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View Diary: 5 Myths about Stand Your Ground Debunked (79 comments)

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  •  Was Trayvon Martin legally justified? (0+ / 0-)

    It's my simple question on the whole "stand your ground" controversy.  
    Was Trayvon Martin legally justified in using force against George Zimmerman at the start?  
    From what I know, GZ was following TM in a vehicle.  GM stopped and got out.  
    TM had sent a text and/or made a phone call that he was being followed, and was afraid.    

    So, did TM have legal justification to attack GZ?  

    If so, then SYG laws have justified two people with legal justification to kill each other.  

    That, alone, is reason for me to question SYG.  

    •  No........Or Rather..... (0+ / 0-)

      It depends on what the circumstances were, which we don't know. In order to use force, you have to reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent IMMINENT violence to yourself. Meaning that if Trayvon doubled back and attacked GZ, as the defense asserted, then he had no legal right to do so. The jury had to credit that scenario, by law, if it was at all a reasonable possibility. If, on the other hand, there was evidence that GZ approached Trayvon at close range without doing anything to indicate that he wasn't going to harm him, then Trayvon could attack and it was reasonable for him to believe that GZ's use of force was imminent, then he could legally use whatever force was reasonably necessary to prevent GZ's attack.

      With or without SYG, one can easily imagine scenarios where both parties are legally entitled to use force. For instance, if GZ really didn't intend any harm and was only trying to talk, it wouldn't matter at all what his intent was, it would only matter what his actions reasonably conveyed to TM. So, TM could legally use force if he reasonably misinterpreted GZ's intent and then GZ could also legally use force. This is true in all 50 states and all countries in the world (See Myth #1). However, if deadly force were to be used, then each would have the duty to retreat if possible, if there was no Stand Your Ground protection. This means that without SYG, TM would had been convicted if the prosecution could prove that TM had an opportunity to safely retreat.

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