Florida A&M University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – The “Stand Your Ground” law has brought about to the public attention and has created major controversy after police credited it as their decision not to charge George Zimmerman, the man who confessed to shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin one year ago.
After Martin’s death, Florida became the center of attention with the Stand Your Ground law. Many people were unaware of this law and its meaning. The Stand Your Ground law states that a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first.
“I don’t think the Stand Your Ground law is a good defense. It is an easy way for someone to kill and not take responsibility for their actions,” says Brittany Harris, a Florida A&M University student. “This law should be thrown out or reconsidered. It is very unjust. Zimmerman killed an innocent boy and is allowed to walk because of this.”
Florida passed the Stand Your Own Ground law in 2005, which offers legal exception to individuals who use deadly force when they believe another is threatening them. Since the law was passed in 2005, it has been used at least 140 times statewide. A Tampa Bay Times survey, compiled from 31 Florida newspapers and public records, shows that the number of cases in which Stand Your Ground has been appealed has increased dramatically in the past year and a half.
Based on the Times analysis, more than 70 percent of the 140 cases involves a fatality. In 50 of the cases, the person who used force was never charged with a crime. Nine defendants were granted freedom by a judge and nine cases were dismissed. In 10 cases, the defendant pleaded guilty to lesser crimes. Of the 28 cases that made it to trial, 19 people were found guilty of a crime.
After the Martin case, the Stand Your Ground law has created controversy. Gov. Rick Scott announced he would convene a task force to study the law.
“The Stand Your Own Ground law needs to be reconsidered. It needs to have more stipulation as to when it should be used,” says Sasha Major, a sophomore criminal justice major.
For more information on the statues of the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida, visit: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String&URL=0700-0799/0776/Sections/0776.013.html