Special note: I was notified yesterday that Info Ink has gotten its 1000th like….I feel special now…..
We are ALL aware of the situation in Florida….the Zimmerman/Martin affair….the so called “stand your ground” law that basically allows a person to kill another person……for whatever reason the care to use as the justification for the killing action…….there is some 20+ states that have passed a version of the “stand your ground” law….but what are the results of the laws?
Even though my reader has already made of their mind…..I would like to ask…..do they know what the Florida “stand your ground” law states? I can help………
In 2005, Florida legislators made it easier to claim self-defense by rewriting the law so that a person “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.” Here’s how it works:
• Anyone who is not engaged in illegal activity and is in a place where he or she has the right to be can claim self-defense in using violence against another. Police cannot arrest someone with a reasonable claim. No arrest does not mean a person will never be charged, but it can affect how thoroughly police investigate.
• In most homicides, prosecutors review case details and decide whether charges should be filed. In self-defense cases, prosecutors will not charge if they feel they cannot refute the person’s assertion of self-defense. Once a charge is filed, the case moves into the court system.
• The law requires a judge to hold a “stand your ground” immunity hearing if the defendant asks for one. At that hearing, prosecutors must convince a judge there is enough evidence to go forward to trial. If they fail, a judge can grant immunity from prosecution. Either side can appeal a judge’s decision.
• If immunity is denied, defendants can seek a plea agreement or take their chances at trial, where they can still argue they had the right to stand their ground. Judges give jurors detailed instructions, saying they cannot convict just because a defendant did not retreat or because he or she killed an unarmed victim.
From a piece written in the Tampa Bay News…..BTW that is Florida in case there was any confusion……
Among the findings:
• Those who invoke “stand your ground” to avoid prosecution have been extremely successful. Nearly 70 percent have gone free.
• Defendants claiming “stand your ground” are more likely to prevail if the victim is black. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty compared to 59 percent of those who killed a white.
• The number of cases is increasing, largely because defense attorneys are using “stand your ground” in ways state legislators never envisioned. The defense has been invoked in dozens of cases with minor or no injuries. It has also been used by a self-described “vampire” in Pinellas County, a Miami man arrested with a single marijuana cigarette, a Fort Myers homeowner who shot a bear and a West Palm Beach jogger who beat a Jack Russell terrier.
• People often go free under “stand your ground” in cases that seem to make a mockery of what lawmakers intended. One man killed two unarmed people and walked out of jail. Another shot a man as he lay on the ground. Others went free after shooting their victims in the back. In nearly a third of the cases the Times analyzed, defendants initiated the fight, shot an unarmed person or pursued their victim — and still went free.
• Similar cases can have opposite outcomes. Depending on who decided their cases, some drug dealers claiming self-defense have gone to prison while others have been set free. The same holds true for killers who left a fight, only to arm themselves and return. Shoot someone from your doorway? Fire on a fleeing burglar? Your case can swing on different interpretations of the law by prosecutors, judge or jury.
• A comprehensive analysis of “stand your ground” decisions is all but impossible. When police and prosecutors decide not to press charges, they don’t always keep records showing how they reached their decisions. And no one keeps track of how many “stand your ground” motions have been filed or their outcomes.
Claiming “stand your ground,” people have used force to meet force outside an ice cream parlor, on a racquetball court and at a school bus stop. Two-thirds of the defendants used guns, though weapons have included an ice pick, shovel and chair leg.
I am sure everyone has an opinion on the Zimmerman/Martin affair…….the problem is that we only get the side that the MSM wants us to have…..but this stand your ground law needs a bit of revision, in my opinion……