Why isn’t George Zimmerman in Jail?
That’s the question outraged Trayvon Martin supporters are asking. Trayvon Martin, who was walking in a gated community unarmed, was killed by George Zimmerman. After an investigation by the Sanford Police, George Zimmerman was released and cleared of wrong doing.
So was George Zimmerman acting within Florida law? According to CBS law expert Jack Ford, he was. It’s called the “stand your ground” law. Jack explained the law on CBS’s “This Morning”
A quick primer on the law of self-defense: We’ve always said if you’re inside your own home, the theory your home is your castle, you can use force, even deadly force, to defend yourself, as long as you reasonably believe that your life is in jeopardy in some fashion. Most of the time, it was different out on the street. Out on the street before you can use deadly force, most jurisdictions require that you first try to retreat. See if you can get away safely before you take out the gun and blow somebody away. But Florida’s law is different. Florida has a law, along with 17 states, that says you can stand your ground. Which means you don’t have that obligation to try to run first. So, in Florida, as long as you have a reasonable belief that your life and safety is in danger, you can use force to defend yourself, even deadly force. And now that’s the situation they’re suggesting.
What needs to be figured out now, added Ford, is who was the aggressor in the scuffle that ultimately ensued between 28-year-old Zimmerman and 17-year-old Martin. And Zimmerman had yet to be arrested, he continued, because there were only two people involved — one of whom is dead, and the other who claims to have been acting in self-defense.
Host Gayle King brought up an interesting wrinkle in the story. While it has been widely speculated that Martin’s death was racially-motivated on some level, King noted that Zimmerman’s family have shared that he is himself a Spanish-speaking minority with black family members of his own.
To hear more about the “stand your ground” law, go to mediaite.com