Division in the Stand Your Ground Law Forum in Fort Lauderdale
Senator Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale,invited members of the public to an open forum Wednesday to discuss their opinions and issues over the Stand Your Ground Law. The Stand Your Ground Law justifies a person in using deadly force when there is a reasonable belief of imminent threat. It is the main point of defense for shooter Zimmerman in the case of Trayvon Martin’s death on Feb. 23 – a case rivaling the media attention of Casey Anthony. The forum was a direct response to Gov. Rick Scott’s hesitance to form the task force he promised after the shooting.
Division in the Crowd
Over 100 members of the general public attended the forum in Fort Lauderdale highlighting a clear division in the public opinion over the law and whether it should be repealed or whether it should stand. The Palm Beach Post reported that there is even division within law enforcement over the law.
The Palm Beach Post reported a statement by Arthur Jacobs, general counsel for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association (an organization that represents all 20 state attorneys in Florida). The Post said that the organization recently voted unanimously that the law should be repealed. The argument is that because self-defense was already a right before the Stand Your Ground Law was passed in 2005, there really is no need for the law. He also claimed that the law is consistently being invoked as criminal defense in inappropriate circumstances, such as gang members shooting rivals and using the law as a scapegoat.
According to the article, Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout, a member of the legal panel, stated that she believed the law should not be repealed, but that it may not apply to the shooting of Trayvon Martin. She said:
“If Mr Zimmerman was the aggressor, I hope he can be and will be prosecuted.”
Stand Your Ground Defense
It is important to note that even though many members of the public and law enforcement believe it is possibly an inappropriate defense strategy in the Zimmerman-Martin Case, the law still stands and is being used as a viable defense in many cases. If you have been accused of aggravated assault, but you believed you were in immediate danger of being killed or severely harmed, there is room for using the Stand Your Ground defense. Because this is becoming a controversial issue due to the media attention in the Martin Case, you are going to need a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer to present this particular defense strategy. Contact a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer immediately after your arrest.