When George Zimmerman was acquitted of Florida murder charges after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, this led to public outcry. The Florida Stand Your Ground Law was under public scrutiny. The Tampa Bay Times reported:
“The acquittal of George Zimmerman brought protests and boycotts and sit-ins, but no change. Criticism erupted again last week when a jury couldn’t decide whether Michael Dunn was guilty of murder when he shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis in Jacksonville after a dispute over loud music. A juror who spoke to ABC’s Nightline Tuesday pointed to the self-defense law in jury instructions to explain why two of the 12 jurors refused to convict Dunn.”
George Zimmerman was never convicted. While the jury in Michael Dunn’s case could not decide whether he was guilty or not of first-degree murder, he was found guilty of four other felony charges, including attempted second-degree murder. He will face a new trial on the murder charge. Read After the Michael Dunn Jacksonville Florida Murder Trial on Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers website for more information about the Dunn verdict.
It seems like the majority of stories that I read about Florida’s self defense laws are criticizing the law in our state. The critics believe that our laws are skewed in favor of the defense. People are petitioning the Florida legislature to change Florida’s self defense laws. There is one case in Jacksonville that has the same critics asking for leniency for a defendant that is claiming that she was merely defending herself. Due to the Marissa Alexander case, “Lawmakers are considering a warning shot bill, inspired by Alexander’s case, that would expand the Stand Your Ground law to include people who fire warning shots.” The Duval County State Attorney’s Office “emailed Florida lawmakers Wednesday with an attachment titled ‘The Truth about the Alexander Case.’ In the body of the email, an employee of the state attorney’s office says Corey wanted lawmakers from Northeast Florida to have information on the Marissa Alexander case should they be questioned about it.” I am assuming that the questions that the State Attorney’s Office is referring to are any questions about the proposed warning shot bill. “Corey’s office says in the attachment to lawmakers that Alexander didn’t fire a warning shot, that she was firing at her husband and two step-children. Alexander will be retried on the assault charges this summer.”
Alexander has defended herself by stating: “She fired the warning shot a few days after giving birth. Her estranged husband, Rico Gray, accused her of having an affair and questioned whether the baby was his. She says she locked herself in the bathroom until he broke through the door and shoved her to the floor. She ran into the garage, found a gun in a car and fired a ‘warning shot’ after he said he would kill her.” (CBS News)