Stand Your Ground
Has the Stand Your Ground defense, which garnered worldwide attention after the death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida created a Wild, Wild West scenario in our nation and state? Our latest issue takes a look at several cases in Marion Country as well as talk with top insiders for some insight.
Story: John Sotomayor
The Stand Your Ground defense, made controversial around the world in the recent Zimmerman case out of Sanford in which the defendant, 28 year-old George Zimmerman argued he shot and killed 17 year-old Trayvon Martin because he was allegedly being beaten and feared for his life, states that a person can use deadly force if he or she had reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm no matter where they were, was not in the process of committing a crime, was lawful in their use of force and would be immune from charges, biding several guidelines imposed in the statute. Stand Your Ground also removed a duty to retreat.
The Task Force will report their findings and recommendations back to the legislature by the next session which meets in March 2013.
Here’s what the law states about “Stand Your Ground”
The defense of Stand Your Ground in Florida Statute 776, Justifiable Use of Force, hinges upon the language in Sections 776.012 and 776.013. Section 776.012 provides, in part, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if
(1) he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or
(2) under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
Section 776.013 provides, in part,
(1) a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril or great bodily harm to himself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle ...
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
Section 776.041 – Use of Force by Aggressor – shoots a big hole in the argument by those who say Stand Your Ground does not create a Wild, Wild West scenario because it does provide immunity for those who start a fight from prosecution. The relevant portion reads, “The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(2) initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.”
Our latest issue takes a look at several cases in Marion Country as well as talk with top insiders for some insight.
What do you think about the “Stand Your Ground” law? Any thoughts on the Zimmerman case?
Let us know in the comments below.