Task force evaluating 'Stand Your Ground' law - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Task force evaluating 'Stand Your Ground' law

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A Florida task force is evaluating the validity of the controversial law that allows George Zimmerman to remain free. (Source: CNN) A Florida task force is evaluating the validity of the controversial law that allows George Zimmerman to remain free. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) – A Florida lawmaker has launched a task force aimed at re-evaluating the "Stand Your Ground" law at the center of the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Led by Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, a handful of lawmakers, prosecutors and law enforcement officials make up the investigative task force aimed at changing the law.   

Smith was an opponent of the 2005 legislation that allows a person to use forceful self-defense without first attempting to retreat if he or she feels their safety is threatened.

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain of his Sanford, FL, community, shot and killed the unarmed Martin on Feb. 26. Zimmermann told police Martin attacked him, pounding his head onto the concrete, and that he shot him in self-defense.

Police did not arrest Zimmerman the night of the shooting, citing the Stand Your Ground law.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey is expected to announce whether Zimmerman will be charged with a crime.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has pledged to convene a task force to look at the law once Corey has wrapped up her investigation. However, Smith says that's not fast enough.

"When does the aggressor become the victim?" Smith asked. "It's just too hard to determine. So, that person, especially, needs to be in front of a grand jury or need to have our peers look at that case."

Public outrage over the case spread across the country and eventually across the globe because Zimmerman is not behind bars.

A Florida Grand Jury will convene April 10 to weigh the evidence.

At least 20 other states have similar laws.

The formation of the task force shows that citizens are not the only people who question the validity of the law.

"The police and the prosecutors unanimously are opposed to ‘Stand Your Ground' the way it's written," said Florida State Attorney Michael Satz, who serves the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County.

This is not the first action taken by high-ranking authorities in relation to the case.

Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee Jr. announced his temporary resignation more than a month after the incident.

Scott also chose Corey as lead prosecution in the case after the original prosecutor stepped down.

The shooting has elicited responses from a wide range of celebrities and lawmakers, even drawing public comments from President Barack Obama.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Trayvon Martin (SIDEBAR)


SLIDESHOW: Outrage over Trayvon Martin case Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot and killed last month by George Zimmerman, self-appointed captain of an unofficial neighborhood watch, while walking to his father's.

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