Is Stand Your Ground law a license to kill? Black legislators who voted in 2005 re-think their position

caines | 3/29/2012, 5:41 a.m.

Should the law be repealed?

Siplin says he stands behind his vote but believes that prosecutors need to correctly enforce the law. I dont see how anyone can believe that cases like Zimmermans can invoke the Castle Doctrine, he said. The law does not apply to the actions he took that led to Trayvon Martins death. Former State Senator Tony Hill, 54, now the federal policy director for the City of Jacksonville, says that Martin was the one standing his ground not Zimmerman. Unfortunately, we live in a country where people cant always go where they want or dress as they please without being harassed or in this case murdered, he said. We still need more information to get to the bottom of what really happened but I would not repeal the law. I think we need to focus on section three of the law and be more clear about the places that one can legally take steps to defend themselves in their homes and in their cars. Zimmerman wasnt in either place.

Not everyone supported the bill

Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, 69, then a member of the State House, says she opposed the law because the legislations definition of what is a reasonable threat was too subjective. I foresaw that something like this would give the accused too much leverage in a situation like Trayvon Martins. We knew we were engaged in a battle when the bill came to the House floor. We knew that this law would promote an atmosphere of living in the wild, wild west or a shoot out at the OK Corral. I proposed legislation two years later [2007] to narrow the definition of reasonable threat and to limit the immunity it offered but it never made it to the floor. Should the law be repealed? Yes, immediately! Wilson says if she had it to do over again, she would vote against the bill. I would put the fear for my own safety aside for fear that this law would unjustly allow someone to use it as an excuse to take the life of an innocent child, she said. Bullard believes the Martin case has awakened the state of Florida and the nation. There are still some serious problems in this state and in this country when it comes to racism, she said. Racism is still very much alive. This law has been misinterpreted and used in ways in which it was never intended. Zimmerman pursued Trayvon Martin and should be arrested and tried in a court of law. Wilbert Holloway and Rod Smith were unavailable for comment. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com