Stand Your Ground

Rafael Olmeda/AP

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law has once again taken center stage in a high-profile shooting.


Jermaine McBean was shot to death in Oakland Park by Deputy Sheriff Peter Peraza of Broward County in July 2013 because McBean was allegedly pointing what turned out to be an unloaded air rifle at police. A grand jury initially indicted Peraza for manslaughter, but Wednesday Broward Circuit Judge Michael Usan dismissed that charge.

In a case that started with a tourist brandishing a gun during a traffic dispute, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday said people who use the state's controversial "stand your ground" legal defense have the burden of proving they should be shielded from prosecution.

The 5-2 ruling dealt with a key part of the way the state has carried out the "stand your ground" law, which in part provides immunity to people who use justifiable force in self-defense.

Today on WLRN-Miami Herald News, you heard:

The activist group Dream Defenders was founded in Florida two and a half years ago after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford.

Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Gov. Rick Scott and Charlie Crist disagree on a controversial self-defense law that allows Floridians to kill if they feel their lives are threatened.

When asked if justice was done in the 2012 shooting death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin, Crist, a Democrat, referred to his days as a prosecutor.

"I understand that judging from afar is not a very good idea," Crist said. "What I do know though, is this Stand Your Ground law needs to be fixed.”

Crist said the law allows someone to instigate a confrontation, then kill the other person and be exonerated.

Stand Your Ground Law Under Fire, But Likely To Remain

Mar 11, 2014
Tom Urban / News Service of Florida

Civil-rights leader Al Sharpton led a crowd of about 1,000 people to the Florida Capitol on Monday, demanding that Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature fix or repeal the "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Sharpton marched alongside the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two teens the marchers said were wrongly killed under Florida's first-in-the-nation law, which allows people to use deadly force when they feel their lives are in danger and provides immunity from prosecution. 

"The Daily Show" on Comedy Central takes note of the irony of the Michael Dunn verdict occurring during Black History Month.

courtesy of the Ryce family / Miami Herald

Nineteen years after the crime, Jimmy Ryce’s killer has been put to death. Juan Carlos Chavez is the second death row inmate to be executed in Florida this year, as state legislators look to strengthen sexual predator laws, enacted after Ryce’s killing.

This week on the Florida Roundup, host Tom Hudson will discuss the Ryce case with Fernando Vila of Fusion, Tia Mitchell of the Tampa Bay Times, Amy Driscoll and Juan Vasquez of the Miami Herald and Rhema Thompson of WJCT Public Radio in Jacksonville. 

Florida House Dems Back Senate Tweaks of Stand Your Ground

Nov 6, 2013

Florida House Democrats met with reporters Wednesday to say they don't want to turn Thursday’s Stand Your Ground hearing into a publicity stunt.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will take up a bill by Democratic state Representative Alan Williams. The measure would repeal the 2005 Florida law that says people don't have to retreat in a situation where they fear for their lives.

The police chief in Sanford, Fla., where neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012, will unveil rules next week that stress "volunteers are not to carry guns and not to follow suspects," our colleagues at Orlando's WMFE report.

Why Changing Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Remains Elusive

Oct 9, 2013

Prompted by a national outcry over George Zimmerman's acquittal this summer in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida Senate committee gave approval Tuesday to minor changes in the state's "stand your ground" law.

But whether a Legislature dominated by gun-loving lawmakers will ultimately sign off on a bipartisan compromise remains a long shot, despite a seemingly indifferent National Rifle Association, which helped write Florida's first-in-the-nation law.

The law's 2005 sponsor, Sen. David Simmons, defended the current law while conceding it could be better.

The Stand Your Ground law will get hearings when the Florida Legislature convenes for regular business next month.

But no significant changes in the law are expected.

Lawmakers voted against holding a special session on Stand Your Ground after protesters staged a month-long sit-in at the Capitol.

Democrats Trigger Lawmaker Poll On Stand Your Ground Special Session

Aug 13, 2013
Bar Jack / Flickr

The Florida Secretary of State's office will begin polling members of the Legislature to find out if there is enough support to hold a special session to decide the fate of the state's controversial "stand your ground" law.

Florida Sheriffs: Keep 'Stand Your Ground' As Written

Aug 9, 2013
Gerardo Mora

The Florida Sheriffs Association is no longer neutral on the state's controversial "stand your ground" law.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, the new president of the association, announced Friday that members agreed earlier this week without opposition to support the law "as currently written."

"Our current judicial system is comprised of multiple checks and balances to ensure fair and equitable application of all laws, including 'stand your ground,' " Judd said in a prepared statement.