5 Years After Trayvon Martin's Death, A Miami Judge Rules That 'Stand Your Ground' Law Is Unconstitutional
It's time to get rid of the law once and for all.
Five years after the Trayvon Martin case, a Miami judge has finally ruled that the new "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law is unconstitutional.
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The Miami Herald reports that Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled that lawmakers overstepped their authority in modifying the law this year to force prosecutors to disprove a defendant's self-defense claim at the pre-trial hearing.This ruling is a victory for prosecutors who firmly oppose the law under the belief that it gives defendants a leg up in getting away with murder and other violent crimes.
The Florida "Stand Your Ground Law" has easily been one of the most controversial laws in recent decades. The law, states that:
"a person is justified in the use of deadly force and has no duty to retreat if the person 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"
One of the biggest issues that come into play with the law is the statement of "duty to retreat," which is where standing your ground comes in. In most states, self-defense follows after you have at least made an attempt to "retreat", if you can, and are still being threatened.
Of course, the update in the law, passed in May, was backed by the National Rifle Association.
The controversy surrounding the law in recent years has contributed to its media spotlight due to its involvement in the trials of George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn and Marissa Alexander. The first two are white men who killed black teenage boys, and the later is a black woman who defended herself against an on-record, violent husband. Dunn was convicted on five charges including first-degree murder, in which he fired 10 times at an SUV after an argument with the teens inside about how loud their music was. However, we all watched the 2012 Trayvon Martin trial in which George Zimmerman was acquitted. The same year, Marissa Alexander faced up to 60 years behind bars, of which she only served three, for firing a single shot near her abusive husband, unable to convince a jury she had feared for her life. These verdicts caused people to call foul on the play. The question was then posed does stand your ground only apply to white people?
And while it is reported that Hirsch’s ruling isn’t binding because other trial courts across Florida can follow the law if they choose, it will “get the appeals ball rolling,” and possibly go to the Florida Supreme Court for review.
If this could possibly go to the Florida Supreme Court, now more than ever is the time to reach out to political leaders and let them know what we want. This law has truly been sickening and it's time to abolish it all together. We're thankful for this glimpse of hope in Trump's America, but it's got to go once and for all.