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Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Trayvon’s Murder Triggering Stand-Your-Ground Changes In Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Fort Lauderdale Democrat Sen. Chris Smith unveiled a series of recommendations to lawmakers Monday from a panel he formed following the death of Miami Gardens teen Trayvon Martin.

The 15-member group of lawyers, cops and academics stopped short of calling for a full repeal of the measure, but suggested several tweaks. These are:
* Allowing a defendant to appear before a grand jury to state his case
* Educating the public and law enforcement
* Creating a system to track self-defense claims in Florida
* Adding that a person must be in “imminent” danger to use force
* Changing the title of the law from “Use of Force in Defense of Property” to “Use of Force in Defense of Others.”
* Amending the law so that law enforcement can arrest or detain anyone who is claiming they harmed someone under stand your ground.

“As a group, we decided that a majority felt that repeal was in order,” Smith said. “However, it wasn’t enough of a majority or large enough of a majority to put it as a straight recommendation.”

Smith said the recommendations were unanimous. His report also included several other “consensus recommendations” that were agreed to be 12 or more members, but weren’t unanimous. It also included dissenting opinions.

“I was looking for direction. I did not have a set path, but I wanted to put the best legal minds together to come up with a plan. ”

Smith said he was going to deliver the report to the governor’s task force and members of the Legislature. He said he asked Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll permission to speak at the meeting, but was told that the first meeting was for organizational purposes and would not include public comment.

Read the rest of this story on The Sun Sentinel

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