« Despite group's demand, Adam Putnam says he can't suspend concealed carry permit of Trayvon Martin's shooter | Main | Best (only?) Eminem/Mitt Romney mashup: Will the Real Mitt Romney please stand up? »

Stand Your Ground fathers: Trayvon Martin's killer should likely be arrested, doesn't deserve immunity

The fathers of Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law implicated in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin say the man who shot him to death probably should be arrested and doesn’t deserve a self-defense claim of immunity.

Former state Sen. Durell Peaden and current state Rep. Dennis Baxley say the law they passed in 2005 was designed to protect citizens by giving them the right to “meet force with force.”

Both men say they don’t know all the facts of Trayvon's case. But, they say they believe the law would not allow a person like George Zimmerman to pursue and confront a person like Trayvon and then use deadly force. Zimmerman has not been charged.

“They got the goods on him. They need to prosecute whoever shot the kid,” said Peaden, a Crestview Republican who sponsored the deadly force law in 2005.  “He has no protection under my law.”

Peaden and Baxley say their law, at its heart, is a self-defense law. It says law-abiding people have no duty to retreat. Nowhere does it say that a person has a right to confront another. The law does say a law-abiding citizen can use deadly force if "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."

The 911 tapes strongly suggest Zimmerman overstepped his bounds, they say, when the Sanford neighborhood crime-watch captain said he was following Trayvon and appeared to ignore a police request to stay away.

“The guy lost his defense right then,” said Peaden. “When he said ‘I’m following him,’ he lost his defense.”

Under the law, a person who claims he was acting in self defense can be immune from arrest. But, like Peaden, Baxley said Zimmerman might have lost that right because he could have “aggravated” the situation and provoked a confrontation.

Said Baxley: “There’s nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue and confront people, particularly if law enforcement has told you to stay put. I don’t see why this statute is being challenged in this case. That is to prevent you from being attacked by other people.”

Baxley, R-Ocala, was a little more circumspect than Peaden in calling for Zimmerman’s arrest.

“I don’t want to make that judgment call based on speculation,” Baxley said. I just want to reinforce that there’s nothing in this statute that authorizes people to pursue and confront people.”

Still, there’s a chance Zimmerman could avoid an arrest or a conviction if he were charged because the law gives broad protections to those who claim they had reason to be afraid and to use deadly force.

There’s a chance, for instance, that Zimmerman decided to stop following Trayvon after he was told by a police dispatcher “Okay, we don't need you to do that.” After that, Trayvon could have changed course and confronted Zimmerman.

It’s unclear. Only Zimmerman appears to know. Still, the 911 tapes suggest Zimmerman may have gotten out of his car just after he admitted he was following Trayvon.

Baxley suggested that doesn’t bode well for Zimmerman’s defense.

“If he provoked it by pursing him, I think he’s on thin ice,” Baxley said.

The comments from the two lawmakers add more weight to the criticisms of Sanford's police department and the area's prosecutor. It's also a preview of the arguments that will rage in the state Legislature, where some lawmakers are calling for hearings into and a repeal of the Stand Your Ground law.

Both Baxley and Peaden said the law didn’t need to be clarified and said some are using Trayvon's death to attack gun rights.

Peaden said he sponsored the law in 2005 after an old man from Pensacola shot an intruder at a trailer where he lived after his home was damaged by a hurricane. The old man was never charged, and critics said that proved Peaden’s legislation wasn’t needed. Peaden said he sponsored the legislation to ensure that those who defend their property know they won’t have to hire a lawyer to defend themselves in court for defending themselves.

But the law went farther than a mere property-protection act. The core of the legislation adjusted what’s known as “the Castle Doctrine” — the concept that a man’s home is his castle and that he owes no duty to retreat when someone breaks in. The Legislature declared that people had no duty to retreat almost anywhere.


Baxley said the law isn’t the problem. It’s the “application” of the law that’s at issue.

If anything needs to be changed in law, Baxley said, it’s making sure that crime-watch captains aren’t acting like armed vigilantes.

“If you want to pass something, pass something that limits their ability to pursue and confront people,” Baxley said.

“It’s about crime watch. What are the limitations of crime watch? Are you allowed to jump out and follow people and confront them? What do you think is going to happen? That’s where it starts.

“I don’t think it’s about that statute. I think it’s about the crime-watch role and limiting people’s role in feeling like they have the authority to pursue and confront people. That is aggravating an incident right there.”

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

sheldon ort

Mr. Zimmerman killed an innocent person who was walking home minding his own business. The Sanford police should have arrested the shooter on the spot. Glad to see the Department of Justice involved to correct this wrong.

Denny Wood

The fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested, is a very good indication that legislation is needed to fully clarify the law, irregardless of what these legislators and former legislators are saying. It is this law that is preventing an arrest of Zimmerman.

This same police force, has done a shoddy investigation, and did not test Zimmerman for the same thing they tested the dead young man for. Why bother if they are using the self defense criteria not to arrest Zimmerman.

Currently, this law is a simple license to kill with a firearm. In Miami police just killed a man because he had a knife and did not put it down. BANG. DEAD. Had he used the knife to approach the police to do bodily harm maybe discharging a gun might be appropriate.

R Joseph

Mr. Zimmerman killed teenager not old enough to get into an R Rated movie alone while playing Cops and Robbers with a loaded gun.

Guns do not kill people, people do --- and Zimmerman best be found guilty and sent away for a long time.

Anyone trying to protect this man is saying anyone can walk up to you when you are alone - shoot you dead - then claim self defense. Is that what you want for your family?

Steve

I believe the only reason Zimmerman hasn't been arrested is because his injuries are consistent with someone being attacked. Bloody nose, grass stains on his back, bleeding from the back of the head...None would be present if he simply walked up and shot the guy...

JAC

Looks like another government employee will be taking an FULLY PAID EARLY REITREMENT

merridee

This law gave Zimmerman reason to believe he could hunt Trayvon Martin with impunity.

LYNSU

ARREST ZIMMERMAN NOW! THEN EXECUTE HIM, THE WAY HE EXECUTED TRAVON MARTIN. ONE IN THE CHEST!

Ned

Didn't Zimmerman say that Martin leaped out of the bushes when he went looking for him? That would make Martin the one who initiated the physical confrontation, not Zimmerman.

grandma

An eye for an eye A tooth for a tooth. Be very happy Mr zimmerman I"m not that Childs Parent , You would be Shot on the Spot

MsDe

HAS ANYONE THOUGHT PERHAPS ZIMMERMAN BLOODED HIS OWN NOSE AFTER HE SHOT THE TEEN REALIZING HE NEEDED TO JUSTIFY HIS MURDERING THE BOY TO MAKE IT APPEAR AS SELF-DEFENSE DESPITE. (EVEN THOUGH THE FACT IS POLICE DISPATCHER TOLD ZIMMERMAN NOT TO CONFRONT THE TEEN.

Christopher Kidwell

They hit the nail on the head with the "You are not supposed to pursue!" clause there.

All self-defense laws have it that if you pursue someone (unless you think someone else is in danger at that very moment) you lose your protection under those laws if/when you kill someone.

Why? Because you instigated a first confrontation or another confrontation.

E.Lee

Under any interpretation of the facts, Treyvonn was within his rights under the law to "use deadly force" to protect himself from an advancing, menacing intruder (Zimmerman). I'm not saying that he did, I'm just saying that "well, Treyvonn fought back" doesn't justify protection under the law. One should not provoke use of dangerous force in order to use dangerous force against another. If that's how this law is interpreted, then we're back in the wild, wild West. The law needs to go, Zimmerman needs to rot in jail.

Christopher Kidwell

E.Lee, the law doesn't need to go. There is NOTHING in that self-defense law (which is necessary to prevent prosecutors from trying to punish people for defending themselves in their own homes, ala Britain) that protects this man.

alcu11

None of those grass stains or bloody noses would be present at all if he HADN'T GOTTEN OUT OF THE CAR AND CONFRONTED TRAYVON AT ALL. Maybe, JUST MAYBE, the law as written is to ALLOW TRAYVON TO DEFEND HIMSELF FROM ZIMMERMAN AND HE GOT WHOOPED AND THEN TRIGGER HAPPY.

Poor Trayvon. May justice find and give his family some peace of mind. Because once we have all moved on from this case, the fact remains that his mother and father will not get to see their son become a man. That is heartbreaking.

JR

The guy wasn't even an official member of the neighborhood watch, he was a wanna-be.

Even if the kid slugged him after being confronted, the wanna-be watchman doesn't get a pass by any means. he chased, harassed and frightened the kid first. Unless you want to set a precedent that I can walk up to someone and kick him in the nuts, then shoot him "in self-defense" when he comes after me.

D SMITH

ZIMMERMAN MOST LIKELY BLOODED HIS OWN NOSE,SO HIS MURDERING THE TEEN WOULD APPEAR AS JUSTIFIABLE TO THE PUBLIC (EVEN THOUGH HE WAS TOLD BY THE POLICE DISPATCHER NOT TO CONFRONT TEEN.) BUT, ZIMMERMAN WOULD NOT WAIT FOR THE POLICE. HIS AGENDA WAS TO KILL A BLACK MALE, AN INNOCENT, DEFENSELESS TEEN!

NIKKIFREE

@Steve, other than a hole in his chest, what were Trayvon's injuries? Trayvon's other injuries could have been consistent to someone being attacked as well!

Jacob Fisher

The relevant facts in this situation are: 1)Zimmerman was following Martin 2)Zimmerman was advised to not initiate contact with Martin 3)Zimmerman left his car to follow Martin on foot 4)Zimmerman shoots Martin. Nowhere in these facts does Martin do anything to provoke Zimmerman. It doesn't show in the 911 calls Zimmerman made, or the call Martin's girlfriend had with Martin right before the shooting. Regardless of the physical encounter between Zimmerman and Martin right before the shooting, Zimmerman initiated all of this. As the Stand Your Ground Law is written, apparently, you CAN initiate contact with someone and then shoot them in "self-defense". If this law is to remain on the books it needs to be revised to protect people like Trayvon Martin from predators like George Zimmerman.

Eve

If Zimmerman had injuries or grass stains on clothing, that just says that Trayvon put up a good fight trying to defend himself against this stranger who had been following him. Would you say that a rape victim would deserve to be killed if she fought back during her rape. Could the rapist claim self-defense because she injured him while she was trying to protect herself.

HLaw

The law is not the problem. The problem lies with the idiot who thought he had the right to pursue and accost Martin and the idiot chief of police and local prosecutors who apparently do not undertand the relevant law, including the concept of probable cause. In this instance, Zimmerman was the aggressor and created the confrontation. The "Stand Your Ground" law would in no way hinder Zimmerman's prosecution and a reasonable judge would find accordingly.

Can't take anymore

Looks like the "self defense" law is being used as planned by the NRA dupes who passed it. If someone (sic. minority) you distrust pisses you off you are allowed to shoot them. End of discussion. Welcome to Florida, home of the brave when armed.

JustSaying

In Kentucky a case where the shooter sucessfully claimed self defense allegedly provoked the encounter by using racial slurs towards the victim. While there is nothing in the law that allows a person to provoke a siuation there is also is nothing in the law that forbids a person from doing as such. There is no law against insulting someone or following them or contributing to the hostile environement of the encounter and as such these lawmakers are disingenious in defending the law as is currently in place. The problem is the statue and how it is written. It must hold people with a weapon accountable. The law must be explicit in letting people know that if you are carrying a weapon you also carry a greater duty to act responsibly in public and not aggravate or provoke a situation which you know can potentially lead to a deadly encounter, otherwise there are many idiots out there who will gladly start out cussing and finish out shooting. And they will have be consistent with enforcement because this guy is not arrested, tried and convicted that will be the precedent established by this law.

spencer

Police do not want to shoot people unless last resort.This guy did blink an eye something is wrong here.I smell a rat.

Gweiser

I would be interested in the statistics showing how often the self defense justification has been used to exonerate a black man using deadly force against an attacker. I tried googling but could not find a case. In effect, the law has protected many white people from prosecution for shooting black people.

Michael andrews


It is a beyond sad commentary that this case is not turned around, Viewed from a different perspective. Had the Black man been the neighborhood watch man & shot the unarmed white teen. Well we all know that the arrest would have been swift & immediate. This double standard is wrong , the police told him to stand down for a reason they are trained to handle these situations. Even though there have been tragedy's with police as well.
Society cannot let this disappear a public out cry of major proportions is in order. If you carry a concealed weapons permit and a loaded fire arm you are fully responsible for your actions other wise let every citizen be armed and retire all law enforcement. .

Mary Dawson

When this beefy-faced IDIOT wannabe cop gets to jail I hope they put his a** in the general population...THEN he'll really have a reason to call for help!!!! It's hard to BELIEVE that this is TWO THOUSAND TWELVE!!!!!

Tim

First of all if you following someone how can you say you are fearing for your life. In any state except Florida that's MURDER

james paps

There is another criteria that wasn't met - "can use deadly force if "if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself"
How can Zimmerman claim that he was under threat of death or great bodily harm? A bloody nose doesn't constitute great bodily harm. How can he claim that his life was threatened by a 140lb kid? Between this clause and the evidence that suggests Zimmerman pursued and initiated the confrontation the shooting clearly wasn't justified (even under the stand your ground law).
Didn't the police read the law? They just accepted Zimmermans side of the story? Why didn't they ask Martin for his side of the story? Oh yeah, because he was dead.

rijde

The law is a nightmare. We've created archduke Zimmerman and his castle, Twin Lakes! He can just go out stalk people's kids and then he can execute them.

windy city

...maybe Florida should just change the name from "Stand your Ground" to "Stalk Your Prey". Makes more sense...

Joseph S.

People break laws all day long, it does not mean the law is wrong or unfair. People will always use the very law they break to hide behind. When laws are used to take rights away (like using a gun in self-defence)only honset people will suffer ,because only honest people follow the law. ONLY CROOKS AND DICTATORS FEAR HONEST PEOPLE OWNING FIREARMS...like Hitler,Stalan,ect.The first thind they did was disarm the people they wanted to rule over then wipe out.

zimmermanh8r

DONT DROP THE SOAP MAN!

K. Harsh

Relax everyone, justice will be done. An arrest would have been most questionable under the law, but as noted, the facts do suggest charge(s) will be filed or the case presented to a grand jury. The law does not need to be changed, the ignorance of the public does. And, shame on the Feds for getting involved. Their racial bias is crippling this country,

Sayid

If I was the father of that child I would have hunted that man till I killed him like he did to my child. Tell the Police thanks for trying your best and go to the nearest gun store and get a M16 rifle I am sure the Florida law will find you insane due to the trauma that you faced after losing a son.

FloridaSense

Was this kid "just minding his own business"? Listen, I do not condone shooting this kid, unless the kid was punching and strangling the shooter. I have been followed by plenty of shmucky rent-a-cops when I was up to no good. When they told me to get lost, I did. I did not tell him to 'f@ck off' and swing at him. Furthermore, if I am paying to have someone patrol my neighborhood that I pay alot to live in then I want the security to persue kids lurking around who do not live there. Is the guard supposed to just let everyone who walks by...walk by and do what they feel? There is fault by the guard but I can't let this turn into a situation where everyone is claiming Jesus was walking thru thsi neighborhood to deliver food to starving children. As much as he shoudl not have been shot...the kid shoudl not have done many of the things he did. It is a shame.

Mary

For people saying Martin attacked him from the bushes that might very well be and he might have even attacked Zimmerman and if he had killed Zimmerman then he could have pleaded the self-defense law because MARTIN WAS THE ONE BEING FOLLOWED!! The law is clear, YOU DON'T GO LOOKING FOR TROUBLE YOU TAKE ACTION WHEN TROUBLE COMES TO YOU!!!!

Gary McGowan

My uncle was murdered a few years back, but swept under the rug because he had a few run-ins with drugs in the years preceding. Too often this happens. I see a parallel in this case, that the white guy was freed, based on an assumption of guilt of the dead. If the kid was running away and cops were on the way, there is no reason that the shooter should end up on top of him, out of his car, and shooting him. There was no fear exhibited by anyone except the kid running away from the shooter. Zimmerman committed first degree murder. The end.

Ashley

FloridaSense-- You are uninformed. This man was not a guard and the child lived in the neighborhood. You are simply uninformed. They weren't paying Zimmerman to patrol the neighborhood and all of the phone records and witnesses say that Treyvan did not start a fight. Also, Zimmerman's injuries were not mentioned by police in any reports until they received scrutiny from the federal government. That is suspicious.

ALSO, The problem with this law is that IT ALLOWS POLICE TO DECIDE WHETHER IT WAS SELF DEFENSE RATHER THAN TEMPORARILY DETAINING THE PERSON AND HOLDING A GRAND JURY HEARING. This lets criminals get away. The officers don't have law degrees

aaron

the police cheif said that you cant beat the crap out of someone who asks you what are you doing here, and then says he believed zimmerman when he said he got out of his car to find the street name and was on his way back when trayvon attacked from behind, that makes no sense, how can you believe he confronted him and also did not confront him

david

Mr. Zimmerman killed an innocent person who was walking home minding his own business. The Sanford police should have arrested the shooter on the spot. Glad to see the Department of Justice involved to correct this wrong.

FloridaSense

Sorry Ashley- No from Sanford, from Dade COuntty visiting and the folks he was visiting did nto live there either. A shame he passed but you can fool yourself all you want that Zimmerman, though quite foolish and careless, was just stalking this kid like running man or something. I fell horrible for the kid but you are also hanging this guy before any course is taken. Oh, and those 'phone records' were far from records. All they have is a 13 year old girl telling them what she remembers her boyfriend saying. Which, I am sure, is 100% factual and does not deviate whatsoever from what may have actually happened...there were also zero witnesses.
So- Ashley, get your story straight and let it play out. If someone is guilty, they will get there just desserts. DOJ is involved, you got yoru wish and I am sure with all the Liberal Klan poking their nose into this situation Zimmerman will get the death penalty even if he is innocent.

Jocko

I have a CCL in PA and am active in the shooting sports. If Mr. Zimmerman pursued the victim it obviously was not a stand your ground situation since Mr. Zimmerman did not stand his ground but rather chased after the victim. Police should have arrested him because they knew he did not stop pursuing when requested.

Timus

FloridaSense:

Zimmerman should get the death penalty if he stalked a kid and killed him. And if you listen to the tapes from the elderly couple's call you hear someone screaming for help as though they were about to lose their life. Common sense tells me that the guy who would get out of his car, follow a kid into a backyard, carrying a gun no less, isn't the one screaming for his life. But far be it from me to expect people to have common sense when it comes to this. And let's be real. The police knew that they should have detained Zimmeramn. They knew that this was NOT self defence. Why would they not detain Zimmerman? Was the value of this childs life less than the value of Zimmerman's freedom?

adale

zimmerman made several mistakes. First, if he was able to call 911 then obviously he was not in immediate danger. If he was in his car then martin was not a threat to him. If he was following martin then Martin was not a threat to him. The 911 dispatcher told him not to pursue Martin. Zimmerman said ok but then Persued Martin anyway.Zimmerman didn't identify himself as a neighborhood watch ( he was not wearing a security uniform)when he confronted him. Martin probably feared for his life when he was followed by and then confronted by a stranger who didn't identify himself as any type of authority and was almost 80 pounds heavier than him. Even if Martin had attacked him first and then ran away he was no longer a threat and should not have persued him. I think Zimmerman will eventually be arrested and convicted of murder. There is nothing wrong with the law. Stand your ground means stand and fight back with force if your life is in danger not LEAVE YOUR GROUND and persue a person who is not ATTACKING or THREATENING you.

RKing


This law gave Zimmerman reason to believe he could hunt Trayvon Martin with impunity.

Posted by: merridee | March 20, 2012 at 01:15 PM

Merridee, obviously you have not read the law. Making a statement like that with a lack of knowledge (happens to be the definition of ignorance) is very dangerous. One of the authors of the law clearly stated, "There’s nothing in this statute that authorizes you to pursue and confront people, particularly if law enforcement has told you to stay put. I don’t see why this statute is being challenged in this case. That is to prevent you from being attacked by other people.” Which also stands to reason you didn't read the entire article. You can not form a valid and coherent argument or opinion on a subject matter when ill informed.

RKing

I agree that Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested just on the grounds of his following young Trayvon. It is abuses, such as this, of the freedoms we hold dear that make people that oppose gun rights scream guns kill people. To the contrary, people kill people, guns are simply a mechanism. If Trayvon were killed using a baseball bat, would that warrant a ban on bats? What if it were done with a portable bicycle pump? Ban bicycle pumps? NO, we need to remember that with RIGHTS come RESPONSIBILTIES, and those that can not handle the responsibility should be held accountable, PERIOD. Regardless of the color of the two people, since the New Black Liberation Militia is viewing this through the color defining lenses of the issue, what Mr. Zimmerman did was wrong. He was the person that should have known better, given that he was the possessor of a CCL.

ladymay

Just looking at the picture of this Big Bozo and the poor little kid tells you everything.. A picture speaks a thousand words. Big bad Zimmerman Murderer!! Why didn't they check him for insanity or drugs? You don't pursue a kid shot them and claim self defense idiots!

LaVerne Floyd

I AM VERY UP SET THIS STILL HAPPEN IN THE GREAT OLD USA, THEY CALL A GREAT COUNTRY TO LIVE IN. MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS CAN NOT WALK IN NEIGHBORS HERE IN AMERICAN WITHOUT GETTING KILL. WHAT IN THE HECK GOING ON. NOW I HAVE GRAND SONS GRAND DAUGHTERS.I FELL WHY DID ZIMMERMAN CARRY A GUN FOR JUST RIDING THOUGH THE NEIGHBOR WATCHING? DO THIS MEANS, THAT
CHILD SHOULD HAD HIS GUN ALSO? IF THAT THE CASE IT IS TIME I GO OUT AND BUY ME A GUN, TELL ALL MY CHILDREN TO BUY THEIR SELF A GUN, TELL ALL MY GRAND CHILDREN TO BUY THEIR SELF A GUN, TELL MY NEIGHBOR TO BUY THEIR SELF GUN, WE WOULD BECOME ONE BIG GUN TOKEN COUNTRY. EVERYONE WANT'S TO LIVE IN USA WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR LAWS HERE IN THE USA STARTING WITH THE POLICE. NOT SHOOTING TO KILL PEOPLE, MAN OUT SIDE WITH A KNIFE, POLICE SHOOT AND KILL HIM. THE MAN MIGHT HAD A MENTAL PROBLEM, BUT OUR POLICE SHOOT TO KILL. SHOOT SOMEONE NEXT TIME IN THE HAND OR LEG? THAT THEY MIGHT LIVE TO GET THEIR LIVES BACK TO GATHER'

booroe

#1. He was following the 17 year old male.
#2. upon catching up with him, of course they tussled.
#3. What was Zimmerman going to do upon catching up with the boy? invite him over to play video games come on folks really. He went after the boy to kill him.
#4. Zimmerman sustained his injuries because Trayvon was trying to defend himself.

You racist people always playt he stupid game, well we will stand and stand. Singing "we shall over come ain't gonna work this time. Got-dam-it this lynching our black boys and men has to STOP once and for all.
No more, No more. Let justice be served!!

Cure8722

Trayvon was pushed once Zimmerman caught up to him (Zimmerman admitted that he was following the kid on the 911 tape). The kid was not following him and Trayvon's girlfriend indicates that Zimmerman pushed Trayvon (a competent jury can infer that the girlfriend heard the conversation because cellphone records indicated that they were talking 4-5 minutes before the police first arrived on the scene--Trayvon was already dead when the police first arrived). That ends the self-defense for Zimmerman. You can not start a fight...Trayvon may have felt threatened by this stranger when he was pushed, so he punches Zimmerman or he Zimmerman with the only weapon he had at the time...his cellphone (He probably held his cellphone in the palm of his hand and slapped Zimmerman in the face with it...this knocks zimmerman to the ground..Zimmerman loses his mind...jumps up and shoots an innocent victim (as Trayvon begs for his life).

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.