Florida's Stand Your Ground Law: What Does It Mean?

05/03/12 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday) | Listen to this entire show:

Good morning, welcome to radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. First up today we are going to talk about the “stand your ground law”. The law passed by the state legislature in 2005 allows people to use deadly force if they feel threatened by another. It was used by George Zimmerman who told Sanford police that he felt threatened by Trayvon Martin—when Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in March.

This week a task force on Florida’s self-defense laws formed by the Governor held its first meeting. There has been criticism that the task force is biased in favor of the stand your ground law. But the head of the task force—Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll says the body is not biased.

Meantime a south Florida Democratic state senator- Chris Smith formed his own panel, held hearings and last week issued several recommendations including- saying the law should be changed so that Police would have the right to arrest people who claim to have killed someone in self-defense.

Smith’s task force also says that people who use deadly force must be in imminent danger to use Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law to justify a killing.

We’re joined now by Stetson University Law School Professor Susan Rozelle. She is a criminal law professor who has spoken about Stand Your Ground most recently in the Trayvon Martin case. She participated in a program last Friday entitled “Standing Our Ground Against Racism” at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg.

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