Florida Tweaks Stand Your Ground Law

(Cross posted from Blackbutterfly7.wordpress.com)

On October 8, 2013, by a 7-2 vote, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed changes to Florida’s stand your ground law.  It has two more committee stops before it can be considered by the full Senate.

We Can Dream 2Republican Senator David Simmons’ and Democratic Senator Chris Smith’s bills were combined, although the two still have differences over how much protection to provide for people who use deadly force.   They said those differences would be worked out later.  Senator

Smith voted against the 2005 bill that created the law, and said that he still believes people should be required to retreat first, if possible, before using force against an attacker.  Senator Smith stated that he worked with Simmons on areas where they can agree. Both senators attended hearings around the state to discuss the law. Senator Smith wants a broader definition of “aggressors” and for the state to track the use of the law statewide to get better data than the anecdotal cases collected so far.

Florida House Rep. Alan Williams, (D-Tallahassee) has filed a bill to repeal stand your ground entirely.We can Dream

The bill prohibits people who are the “aggressors” in confrontations from claiming stand your ground immunity.  The changes also specify that law enforcement must still conduct a full investigation in shootings where the law is being claimed as a defense.  It adds language that clarifies that anyone who uses force against an attacker can still be responsible if they injure or kill an uninvolved bystander.

The current bill also requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to develop training guidelines for neighborhood watch groups that, among other things, addresses unlawful use of force and conduct that could create or escalate a confrontation.

These are small changes that the Judiciary Committee believes that House Republicans will successfully pass into law.

Trayvon Martin’s death has spurred many positive things for the "Justice For Trayvon" Rallies Held Across The Countrybenefit of others.  Along with changes to Florida’s stand your ground law, many young Blacks have received scholarships.  Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon and heard George Zimmerman ask him what he was doing around there, and a bump to Trayvon’s headset, received a full scholarship through Tom Joyner.

Sources:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/08/3677466/senators-approve-tweaks-to-stand.html

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/blogs/political-pulse/os-lawmakers-take-up-stand-your-ground-fixes-20131008,0,2201064.post

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7 Responses to Florida Tweaks Stand Your Ground Law

  1. Xena says:

    Hello everyone and sorry I’m late replying. SG2, that video tribute to Trayvon is remarkable. I’m thinking about sending in photos — have several at age 17 but nothing recent.

    Yahtc, I agree. The Castle Doctrine makes sense, and I wish that SYG would be repealed. SYG is not self-defense. Rather, it’s a law that allows the taking of human life first, and claiming self-defense later. I remember a potential juror during voir dire saying along the lines that it’s murder whenever the other person is dead and can’t testify what happened.

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  2. Gina Loring sings a lament for Trayvon Martin and the man he could have become

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  3. Ametia says:

    Thanks Xena. Progress, though slow, is PROGRESS.

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  4. Liza says:

    It is always important to emphasize that Zimmerman’s version of the so called “confrontation” is a fictitious narrative that is contradicted by evidence. Zimmerman claimed to have “stood his ground” but the attack was fictitious. Zimmerman attacked Trayvon Martin, a person who was walking to the home where he was visiting, by confronting him verbally and physically (shoving, pushing, and/or hitting Trayvon’s cellphone to knock it away.) A fair trial and an objective jury would have established beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman murdered a human being for whatever reason that had absolutely nothing to do with self-defense.

    Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is an abomination and if Zimmerman’s murderous act has led to it’s reform, then that is well and good I suppose. But SYG never applied to Zimmerman to begin with. He is a murderer, a man who went out into the night and killed a child for the kind of reasons that are supposed to lead to life without parole in a prison cell.

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    • Ametia says:

      Co-sign! Zimmie’s lawyers didn’t go for SYG, because they knew DAMNED well, he murdered Trayvon in cold blood, but they went for self defense to gain noteriety and $$ from the gun lobbyist.

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  5. Yahtc says:

    Thanks for this update, Xena.

    I pray that this SYG new bill will be passed (and ultimately that people will realize that the old “Castle” approach is all that is necessary.

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