punished and they would certainly be punished under those circumstances, under "stand your ground," whether the person lived or died. Self-defense only allows you to use force when you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent an imminent harm to yourself and you have to stop the minute the harm is not longer a threat. This is true in all 50 states and nearly every country in the world. You are arguing against straw men, rather than the "stand your ground" law.

            •  Zimmerman was no strawman. He was a clear and (0+ / 0-)

              fatal threat to Trayvon.  Trayvon had every right to use his fists to protect himself.  

              In this case, a gun in his pocket wouldn't have helped him at all.  He was in a no-win situation and it was Zimmerman's fault.

              Stand your ground is no defense for Zimmerman's behavior and that he chooses to argue it is truly sickening.

    •  In any case, Stand your ground is a misnomer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      It's not about standing your ground, it's about protecting your 'honor', a silly concept that we should have gotten away from a long time ago.

      "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

      by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:26:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        If some skinhead comes up to you and says, "I don't like your kind around here. Leave because you are (black/jewish/gay/long-haired/liberal/whatever) or I'm gonna kick your ass on the count of three, one, two....," you think you should have to run away, not kick the person in the balls when they hit the count of two?

        •  Are you really saying (0+ / 0-)

          that a person forfeits their life by calling someone long-haired?

          "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

          by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:53:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And yes... (0+ / 0-)

          let me guess... you are not a woman. Because women get harassed everyday and if they went around getting into a fight with every guy that cat called at them they would never make it anywhere. Taking a picture of the person, reporting them, telling them what they're doing is wrong, or at most engaging in some verbal banter is usually as far as it is wise to go.

          I'ma  small guy and if I got into a fight with a skinhead I would probably get my ass kicked. So no, I would not kick the person in the balls, I'd run away, and that would be the smart decision. You know what they taught you in preschool. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but...

          "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

          by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:56:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you are free to make your decision (0+ / 0-)

            and nobody should legislate your decision out of the realm of legality. But, if a person wants to stand up to a violent bully and fight back, you shouldn't make them a criminal for doing so.

            You are comparing apples and oranges when you talk about harassment and fighting and it is no fun to debate with someone who uses apples and oranges types of arguments. Nobody is saying you should haul off and hit someone who uses words. Self-defense is about defending yourself from imminent physical harm, not words.

        •  And really... (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry for the third reply, but this just strikes me as crazy.

          A skinhead comes up to me and calls me a chink or something super offensive, and tells me to leave.

          According to you, I should physically assault him.

          According to you, he could then whip out a gun and shoot me DEAD, and he would be standing his ground.

          I forfeited my life. Fuck that.

          "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

          by randomfacts on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 07:58:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, you are totally mistaken. (0+ / 0-)

            Nobody is saying that you get to hit someone who tells you to leave. But you do get to stay there, you don't have to leave. Then, if that person goes to hit you, you have every right to hit them back or even hit them first. Also, "stand your ground" allows you to shoot someone, unless you are facing an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm. Additionally, self-defense is not an available defense to the initial aggressor. So, if you are the first one to use violence, you can't then later claim self-defense (except under certain conditions which are to nuanced for this conversation).

            •  bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

              You wrote:

              If some skinhead comes up to you and says, "I don't like your kind around here. Leave because you are (black/jewish/gay/long-haired/liberal/whatever) or I'm gonna kick your ass on the count of three, one, two....," you think you should have to run away, not kick the person in the balls when they hit the count of two?
              That makes ME the aggressor. Your scenario would end up with a skinhead legally murdering me. This is the worst advice I've ever received in my life.

              "It is, it seems, politically impossible to organize expenditure on the scale necessary to prove my case -- except in war conditions."--JM Keynes, 1940

              by randomfacts on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 07:06:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Trayvon was unarmed. He was followed by (0+ / 0-)

              someone armed and shot and killed.

              Get a grip.

        •  Precisely likely why Trayvon punched Zimmerman, (0+ / 0-)

          not to mention that he was frighted (rightfully so) for his own life.

          Trayvon was stalked and killed, for no good reason whatsoever.

    •  Deadly Force is Different from Swinging Back nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 03:40:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As I explained above..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        You should know that "deadly force" is defined as "force likely to cause death or great bodily harm." Great bodily harm is defined as "great harm as distinguished from slight, trivial, minor or moderate harm and as such, does not include mere bruises." Florida case law is replete with cases where great bodily harm, in other words, deadly force was found when a person punched or kicked another person.

        In my opinion, you should not have to analyze on the scene of an attack whether you can safely escape and be either hurt or killed if you err in one direction, or prosecuted criminally if you err in the other direction. You also shouldn't have to be unclear of whether your punch to the throat to back off an attacker twice your size is going to be considered by a jury to be deadly force.

    •  So if Trayvon had a gun and used it instead of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, jan4insight

      running away, everything would have been hunky dory, right?

      •  Stand your ground doesn't.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        give him the right to do that any more than it gives Zimmerman the right to do what he did. Not that we know what actually happened. If you think it does, perhaps you should learn what the law actually says and how those words are interpreted by our legal system before commenting on it publicly.

    •  I agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem

      But clearly Zimmerman was a crackpot who committed several crimes against Martin even before killing the boy.

      If assault is making an indication of violence against someone (such as raising a fist), then surely chasing someone smaller than you in the dark of night, doing so aggressively with a gun in your pocket, that's as threatening as any gesture can be.

      A woman would think she was about to be raped, a black boy would think either that there's a racist about to chain him to a truck and drag him to death, or maybe even one herding him into a trap with many more waiting to lynch him. I'm a grown man myself, and I would feel intimidated to be chased in this manner.

      This even seems to meet Florida's statute on felony stalking.

      If Zimmerman assaulted him, then pulling the trigger is no longer self-defense. It's manslaughter at minimum. Maybe 2nd degree murder.

      Why the fuck didn't the police arrest him that very night? Are they really this fucking stupid? I don't think there's a problem with the law, but there sure as hell is a problem with the police (prosecutors?) there. Do you have any insight?

      •  Yes, I have insight. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JaxDem

        First, I am always extremely cautious about assuming I know the facts, before they fully come out at trial. There are some things we know and some we are speculating about.

        The definition of assault that you are going by is the definition of the civil tort of assault, not the criminal offense, which requires a little bit more than raising a fist. A criminal assault is basically an attempted battery or doing something that would naturally result in harm.

        Depending on how Zimmerman approached Martin, what he said, what his body language looked like, Martin may have been within his rights to defend himself. But, that does not make it an assault unless Zimmerman attempted to attack him or pointed a loaded weapon at him.

        I totally get your point that a person would naturally feel intimidated, but that doesn't negate Zimmerman's right to use self-defense if the facts turn out to be, as his defense is apparently claiming, that he approached Martin and Martin attacked him with deadly force.

        •  We can safely assume that since Trayvon was shot (0+ / 0-)

          and killed by Zimmerman, that Zimmerman pointed a gun at Trayvon.  We can therefore assume that Trayvon was duly threatened (and more) had a right to stand his ground.

    •  You need to watch "The United States of ALEC" to (0+ / 0-)

      learn exactly where the Stand Your Ground law originated.

      It's all about the NRA and profits of corporate lobbyists to sell more guns.

      It's a law brought about ALEC--watch it.

      It's on the web or a DVD--"The United States of ALEC"  You will see Jeb Bush signing that bill into law with the NRA guy standing right beside him.

      You will learn how many states and legislators are part of this effort to privatize all government for the benefit of corporations who pay $25,000 each to join ALEC and admit legislators (primarily conservative Republican ones) for $100 and wine and dine and lobby them and call it "education".  For that ALEC has a tax exempt status.

      Watch it.  Then come back here with your "legal" arguments.

  •  I thought Zimmerman is claiming regular (5+ / 0-)

    self-defense, rather than Stand Your Ground.

    The killing of Trayvon Martin provoked a national debate on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, but on Monday George Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, said, "The facts don't seem to support a 'Stand Your Ground' defense." O'Mara now claims that the incident actually is just a basic self-defense case, since Zimmerman didn't have the option to retreat. "People look at 'stand your ground' and immediately think somebody's standing there with deadly force — be it a gun or a weapon — and having the opportunity to back up but not having the need to under the statute," said O'Mara.
    http://nymag.com/...
  •  Is this purely a response to Zimmerman? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem

    That man was clearly a murderer. He first stalked the kid (misdemeanor), which also amounts to assault (any gesture that conveys a real threat is assault... chasing someone at night is just as threatening as a throat-slicing motion or a raised fist).

    These two things together though, make it felony assault.

    And if you shoot someone mere moments after assaulting someone, it's not self-defense even if they were harming you when you did it.

    If you shoot at the bank guard because he's about to kill you, it's never self-defense.

    Zimmerman is a killer.

    This doesn't make the law a bad one. A person who is legitimately defending themselves should never first have to prove that they could not flee.

    When she helped write the Stand Your Ground bill and circulated it, some police chiefs and other law enforcement officials warned that the measure would make it hard to convict people of murder
    It makes it difficult when you're lazy and too stupid to enforce laws as they exist. But if we had competent police, Zimmerman would have been in jail as soon as they arrived and would never have left.

    All this proves is that they're lousy at their jobs.

    •  Not just the Zimmerman case (0+ / 0-)

      there was another shooting in November right here in Jacksonville: Shooting in Florida over loud music compared to Trayvon Martin case

      Michael Dunn fired into a SUV  in which several teens, including 17-year-old Jordan Davis were sitting at a convenience store gas station.  Dunn and Davis argued over the loud music from the SUV and Dunn fired into the car, killing Davis. Dunn left the scene and was arrested the next day claiming he thought there were guns in the vehicle.  The police searched the vehicle that night and found none.  

      I don't know what is behind the bill filed by Rep Williams on Wednesday.  It could be a host of things from Zimmerman to Dunn to Newtown.  Maybe all.

      There is inconsistent and unequal treatment of the filing of charges across the state as well as wildly differing interpretations from law enforcement, to prosecutors to judges.

      As I see it, it is simply reverting back to basic self defense and does not remove a citizen's right to protect themselves if they feel their life is in danger.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 04:54:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If a person is committing a crime (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, ahumbleopinion

      then their right to claim self-defense should be prohibited.

      A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by notrouble on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:08:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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