One FL Panel Suggests Stand Your Ground Changes, Another One Begins


Two panels in Florida are examining the 2005 Stand Your Ground law, which expanded the “no duty to retreat” doctrine to public areas, says the Christian Science Monitor. One of them, appointed by Gov. Rick Scott and led by Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, met for the first time yesterday. It is not clear if George Zimmerman will claim a Stand Your Ground defense in the Trayvon Martin killing. Some experts say Stand Your Ground laws have dramatically shifted the burden of personal responsibility from the state to citizens. “This is politically very dicey,” says Lance Stell, a philosophy of law professor at Davidson College. “It's inflamed people who are very sensitive that there not be a racial dimension to violence and that it not be seen to authorize people to just shoot each other because of [ ] hatred.”

Another panel, created by a state lawmaker before Scott named his group, made its recommendations Monday. It suggested several changes to the law, including letting grand juries, not prosecutors, decide whether the law should apply, clarifying the language of the law, and proposing a system to track Stand Your Ground defenses. The panel did not suggest repealing the law. Its findings showed that the law may have helped those guilty of crimes escape prosecution. “This [law] is being used in many, many cases,” state Sen. Chris Smith, a Democrat who convened the panel, told the Miami Herald. “This is being used with a prostitute killing her john, this is being used in gang fights, this is being used everywhere.”

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