The shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin has created an outcry over the state’s self-defense statute, commonly known as “Stand Your Ground.” What is being debated is whether the law could be used as a viable defense in Martin’s death.
Gov. Jeb Bush signed Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law after the State Legislature passed it in 2005. The part of the statute that may apply in cases such as Martin’s reads:
“Title XLVI, Chapter 776.012 Use of force in defense of person. – A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
“And 776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm –
(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
It is not entirely clear since details of the shooting death remain sketchy, however, Bush is backing away from the law, saying that it should not be used as a defense in Martin’s shooting death and calling the shooting a “tragedy.”