Florida / Trayvon Martin: Has “The Sunshine State” Become “The Gunshine State”?

Posted on March 25, 2012 by

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Trayvon Martin (l), gone but never forgotten!
George Zimmerman (r), wanna-be-policeman, triggerman.

911 calls: Hear George Zimmerman and others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8rws30uASw

Sanford Florida Police Chief Bill Lee said in a statement that the police dispatcher’s “suggestion” to Zimmerman that he did not need to follow Martin “is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmermann would be required to follow.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/22/stand-your-ground-law-at-center-unarmed-florida-teen-shooting/#ixzz1q8on8a5d

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. . . Arthur Hayhoe, director of the Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who monitors “stand your ground” cases, said the “stupid law” rather than racism is the problem because it opens the door for anyone to claim self-defense.

“It has nothing to do with self-defense. It’s just expanding the use of self-defense to justify shooting Uncle Joe in the backyard because you don’t like his barbecue,” Hayhoe said. He sees police and prosecutors as among the unintended victims of the law because it hinders their ability to bring charges and opens them up to allegations of racism and incompetence.

“These are the people who have to administer this stupid law,” said Hayhoe, who said the law has accomplished what the National Rifle Assn. wanted — protecting gun-owners’ rights — but with unintended consequences underscored by Martin’s death. (The NRA did not return calls seeking comment.)

The Sanford case is one of at least 18 that Hayhoe has documented in Florida in which there were no eyewitnesses and the killers went free based on “stand your ground.”

Excerpted from article by Tina Susman and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times — March 25, 2012 

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The Tampa Bay Times found 130 cases in Florida in which Stand Your Ground was invoked. In more than 70 percent of the cases, someone was killed. But only 28 of the cases went to trial, and only 19 resulted in a guilty verdict.

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The law, approved under former Governor Jeb Bush after a big push by pro-gun advocates led by the National Rifle Association, was passed over numerous objections from the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and state law enforcement officials.

Republican State Representative Dennis Baxley, one of the authors of the Stand Your Ground law, said it did not protect people who pursued and confronted their victims, as occurred in Sanford, according to lawyers for the parents of the dead teenager.

“That’s where he (Zimmerman) stepped out on thin ice away from protection of this statute,” he said.

Defending Stand Your Ground, Baxley said that while errors may occur, such as the death of Martin, it was important that the law err on the side of those who fear they are facing “a perceived” threat.

“That’s good public policy. I think we have a good statute and I would hate to lose anything in it that protects people from harm. It saves lives,” Baxley added.

Excerpted from an article by Tom Brown | Reuters – Fri, Mar 23, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/florida-man-lives-tell-shoot-first-horror-051159162.html

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“We have solved a problem with the Stand Your Ground Law that didn’t exist,” says Florida State Attorney William Meggs. “The people who are using this law are not law abiding citizens. The people who are using this law are thugs and gangs and drug dealers.”

At least one Florida legislator has called for a reexamination of Stand Your Ground. But the law’s author, State Rep. Dennis Baxley, says the problem is not with the law, but with how it’s being applied.

Baxley says George Zimmerman “is on very thin ice” using Stand Your Ground as a defense in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. “There was nothing in this statute ever intended to protect somebody who was pursuing or confronting other people.”

Excerpted from a report by NILS KONGSHAUG  — ABC news — March 25, 2012

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 NPR Report on Stand Your Ground Law

http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=149204405&m=149204382

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Read the latest here:

Trayvon Martin: Gov. Rick Scott promises thorough investigation

Orlando Sentinel

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