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Several months after the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, a task force held its first meeting to examine the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law that has been at the center of the uproar surrounding the Florida teen’s death.
Twenty states including Florida, have so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow a person to use deadly force against another if he or she “reasonably believes it is necessary to do so in order to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” The Florida law also grants immunity for those who use deadly force in response to what they believe is a threat to their life.
The task force was created by Gov. Rick Scott to review Florida’s “Justifiable Use of Force” statute, which includes the provision that became infamous after the shooting of unarmed Trayvon Martin. Jennifer Carroll, the state’s first black Lieutenant Governor, is leading the new task force that’s looking into the issues surrounding the case of Trayvon Martin, including the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and possibly “racial profiling”.
On March 22, 2012 Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that Angela Corey, State Attorney, Fourth Judicial Circuit, would be the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, replacing State Attorney Norm Wolfinger.
The task force committee is heavily weighted by supporters of “Stand Your Ground” starting with the Chair, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. She’s a lifelong member of the NRA “National Rifle Association”, which pushed for the law in the Florida Legislature, then helped spread it to another two dozen statehouses. The 19-member task force includes state Rep. Dennis Baxley, the Ocala Republican who sponsored the “Stand Your Ground” law and who has said it doesn’t need to be changed.
State Attorney Angela Corey is in the spotlight as it relates to George Zimmerman and on the other side of the “Stand Your Ground” with Marissa Alexander, a young mother of 3 in Jacksonville, Florida, who fired firing a warning shot upward during an argument with her husband and was subsequently sentenced to 20 years on Friday, May 11, 2012, in accordance with the 10/20/life law. It is the inconsistency in the application of the “Stand Your Ground” law that is most disturbing.