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Why Stand Your Ground will still stand after George Zimmerman verdict


George Zimmerman is not guilty. Trayvon Martin is dead.

Now Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is back on trial in the court of public opinion.

Count on a hung jury.

There’s just too much raw, partisan emotion surrounding too many intractable issues (guns, crime, race) for any major consensus.

And if the Florida Legislature actually reviews any legislation that makes the case to change the self-defense law, an acquittal is likely.

Republicans control the lawmaking body that passed the NRA-drafted law. They’re not just the defense in this case. They’re the judge and jury in Tallahassee. And polls have shown Florida voters approve of Stand Your Ground, which had a role in the Zimmerman case from start to finish.

Less than a half hour after the jury’s verdict Saturday night, the Florida Senate’s Democratic leader, Fort Lauderdale’s Chris Smith, called for a reexamination of all self-defense laws.

“The fact that a child is dead and an armed man can now walk free without so much as a backward glance sends the wrong message to Florida and its citizens,” Smith said in a written statement.

Smith, who convened a task force last year to review Stand Your Ground, said Florida’s self-defense laws are too “fuzzily defined and broadly drawn” to make clear who can use deadly force and when.

“If someone makes the claim of self defense and the only other witness to the confrontation is dead,” Smith said, “there needs to be a higher standard for proving that the use of deadly force was justified.”

But state Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the legislation that passed in 2005, last year said he wanted to hold off on considering changes until the trial was over. And now he’s more certain than ever that Stand Your Ground is a good law.

The murder and violent-crime rates have been falling for years in Florida, which has more than 1.1 million concealed-weapon permit holders. (But the raw numbers of murders have held about the same, 1,006 last year.)

“People want to use this case for their political platform,” Baxley said. “But really, the prosecution didn’t prove its case. It wasn’t Stand Your Ground. The case came down to basic self defense: me or thee.”

However, Stand Your Ground language, which specifically removed a citizen’s “duty to retreat” in most public confrontations, appeared in the Zimmerman jury’s instructions, which said:

Full column here


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Stand Your ground remains good policy. The prosecution didn't meet its burden and, unfortunately, some people are exploiting this tragedy for their own political advantage.

R. Berthaut

As shown by the O.J. Simpson farce, a defendant being found not guilty in a criminal trial doesn't preclude being held accountable. Let Martin's parents follow Ronald Goldberg's example and file a wrongful death suit against Zimmerman. While Zimmerman clearly lacks the financial resources of an O.J. Simpson and is unlikely to be unable to pay the judgment, his loss would be of some consolation to Martin's parents. Besides, for the rest of his life, Zimmerman is doomed to suffer O.J. Simpson's fate: that is, to be viewed as guilty in the eyes of the public.


Stand Your Ground had *nothing* to do with the Zimmerman case. Zip. Zero. Nada. Was not invoked. His defense was purely self-defense, which long predates SYG. You'd think local news, at least, would get that important fact right.

Pete, Philadelphia, PA

By having "Stand Your Ground" as the law of the land in your state, self defense will and always will be used as the "cover up" too such a disservice towards all citizens of Florida.

Unfortunately, more innocent people will be -- shot to death -- for no reason at all, but just for the use of having "Stand Your Ground" and getting away with!

Something to think about.


Neighborhood watch rules are RULES, not LAWS! Ignoring them is LEGAL
Getting out of your car and following someone is LEGAL, it is not stalking
Police dispatchers are not COPS! Ignoring their instructions is LEGAL!
Carrying a concealed weapon with a permit is LEGAL!
Stopping someone to ask them what they are doing is LEGAL!
Being a wannabe cop is LEGAL!
Racial profiling by CITIZENS is LEGAL! It's the Cops that aren't allowed to do it.
Defending yourself when someone is sitting on your chest beating the hell out of you is LEGAL!

George Zimmerman did nothing illegal, broke no laws, and committed NO CRIME!
Which is what the jury found!

Martin racially profiled George Zimmerman calling him a "Cracker".
Martin could have ignored Zimmerman, walked away and went home. Nothing was stopping him from doing it.
If Zimmerman was pointing a gun at Martin, why would he attack him? It would be suicidal.
The witness closest to the scene and with the best view, testified under oath, he
saw Martin on top of Zimmerman punching him.

The coroner testified there were no marks on Martin's body except for the gunshot wound. Zimmerman never laid a finger on him

Trayvon Martin punched, attacked, knocked to the ground, and beat up George Zimmerman
without provocation simply because he was annoyed with him. He had NO LEGAL RIGHT to attack him and beat him up.

That is illegal and the crime of Aggravated Assault.

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