Zimmerman Trial: Self-Defense & Stand Your Ground Law
GAINESVILLE - George Zimmerman's lead attorney, Mark O'Mara will be walking a fine line as he tries to convince jurors that his client murdered Trayvon Martin in self-defense. A 3rd year law school student at the University of Florida, Caroline Zapiec says Zimmerman's self-defense plea doesn't count when you put yourself in that situation.
"I see the story as being simple. You had a guard that was in a car that was told by authorities not to leave his car, he wasn't a police officer... It kind of seemed like he would really love to be one but he's not. So he kind of acted on his own desires and wanting to play a super hero and he got into trouble," Zapiec said.
However, here in Florida the law says zimmerman could shoot martin in self-defense if it was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm but it's up to his attorneys to prove it.
Kenneth Nunn, a law professor at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law said, "All stand your ground says that if you can legitimately use self defense then you don't have to leave first before you use deadly force, you don't have to avoid conflict before you use deadly force... If you have a right to be in an area then you have the right to use deadly force."
Earlier O'Mara decided not to invoke a Stand Your Ground hearing. Stand your ground is an immunity statute, that could have dismissed the case without a trial. Bob Dekle with UF's Levin College of Law said, stand your ground is not a defense. "It may very well play out that stand your ground has very little to do with the case. You know the law of self defense as it existed, prior to the stand your ground amendment may very well cover the situation without reference to the issue of the duty to retreat," Dekle said.
To obtain a second-degree murder conviction, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that while the shooting wasn't premeditated. Jury selection begins Monday and is expected to last about six weeks. It will be up to them to decide Zimmerman's future.
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