The “Stand Your Ground” Law, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood lobbyist!

(This was first posted in March, 2012)

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In 2005, then Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed the now controversial “Stand Your Ground” law. The legislation was an expansion to what was known as the “castle doctrine”. Whereas, a person has certain protections and immunities and may in certain circumstances attack an intruder without becoming liable to prosecution.

The expansion of the law now allows anyone use deadly force without attempting to retreat in any location and removes the requirement that your own property is threatened. The law has resulted in self-defense claims tripling, with all but one of those killed unarmed. The Florida law has been used to excuse neighborhood brawls, bar fights, road rage, and even street gang violence.

Critics argue that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law makes it very difficult to prosecute cases against people who shoot others and then claim self-defense. The shooter can argue they felt threatened, and in most cases, the only witness who could have argued otherwise is the victim who was shot and killed, as was the case in the Trayvon Martin killing.

To figure out how such a tragedy could take place, you have to look back at who would want to enact such a law. To start, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, for short, is a politically conservative, nonprofit policy organization, consisting of both state legislators and members of the private sector, mostly representing corporations. It’s most active donors are the Koch brothers, who have given millions of dollars to the organization for conservative causes.

ALEC lobbied for the bill with the assistance of the National Rifle Association, who brought it to their attention. Florida State Senator Durell Peadon, an ALEC member, introduced the bill in his state and it passed in early 2005. NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer reportedly stared down legislators as they voted. After Governor Jeb Bush signed it into law, Hammer presented the bill to ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force (now known as the Public Safety and Elections Task Force) months later.

It’s still too early to figure out if the law will pertain to the suspect in the case. Regardless, the law is now under scrutiny, and is certain to be open for debate on whether to repeal it.

Update: By now, all of you know what the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.  The “Stand Your Ground” law worked to perfection for all citizens afraid to confront people without having to use common sense and diplomacy, even though the Zimmerman’s lawyers never used it in their defense. It is now legal for anyone to use a gun on anyone for any reason without malice.  It’s now open season on all black teenagers in Florida.

God have mercy on us all!  

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About smoothjazzandmore

I'm a TV producer and an Internet radio broadcaster. I also write for my blogs (An Op-Ed Blog and a Football Blog) here at WordPress.
This entry was posted in Florida, Racism, Stand Your Ground, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The “Stand Your Ground” Law, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood lobbyist!

  1. lwk2431 says:

    “…even though the Zimmerman’s lawyers never used [Stand Your Ground] in their defense.”

    If Zimmerman didn’t use a Stand Your Ground defense then it should be clear that flight or retreat was not an option, not with Martin sitting on top of him beating him. At least the jury believed that was plausible and that there was reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted illegally in self defense.

    “It is now legal for anyone to use a gun on anyone for any reason without malice. It’s now open season on all black teenagers in Florida.”

    That is just not true. Most states, even with a stand your ground law, hold that not only must you be in fear of your life or great bodily injury _and_ that a reasonable person would have seen it the same way (if you go to a trial after killing someone you will need to convince the jury that your fears were justified and a reasonable person would have done the same thing).

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    • Simply put, the prosecution dropped the ball. They aimed too high by going for Murder 2 and not Manslaughter. They didn’t call rebuttal witnesses to testify on Zimmerman’s previous violent behavior. The jury was was confused by the meaning of Manslaughter, which the judge wouldn’t explain to them. In honesty, I don’t even think the prosecution wanted to do this trial. The only reason they had to is because of the public outcry over the crappy job the Sanford Police did. Next to Casey Anthony, this was the worst job I’ve seen a District Attorney’s office do.

  2. lwk2431 says:

    ” I don’t even think the prosecution wanted to do this trial. The only reason they had to is because of the public outcry over the crappy job the Sanford Police did.”

    The Sanford Police didn’t see reasonable cause to arrest Zimmerman. They thought it looked like a clear cut case of legal self defense. The original D.A. didn’t want to bring charges either because he didn’t see a winnable case against Zimmerman.

    It was only after the case became hugely politicized that the Fla. governor appointed a special prosecuting attorney. Normally you would take a case to a Grand Jury to get an indictment, but she didn’t – the obvious conclusion being that she didn’t think there was evidence sufficient to get an indictment. Somehow, and I don’t particularly understand Fla. law on this, she was able to bring an indictment without a Grand Jury (maybe because she was “special”?).

    The part I agree you with is the “public outcry” and how that politicized the case. That was clearly the case. Zimmerman was “profiled” by the media as a “white hispanic,” a new racial definition invented to make Zimmerman “white” in some fashion to fit the racial narrative the media created around a white man murdering an innocent young black boy.

    The jury verdict vindicated the Sanford Police Dept. and the original prosecuting attorney. There wasn’t a winnable case and it was all motivated by politics and perception created by a media frantic to have a story to sell (the old news saying that “if it bleeds, it leads” and sells newspapers, etc.).

    I don’t buy the argument that the defense dropped the ball. They simply had nothing much to work with to with. Fortunately for justice the jurors followed the law and the facts. Having been on a jury once, for a serious crime involving a man who attacked and seriously wounded a man with a knife, I can appreciate how difficult that was. That case also involved some racial prejudice in an unusual way, but I leave that story for another day.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    • I was also on a jury. Poor guy lost his leg due to a shooting. The guy on trial in that case took the stand to tell his side of the story. We found him not guilty. Didn’t mean he was, just there was not enough evidence to convict. Same thing in the Zimmerman case. At the end of the day, Zimmerman still killed the kid. But with the help of the state of Florida and the Sanford Police department, he walked “scot-free”.

  3. lwk2431 says:

    “We found him not guilty. Didn’t mean he was, just there was not enough evidence to convict. Same thing in the Zimmerman case.”

    Which I agree is the proper standard. You have to find a person guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    “Same thing in the Zimmerman case. At the end of the day, Zimmerman still killed the kid.”

    There is no doubt that Zimmerman killed him. I agree that “same thing happened,” that is, the jurors didn’t find enough evidence credible enough “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.

    “But with the help of the state of Florida and the Sanford Police department, he walked ‘scot-free’.”

    Not entirely sure what your complaint is with the Sanford Police department other than their unwillingness to press charges. But it seems to me that the governor of Florida appointed a very politicized prosecutor who was highly motivated to win the case. But in the end facts (or lack thereof) won. Reminds me of another highly publicized case where the defense attorney’s line became famous: “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must aquit!” 🙂

    I think that Zimmerman, despite all the media hype and often mis-reporting of facts, walked free because a jury that would have liked to have convicted him of something could not do so on the facts alone. I have read several interviews with jurors and that seems to me like a recurrent theme, at least from some. They would have like to convict him of something, but just couldn’t if they followed the law and the evidence (not sure all of them agreed with the law either).

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

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