Florida “stand-your-ground law: Why it may still be a Good Law, but misapplied in the Trayvon Martin shooting case!

Florida’s “stand-your-ground law states that a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. In some cases, a person may use deadly force in public areas without a duty to retreat. Under these legal concepts, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations and the “stand your ground” law would be a defense or immunity to criminal charges and civil suit.  “Stand Your Ground” … laws thus state that a person has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant. Under such laws, there is no duty to retreat from anywhere the defender may legally be. (Florida Statutes Title XLVI Chapter 776) …” [Emphasis added] [Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law]

 

Based on this law, a person is protected when force is used in self-defense as “necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself, or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony…” (Florida Statutes, Section 776.012). If this is the case, then it would be correct to argue that when a person is engaging in a constitutional protected activity – like walking on a public street (Freedom of Movement), and such a person is being followed/chased, a perception of threat to self is reasonable, and thus self-defense may be initiated as may be necessary to present such bodily injury or harm. Therefore, even if the story of Mr. Zimmerman “that Trayvon Martin attacked him” is correct, Trayvon should be entitled to the protection of Florida’s stand-your-ground law, but not Mr. Zimmerman. 

 

Based on what we know so far (from the 911 audio tape), Mr. Zimmerman admitted following (maybe chasing) Trayvon.  Trayvon has a legal righ to stand his ground, as thus protect himself from the actual or perceived threat posed by a stranger (Mr. Zimmerman)’s act of following Trayvon.  Thus, even if the attack is true, Mr. Zimmerman should still not be entitled to the protection of the stand-your-ground law, as Mr. Zimmerman remains the aggressor against whom Trayvon is entitled to protection under the Florida’s stand-your-ground law.  Let us imagine this: supposed it was Trayvon that had the gun, and he shot Mr. Zimmerman while he (a starnger) was chasing him! Would Trayvon have been entitled to a defense under the Florida’s “stand-your-ground law?  My answer to this question is YES!

 

Therefore, I do not believe that it is the law that is necessary bad.  But I do believe that the inversion of justice here, due to the bad application of the law in this case (to protect the aggressor Mr. Zimmerman, rather than the threatened (Trayvon Martin) is what is at issue.  Justice requires that Trayvon Martin, even without a gun, should still be able to protect himself from death or great bodily harm …, albeit through his arms, even if it is true that he attacked Mr. Zimmerman after he had been following/chasing Mr. Trayvon Martin. Mr. Martin should have been able to stand his ground, and should not have been killed for walking (Constitutionally protected Right of Movement – on a street (public place) for that matter), and for exercising his stand-your-ground right under the Florida most-cherished law!

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