90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, March 23, 2012

Sharp Rise In Self-Defense Claims With ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law In Florida

As prosecutors weigh whether to arrest and charge George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who claims he killed unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin last month in self-defense, Zimmerman is invoking Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, passed in 2005.

The Tampa Bay Times has dug through the available records and found that since the law was passed, there has been a threefold increase in the number of cases invoking self-defense.

Most involve fatalities where there are a few witnesses and few of the people using the deadly force have been tried in court or spent time in prison.

The law has been invoked by a late-night jogger claiming self-defense when he shot and killed a teenager he thought was robbing him and by a man who went and got a gun to shoot a man he had argued with at a street fair.

The Tampa Bay Tribune reports that:

In the majority of the cases, the person who plunged the knife or swung the bat or pulled the trigger did not face a trial.

In 50 of the cases, the person who used force was never charged with a crime. Another nine defendants were granted immunity by a judge, and nine cases were dismissed.

In 10 cases, the defendant pleaded guilty to lesser crimes.

Of the 28 cases that made it to trial, 19 people were found guilty of a crime.

Twenty-two cases are still pending. (The outcomes of two could not be learned by press time.)

Guest:

  • Ben Montgomery, reporter for the Tampa Bay Times

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 23 Comment

New Documentary Profiles Human Rights Watch Team

An elite group known as the E-Team travels across the globe documenting human rights violations and war crimes.

October 23 Comment

Bottom Of The Sea Is ‘A World Of Surprises’

The world's oceans cover nearly two-thirds of the Earth's surface, yet little is understood about the ocean floor.

October 22 13 Comments

Colorado Backs Away From Pot Edibles Ban

Critics say a ban would violate the state's voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana, which took effect in January.

October 22 4 Comments

Modest Raise For Social Security Recipients

Economist Diane Swonk says the 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase falls short of the inflation older Americans actually see.