CJC Task Force releases final report on Stand Your Ground law
In previous issues of FlaLaw, we highlighted faculty who were go-to sources for the media in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. George Zimmerman, a Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged in the fatal shooting of the unarmed black teen. Over the summer, the college of law’s Criminal Justice Center evaluated how Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has been applied in past cases, and whether there is a correlation between the homicide rate in Florida and the implementation of the controversial law.
In September, the task force appointed by Gov. Rick Scott convened to hear the CJC’s findings. Acting Criminal Justice Center Director Monique Haughton-Worrell reported that the CJC research was inconclusive about whether there is a definite relationship between the homicide rate in Florida and 2005’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
“The data that we collected in response to the task force is insufficient to provide a conclusion on this issue. It’s a complex issue, requiring complex analysis,” Worrell said at the September meeting, according to the Tampa Bay Times. A more in-depth study would be necessary to make a correlation between Stand Your Ground and increasing crime rates, she said.
The task force released its final report in November, backing the framework of the law, while suggesting more specific guidelines about the roles of neighborhood watch volunteers and removing automatic immunity from criminal prosecution for those who claim Stand Your Ground as a defense.