FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Legal experts met in Fort Lauderdale Thursday and examined Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin killing.
It was an alternative task force set up by State Senator Chris Smith who believed Florida had to take immediate action.
The public was allowed to speak at Senator Smith’s task force meeting.
The panel included South Florida prosecutors, public defenders and legal scholars, who considered whether the law should be changed or repealed.
Smith said the group intended to recommend changes or possible repeal of the 2005 law to state lawmakers.
Smith said that a change to the “Stand Your Ground” law is simple.
“You shouldn’t be able to chase someone and then say, ‘I was standing my ground and that’s the problem’,” Smith said. “That’s why we have legal scholars talking about this tonight.”
Florida Senatorial Candidate Mike Lameyer, however, said that the law does not need to change.
“And it is clear,” said Lameyer. “The law is clear, and a lot of time and energy went into that law so that it wouldn’t be a hap hazard law.”
The “Stand Your Ground” law is under nationwide scrutiny following the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford of the 17-year-old Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Martin’s family and supporters want Zimmerman arrested, but the “Stand Your Ground” law has prevented that so far.
The “Stand Your Ground’ law allows the use of deadly force “to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm” and “to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.” It eliminated the duty to retreat before using such force as required in a previous self-defense law.
Smith says they’re taking suggestions from the public on a new web site called FloridaStandYourGround.Org.
The Miami-Dade County Commission also passed a resolution Tuesday that asked the Florida Legislature to repeal the “Stand Your Ground” law currently on the books.