Civil rights activists and others are demanding answers after an unarmed 17-year-old boy was shot last month by a neighborhood watch captain inside a gated Sanford community. Details are continuing to emerge in the death of Trayvon Martin, a Miami boy visiting family in Central Florida when he was killed. Many are calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the block captain, who was initially called a “suspect” by police, who later softened the wording, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. Zimmerman, 28, told police he shot Martin in self-defense, but did not begin a confrontation with Marti. Recording from a 911 call released last week detail some sort of altercation and one person crying for help, but it’s tough to tell who it is on the tape, the newspaper reported.
Police finished an investigation last week and sent it to the State Attorney’s Office for review. The shooting, and the pending decision, are another example of the grey areas in the “stand your ground” law passed by the Florida legislature in 2005. The law expanded to allow people to use deadly force if a person “reasonably believes” he or she is threatened by imminent death or great bodily harm, or could reasonably believe a forcible felony was going to take place if deadly force was not used. One major key is it expanded that the right outside of one’s home, where .people always had the right to defend themselves using deadly force. There’s plenty of confusion about the law among the general public about exactly when force can be used. Critics have called the law a “license to commit murder,” according to the newspaper report. But since Florida passed its law, more than a dozen other states have followed suit. Legally, you have the right to defend yourself, to “stand your ground” when you are threatened. But even when the law is on your side, having a Florida criminal defense attorney in your corner is essential – especially because you could be looking at charges as serious as manslaughter, even murder.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County violent crimes lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.