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Gov. Rick Scott announces task force on Stand Your Ground, assigns new state attorney to Trayvon Martin case

The state attorney handling the death case of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin has voluntarily stepped down from the case, Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday evening.

After speaking with Gov. Scott, State Attorney Norman Wolfinger voluntarily decided to step aside form the case to avoid “the appearance of conflict of interest,” according to a release put out by the governor’s office on Thursday evening. Angela B. Corey of the Fourth Judicial Circuit has been appointed the Assigned State Attorney in the case.

Gov. Rick Scott also announced that Florida will put together a task force to study the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which has come under intense media scrutiny in the wake of Trayvon’s death. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Caroll, House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, will be involved in the task force.

“They will be recommending individuals for me to appoint to the Task Force, which will thoroughly review Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and citizen protection,” Scott said in a release.

Here is the text of the release:

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi today worked together to appoint Angela B. Corey (of the 4th Judicial Circuit) as the newly Assigned State Attorney in the investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin. The Governor and Attorney General reached out to State Attorney Norman Wolfinger today. After the conversation, Wolfinger decided to step down from this investigation and turn it over to another state attorney. The Governor has also announced the formation of a task force which will convene following the conclusion of the investigation by State Attorney Corey. The Governor and General Bondi have full faith in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice and State Attorney Corey that a full and thorough investigation will be conducted.

See below a statement from Governor Scott regarding the formation of the task force, and attached the Executive Order appointing Angela B. Corey as the Assigned State Attorney and a letter from State Attorney Norman Wolfinger requesting the assignment of another state attorney to the investigation.

Statement from Florida Governor Rick Scott Regarding the Creation of a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection.

“As law enforcement investigates the death of Trayvon Martin, Floridians and others around the country have rightly recognized this as a terrible tragedy.  Like all Floridians, I believe we must take steps to ensure tragedies like this are avoided.  After listening to many concerned citizens in recent days, I will call for a Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection to investigate how to make sure a tragedy such as this does not occur in the future, while at the same time, protecting the fundamental rights of all of our citizens - especially the right to feel protected and safe in our state.

“To this end, I have asked Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to lead the Task Force, conduct public hearings, take testimony and recommend actions - legislative and otherwise - to both protect our citizens and safeguard our rights.  Reverend R. B. Holmes, Jr., the pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee has agreed to be the vice-chair of the Task Force.  I have also reached out to Attorney General Pam Bondi, Speaker Dean Cannon, President Mike Haridopolos and incoming presiding officers Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford who all agree that a Task Force needs to be assembled.  They will be recommending individuals for me to appoint to the Task Force, which will thoroughly review Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and any other laws, rules, regulations or programs that relate to public safety and citizen protection.


“It is my intention to have the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection convene immediately after the investigation into the death of Trayvon Martin by the newly Assigned State Attorney Angela B. Corey (of the 4th Judicial Circuit) formally ends.  At that time they can define their mission and scope as well as set a timetable for a report, with recommendations to be delivered to my office and to the Florida Legislature.  The Task Force will hold public hearings, take testimony, solicit ideas and review all matters related to the rights of all Floridians to feel safe and secure in our state.  As we exercise our right to be free and secure both in public and in the privacy of our own homes it is important that we have an open and honest discussion on these issues so that we might help avoid such tragedies in the future.”