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Does 'Stand Your Ground' Law Need to Be Amended?

News 2012/03/20 23:29:30
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George Zimmerman, 28, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a gated community on February 26. The details of the shooting are vague and more than a little suspicious, but the case was thrust into the public forum when Zimmerman called upon Florida's 2005 "Stand Your Ground" law, claiming he shot the boy in self-defense. Now the case is going before a grand jury, and Zimmerman is still a free man.

Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch volunteer, and had called the police several times over the last few months to complain about break-ins and kids playing in the street. In a police recording from the day of the shooting, Zimmerman reported a "suspicious black male" whom he was following. Police told him not to follow, to which Zimmerman replied, "These a------s always get away." A lawyer for the Martin family says there was a 16-year-old girl on the phone with Martin just before the shooting, and claims the boy expressed concern about being followed.

Jeffrey Bellin, who teaches law at Southern Methodist University, described the "Stand Your Ground" law to NPR: "As long as you are somewhere you have a lawful right to be, if someone attacks you, the words of the statute are you can meet force with force, including deadly force, if you reasonably believe that that is necessary." What do you think about the "Stand Your Ground" law?


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Top Opinion

  • wilsonmja 2012/03/21 00:27:54
    No
    wilsonmja
    +48
    The stand your ground law is fine. The crime stats in Florida prove that. This man's actions are not protected under the stand your ground law. He wasn't attacked.

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  • Shantay... Kiosk Kid 2012/03/28 20:16:13
    Shantay Thompson
    Just put your misinformed tail between your legs and slink back into obscurity........PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
  • Kiosk Kid Shantay... 2012/03/29 14:10:22
    Kiosk Kid
    +1
    You don't like facts do you? The facts get better; Zimmerman is a registered Hispanic Democrat?
  • Shantay... Kiosk Kid 2012/03/28 20:14:35
  • BUD LITE Shantay... 2012/03/29 07:15:41
    BUD LITE
    You are the racist....and a stupid one at that.
  • Shantay... Kiosk Kid 2012/03/28 20:33:54
    Shantay Thompson
    What evidence? The cops completely contamminated the crime scene......
  • Kiosk Kid Shantay... 2012/03/29 14:28:42
    Kiosk Kid
    The facts are simple. Does Zimmerman have a broken nose? Does he have wounds? Why would Zimmerman's lawyer lie when the police have the evidence? It wouldn’t look good for the lawyer to lie on TV.

    Instead of spewing accusations of racism, you need to find out the facts.

    What about your racist friends that put a bounty on Zimmerman.
  • TJ 2012/03/26 15:24:08
    No
    TJ
    +4
    I think it is kinda strange that the media keeps showing the picture that is shown here. It looks like he is about 12. I have seen a more recent picture of him, and he looked like a thug. I am not saying that Mr. Zimmerman was right or wrong. I don't know the scenario. I just think the media is showing the picture of the sweet little kid to sway the opinion of the public/Jury, because they disagree with the law.
  • Lana TJ 2012/03/28 00:51:12
    Lana
    +1
    I'm not trying to argue with you, but if you will notice, they show Zimmerman as a much younger person also, in High School graduation shots, game playing works both ways now doesn't it.
  • Shantay... TJ 2012/03/28 20:28:08
    Shantay Thompson
    PROFILER........"There's something happenin' here, what it is ain't exactlly clear. You better STOP children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' down.......there's a man over there with a gun over there telling me " I got to be aware." We gotta stop people, what's that sound? Everybody look whatks goin' down......battle lines being drawn, nobodies right if everybodies wrong. We need to STOP, hey, whatks that sound everybody look what's goin' down........" - Buffalo Springfeild-
  • Shantay... TJ 2012/03/28 20:40:16
  • TJ Shantay... 2012/03/29 18:36:11
    TJ
    I said it was propaganda also. I'm not sure I understand what you are saying.
  • S and S 2012/03/26 07:24:51
  • Michelle S and S 2012/03/26 13:42:40
    Michelle
    +5
    Ignorance is bliss....People Kill People NOT GUNS!!!
  • S and S Michelle 2012/03/26 14:17:02
  • Sawdust... S and S 2012/03/26 20:11:54
  • S and S Sawdust... 2012/03/26 20:21:54
  • Sawdust... S and S 2012/03/26 20:27:14
    Sawdust_128
    +3
    You might see it ion FOX tonite. I think O'Reily is doing a segment on it.
  • Ejayt7 Sawdust... 2012/03/27 03:54:20
    Ejayt7
    +1
    It seems by these picture Zimmerman could have used a fist against the teenager not a gun even if he is 5' 2" and Martin was 6' 3''. If he was not man enough to overpower a young kid, he have no business patrolling if he thought he needed to increase his odds of survial.That why he have no business pursuing Martin or any person in a gated secure neighborhood. Martin pass to enter out of the gate and pass to enter back in the gate. If you cannot overpower a kid, how can you overpower a man 5' 2''. No one had a prayer that night against Zimmerman' s hand on the gun.
  • Sawdust... Ejayt7 2012/03/27 06:59:04
    Sawdust_128
    +2
    I don't think you have your facts correct. Not at all like what was reported this evening.

    And you are quite wrong, he had every bit of business getting a close look at what was happening in HIS OWN neighborhood.

    ------------------------FROM THE CITY OF SANDFORD---------------------...

    Fellow Citizens:
    There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George
    Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the City of Sanford, Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvon’s family must be going through. The City of Sanford is committed to insuring that justice is served and, therefore, the City of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney General’s Office for assistance in this matter.

    In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter. Below are his responses. Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police De...











































    I don't think you have your facts correct. Not at all like what was reported this evening.

    And you are quite wrong, he had every bit of business getting a close look at what was happening in HIS OWN neighborhood.

    ------------------------FROM THE CITY OF SANDFORD---------------------...

    Fellow Citizens:
    There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George
    Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the City of Sanford, Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin. As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvon’s family must be going through. The City of Sanford is committed to insuring that justice is served and, therefore, the City of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney General’s Office for assistance in this matter.

    In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter. Below are his responses. Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police Department is limited in what information it can publicly release.

    The men and women of the Sanford Police Department extend our heartfelt
    sympathies to the Martin family. This is indeed a tragic situation. The death of
    anyone due to violence, especially a 17 year old young man, is morally appalling.

    As this incident has generated a lot of media attention, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

    Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting?
    When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr.
    Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony. By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time. Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause. If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.

    According to Florida Statute 776.032 :
    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use
    of force.—
    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have
    known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

    Why weren’t the 911 tapes initially released?
    There are exemptions to the public records laws for active criminal intelligence and for ongoing investigations. In this instance, the 911 calls made by neighbors in the subdivision, and the non-emergency call made by Mr. Zimmerman are all key to the investigation by Sanford Police Department. In consultation with the Office of the State Attorney, the Sanford police department had decided not to release the audio recordings of the 911 calls due to the ongoing investigation. Many times, specific information is contained in those recordings which is vital to the integrity of the investigation. At the time, it was determined that if revealed, the information may compromise the integrity of the investigation prior to its completion. The 911 tapes have since been released.

    Why did Mr. Zimmerman have a firearm in his possession while acting in the
    role of a neighborhood watch member?
    Mr. Zimmerman holds a concealed weapon permit issued from the State of Florida. He is authorized to carry the weapon in a concealed manner wherever Florida Statute dictates. Neighborhood Watch programs are designed for members of a neighborhood to be “eyes and ears” for police and to watch out for their neighbors. They are not members of the Police Department nor are they vigilantes. Training provided by law enforcement agencies to Neighborhood Watch organizations stresses non-contact surveillance of suspicious situations and notifying police of those situations so that law enforcement can respond and take control of the situation.

    Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred. He was in fact on a personal errand in his vehicle when he observed Mr. Martin in the community and called the Sanford Police Department.

    If Zimmerman was told not to continue to follow Trayvon, can that be
    considered in this investigation?
    Yes it will; however, the telecommunications call taker asked Zimmerman “are you following him”. Zimmerman replied, “yes”. The call taker stated “you don’t need to do that”. The call taker’s suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be required to follow. Zimmerman’s statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon.

    Why was George Zimmerman labeled as “squeaky clean” when in fact he has
    a prior arrest history?
    In one of the initial meetings with the father of the victim the investigator related to him the account that Mr. Zimmerman provided of the incident. At that time the investigator said that Mr. Zimmerman portrayed himself to be “squeaky clean”. We are aware of the background information regarding both individuals involved in this event. We believe Mr. Martin may have misconstrued this information.

    What about media reenactments of the shooting incident?
    Any media reenactments of the shooting incident are purely speculation. To date the Sanford Police Department has not released any rendition of the events of the evening to anyone other than the Office of the State Attorney. The renditions we have seen are not consistent with the evidence in this case.

    The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident. We have provided the results of our investigation to the Office of the State Attorney for their review and consideration for possible criminal prosecution. Although the Police Department is the target of the troubling questions, let me assure you we too feel the pain of this senseless tragedy that has dramatically affected our community. Therefore, as we move forward and strive to answer the questions that are a point of controversy in the community, we ask for your patience, understanding and assistance in getting the correct information to the community We trust that this information is helpful to you.

    Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr., ICMA-CM
    City Manager
    March 23, 2012
    (more)
  • Ejayt7 Sawdust... 2012/03/27 14:54:28
    Ejayt7
    +1
    Ye and the police department are full crap. Martin looked suspicious in his gated community. A lot of this is fishy. AND so, was the NH watch legally registered is not answered. He was advised not to pursue. Trayvon was walking home minding his business. TRAYVON WAS BREAKING IN A HOUSE USING ARIZONA AND SKITTLES, BOY, HE WAS DANDEROUS AND LOOKED SUSIPICIOUS. WHY did he looked SUSIPICIOUS? WAS IT THE WEARING OF THE HOOD OR TEA AND CANDY! Zimmerman had no business patrolling NH watch when he was a simple coward with a gun. He should have shot his leg. This sounds like coverup to me. A innocent kid is dead because a cowardly adult with a gun shot him. Zimmerman should become a policeman, he like patrolling the neighborhood that much! http://www.tabootshirts.com/w... http://www16.homepage.villano...
  • Sawdust... Ejayt7 2012/03/27 19:37:03
    Sawdust_128
    +3
    And witness say TM was the agressor.
    And Zimmerman was not on NHW patrol at the time.
    And you will have it soound like what you want it to sound like because you are too damn lazy to go read the reports.

    Please stop wating everyone's time with your race-baiting rhetoric.
  • Ejayt7 Sawdust... 2012/03/27 20:20:41
    Ejayt7
    +1
    Ye last line is to ye self, AND so, do ye understand that? AND so, another witness , who is a woman and she has revealed her name, said otherwise, AND so, ye READ THAT! YE READ THE REPORTS YE WANT TO BELIEVE. TWO WITNESSES ARE NOT SAYING THE SAME THING AND THAT IS FISHY, TO SAY THE LEAST!
  • Shantay... Sawdust... 2012/03/28 20:50:20
    Shantay Thompson
    Well,well. All I can say is Great PR on behalf of the "officials" so basically officials are impotant againts an obviously highly desturbed "man"........ahhhhaaahaaaaaha... the higher individuals are admiting in double speak just how IMPOTANT they are!!!!!!! WOW Zimmy-boy's delusions are so real they are controlling the people in power. What a bunch of winps!!!!!!!
  • Sawdust... Shantay... 2012/03/29 05:21:48
    Sawdust_128
    +1
    Who carees what you did or didn't say. No one can understand your gibberish. How long have you been in the U.S.A.? Are you enjoying your visit? When do you return to whatever third world country from which you snuck in this country?
  • Shantay... Ejayt7 2012/03/28 00:14:01
    Shantay Thompson
    +1
    He had no authority to even touch the kid...if one remembers correctly Zimmy boy as instructed to STOP FOLLOWING THE SCARED KID, for God's sake....
  • S and S Ejayt7 2012/03/28 02:05:07
  • Ejayt7 S and S 2012/03/28 02:59:31
    Ejayt7
    +1
    I beg the differ, ye said 17, not 8TEEN. By the LAW MR. or MISSY. The 7TEEN years old had a right to go home in his GATE COMMUNITY and BE LEFT THE HAIL ALONE. HIS HEIGHT AND WEIGHT ARE IRREVLANT IN THE MATTER.


    Zimmerman is not the scrawny that HE COULD WORK A 17 years old 6' 3'' MIDSECTION. IT IS CLEARLY EVIDENT THAT HE HAD NO BUSINESS UPSETTING THE 7TEEN OLD MINOR.


    THE GUN GAVE the 5' 2" SCRAWNY WEAKLING CONFIDENCE.

    THE GUN MADE HIM FEEL BRAWNY!


    Oh, how I love the English language, it rhymes by ACCIDENT!!!!!!!!!!


    Zimmerman wasNOT PHYICALLY READY for the CHALANGE that he may inCOUNTER.Zimmerman could HAVE shot the young MAN's, not legally an adult BY LAW, in the Knee, not HIS CHEST. HE started the WHOLE THING BY PURSUING MARTIN advised NOT TO DO SO. MARTIN WAS IN WALKING DISTANCE FROM HOME SWEET HOME in HIS GATE COMMUNITY.


    WHERE HE CHECK OUT TO GO TO THE STORE TO BUY TEA n' CANDY; meanwhile, MARTIN CHECKED BACK IN TO GO HOME, BUT WAS KILLED BY A FOOLISH STUPID ADULT WITH A 9mm gun. That how FREE MEN DO! TO WIPE IT OR NOT TO WIPE IS ME BUSINESS. I AM STILL WAITING ON HOW TRAYVON LOOKED SUSIPICIOUS MIND HIS BUSINESS GO HOME TYPICAL TEENAGER STREET DRUGS ARIZONA TEA and SKITTLE!
  • S and S Ejayt7 2012/03/28 03:43:44
  • Shantay... S and S 2012/03/28 20:58:07
    Shantay Thompson
    Oh,and when you were 17 you wern't akid,I suppose. You had no parents who set rules and guidelines for you? You didn't live at home,had your own place, a car, a job, could vote, and go to adult jail if arrested for a minor/major infraction. I'm sure you weren't even in school anymore......no, you are sooooo correct!!!!!! Based on the law and being 17.......Treyvon was an adult......
  • S and S Shantay... 2012/03/28 21:13:44
  • Shantay... S and S 2012/03/28 21:27:43
  • S and S Shantay... 2012/03/29 02:37:43
  • Shantay... Sawdust... 2012/03/28 00:12:26
  • Sawdust... Shantay... 2012/03/28 01:22:56
    Sawdust_128
    +2
    Why don't you go read the police reports for that neighborhood. A rash of B&E's almost exclusively the perps were young black males. That's not profiling, that's the facts.
  • Shantay... Sawdust... 2012/03/28 21:29:37
    Shantay Thompson
    WTF.......now you are just contradicting yourself.......give it up!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!
  • Shantay... S and S 2012/03/28 00:07:36
    Shantay Thompson
    +1
    Because Zimmerman was probably ALSO wearing a hoodie...also, he has a police record. arrested once for assault on a police officer, and another time for domestic violence......check the facts, you'll get the answers.
  • S and S Shantay... 2012/03/28 00:46:35 (edited)
  • Shantay... S and S 2012/03/28 22:48:50
    Shantay Thompson
    +1
    I HAVE been robbed at knifepoint and raped at gunpoint......yet I have resolved all this in my mind. You, on the other hand are choosing to remain a victim........your choise. AND the attackers were not black!!!!!!! Forgivness is for the forgiver's welbeing. Try it, you might surprise yourself!!!!!!
  • S and S Shantay... 2012/03/29 02:38:27
  • gvc Shantay... 2012/03/28 02:40:26
    gvc
    +1
    And your point is what? He had been arrested in the past? Big deal!

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