Florida Sen. Chris Smith to Gov. Rick Scott: delay of 'Stand Your Ground' review 'disappointing,' 'puzzling'
State Sen. Chris Smith of Fort Lauderdale, the incoming Democratic leader, has sent Gov. Rick Scott a letter calling the governor's delay to review Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law "disappointing." Scott had proposed that a special task force examine the law following the death of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens 17-year-old shot and killed last month in Sanford.
Smith and other lawmakers had requested that Scott speed up convening the task force. The governor's office told him expediting the task force's work before more details of the Trayvon case become available would be "premature."
"Apparently you or your spokesman misunderstood the intention of my letter," Smith wrote Scott.
"Governor, my request to expedite the task force is not just about Trayvon Martin or skittles and iced tea. It is about the ambiguity of a highly contentious law that since 2005 has left a string of killings throughout Florida and the invocation of 'stand your ground' as a shield of immunity from prosecution. It is about the confusion on the part of the public, law enforcement and our judicial system, and the haphazard interpretation and application of the law. And it is about your puzzling willingness to delay for up to a year a critical review of Stand Your Ground by a task force you proposed, despite a wealth of existing data and cases already available for dissection."
Scott was asked at a news conference Wednesday whether he would accelerate the task force and he said he didn't see a need to do that. The task force should meet "once the investigation is over," he said.
"If we determine that we're not treating citizens in the state properly every official up here would agree to the same thing -- we'll make the change. But the right thing to do is let's first get through this investigation. Let's find out what happened here. Let's make sure justice prevails. Then, we will have this task force."
Click after the jump for the full text of Smith's letter.