Zimmerman trial to test 'stand your ground' law

Published On: Jun 10 2013 05:59:59 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 10 2013 06:00:17 PM EDT
Justice for Trayvon Martin sign

CNN

However, Martin's family members say Zimmerman tracked down and sought out Martin, ignoring a 911 dispatcher's directive to stay in his SUV, then shot dead the unarmed teen. Tests made public in May 2012 show Martin never handled the gun he was shot with, and DNA tests didn't show Zimmerman's DNA under Martin's fingernails, which would have suggested a prolonged struggle.

SANFORD, Fla. -

The trial of a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford will test the states of the "stand your ground" law.

The law allows people in fear of their lives to use deadly force. Despite efforts to repeal the controversial law, state lawmakers said no.

George Zimmerman, a 29-year-old neighborhood watch volunteer, is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin the night of Feb. 26, 2012, as Martin was walking home from a convenience store in Sanford.

Following the death of Martin, Gov. Rick Scott's appointed task force held seven hearings across the state to listen to citizens on stand your ground, the law which was invoked by Zimmerman.

The Black Caucus, which wanted the law repealed, called the effort worthless.

"I want to emphasize the word task, as if they had a job to do. And they failed their job," said state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami.

Legislation to repeal stand your ground was filed in January. Sabrina Fulton, Martin's mother, pleaded for the law to be repealed as well. She is seeking justice for the death of her son.

"I wouldn't want you to stand in my shoes," Fulton said.

More than 11,000 people wrote, called or emailed the governor. By more than a 2-1 margin, they wanted changes in stand your ground.

Despite the legislative session held to discuss the potential change in the law, the repeal never got a hearing. The National Rifle Association said the lack of action to address the situation speaks for itself.

"And the conclusion was there is nothing wrong with the legislation," said Marion Hammer, of Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

The NAACP, which says it supports the Second Amendment, believes Martin was not a sympathetic enough victim to energize legislative action.

"There has to be someone of prominence that has to die," NAACP's Daryl Landry said. "And once they do then you get an uproar."

Neither the lawmakers nor the Zimmerman jury may have the final word on stand your ground.

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