Florida Legislator Wants Stand Your Ground Law Repealed After Zimmerman Verdict

Categories: Crime, Politics

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With people on all sides making loud angry noises following the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict and debates raging about whether justice was done because of the legal system and due process and yada yada yada, one thing remains abundantly clear: Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is a mystifying clustercrap of confusion.

And now one Florida legislator is renewing efforts to get rid of the law following the verdict.

Alan Williams, a Democrat, has a plan to come at it with a two-pronged strategy: Two bills to be introduced in the next legislative session. One to try to have the law clarified, another to get rid of it completely.

The statute, which became law in 2005, was sold as a "self-defense" law, one that would allow potential victims to use deadly force when necessary, if they had reasonable reason to believe their life was being threatened by an assailant.

George Zimmerman used the statute to protect himself after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. But Williams says that the statute is too confusing and that Zimmerman was let free because law enforcement simply doesn't understand it.

"Now we have, I think, an opportunity to help our law enforcement community by going out and clarifying the language," he told WCTV.

Williams, who says he supports the right to bear arms, says the statute has been used to protect those who actually break the law. This, along with the Zimmerman case, motivated Williams to introduce a bill that would "fine-tune" the law back in January.

However, the Secretary for the Vietnam Veterans of America in Tallahassee thinks Williams is motivated more by his emotions over the Zimmerman case and verdict than he is by clearing the wording in the bill.

"It doesn't ever hurt to look at anything and to improve or change things and make them better, but when you are doing that based on emotion, that's when things get hijacked," he said.

And that makes sense, we suppose.

Sure, studies show people that kill black folks walked free more than people who killed white folks in Florida. And sure, racial bias in "Stand Your Ground" cases is a real thing.

But we don't want things to get hijacked because of emotions and stuff, right?

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5 comments
Kingo Gondo
Kingo Gondo

0.0 chance of this happening. You might as well talk about giving Fidel Castro the key to the city of Miami. Next.

Ryan Ansloan
Ryan Ansloan

There is no reason at all to repeal the Stand Your Ground law. First off, this was a self defense case not a Stand Your Ground case. Second, it's a good law. It doesn't say that you can go out and randomly murder someone. The reality is that you can never judge a law based on one individual case. This has been implemented in many states with great success.

colin.scott.mcdonald
colin.scott.mcdonald

Zimmerman did not use stand your ground, his defense was on the normal self defense claim.   The prosecutors were the one who brought stand your ground up to the court and jury.


Journalism 101, you're failing it.

FatHand
FatHand

@colin.scott.mcdonald Although the defense did not use the stand your ground law as an affirmative defense, it was still included as part of the jury instructions on self defense. "Stand your ground" has become the Florida self defense law. So when you refer to Zimmerman's "normal self defense claim", that self defense claim is based on the language in the stand your ground statute. So on the one hand it's correct to say Zimmerman's attorneys did not use a stand your ground defense, but they don't really need to because the state has the burden to prove that Zimmerman was not allowed to do what he did (taking into account Florida's stand your ground law).

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