Stand Your Ground Law & The Zimmerman Case

Most people are aware of the recent discussion and debate over the Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin case. After many intense courtroom battles and national opinions, a verdict was finally reached. George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering the young teen, Treyvon Martin. Florida's state laws played a huge role in the case, including that fact that they allow for neighborhood patrol to carry a concealed weapon. This is most certainly the source of the case, but the debate is found in the "stand your ground law." Many people called on Florida lawmakers to modify or adjust this law, as Zimmerman was exonerated of these charges under the notion that he acted in self-defense, rather than violence. The law basically states that residents in Florida can defend themselves with reasonable force when threatened in their home, car or any place they have a right to be.

Zimmerman's defense did not actually use the stand your ground law to support the case, but Sanford police couldn't arrest him without clear evidence against a self-defense claim. For this reason, he wasn't arrested until nearly two months after the death of Treyvon Martin. Many people believe that the law is doing a disservice to Florida residents because it is so vague and open to interpretation. Normally, a case like the one that involved George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin would have never made it to court without national attention. Investigation teams soon compiled evidence that could have incriminated Zimmerman with a second-degree murder charge. Even after the charges were dismissed, there is still pressure on the case. Groups are encouraging the Martin family to continue to fight for civil action against Zimmerman.

The stand your ground law was reviewed early last year by the Florida task force. While they made small modifications, there was no major legislative action. Twenty two other states uphold a similar law, and most are trying to protect it now. Though the Treyvon Martin case has brought heavy attention to the negative aspects of the law, many people believe that this law is beneficial. Prior to the stand your ground law, individuals were required to flee if they felt threatened. This meant that they would have to flee their home or property if an attacker intruded. Some states have a stricter version of law, allowing people to only exercise this right in their home or business. Other states, like Florida, allow action to be taken at any place in which they have the "right to be." Unfortunately, in states where this law is in place, there has been an increase in homicides. While the law is beneficial for self-defense, it also creates a blurred line between protection and aggressive response.

Due to the confusing nature of this law and the national attention from the Zimmerman case, many individuals are confused on how to defend themselves. If you have been charged with homicide, a St. Augustine criminal defense attorney from our firm is prepared to help. We offer our clients a strong and aggressive defense, no matter what the circumstances may be.

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