Zimmerman Trial & the Stand Your Ground Law

George Zimmerman is currently on trial in Seminole County, Florida, in a nationally publicized case for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Mr. Zimmerman was charged on April 11, 2012 with second degree murder. The charges arose from an incident on February 26, 2012 in which Mr. Zimmerman fatally shot Mr. Martin. During interviews with police, Mr. Zimmerman asserted that he shot Mr. Martin in self-defense. Florida's self-defense law, under increased scrutiny with the Zimmerman trial, was substantially altered by statutory amendments that became effective on October 1, 2005, commonly referred to as the Stand Your Ground Law. See ch. 2005-27, §§1, 2, Laws of Fla.

The Stand Your Ground Law eliminated Florida's common law duty to retreat, see State v. Smiley, 927 So. 2d 1000, 1001 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006), which, as recognized by the Florida Supreme Court ,required a person to "retreat to the wall" or to use "every reasonable means within his or her power to avoid the danger." See, e.g., Little v. State, 111 So. 3d 214, 220 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013) (citing Weiand v. State, 732 So. 2d 1044 (Fla. 1999)). In reference to the Zimmerman trial, Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Florida Section 776.013 (3), states: "A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place [i.e., other than a dwelling, residence, or vehicle, which are governed pursuant to Subsections (1), (2), (4), and (5) of Section 776.013] where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." § 776.013 (3), Fla. Stat.

For more information about "the stand your ground law" and whether it applies in your case, contact Calvo & Calvo Attorneys at Law to schedule a free consultation with Fort Myers criminal defense lawyer today.