Southern law students talk "Stand Your Ground" law

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 5:38pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — Second-year law student, Avia Gauthier, says there are too many things that aren't right about 17-year-old Trayvon Martin's death.

"Why are things leaked? Why are things so slow? Why did Governor Rick Scott have to put a special prosecution team on the case?" she demands.

Confusion and outrage have grown in the month since Martin was shot dead by neighborhood watch leader, George Zimmerman, in Florida. The teen was allegedly headed to the store to buy candy. However, Zimmerman claims the teenager attacked him and he shot him in the chest in self defense.

That's why dozens of Southern University law students decided to take a look at the law keeping Zimmerman out of jail Thursday.

"It is our duty to question everything," Gauthier says.

"They kept saying 'we want to do something. We want to talk about it.' We wanted to give them the opportunity," says Southern Student Bar Association President Yesha Pittman.

The big question for lots of them...Why hasn't George Zimmerman been arrested?

"Make sure you know your facts because ultimately you don't want this person to run loose if they're a possible perpetrator of a crime," says first-year law student, Chris McNeil.

It's all because of the "Stand Your Ground" law. In Florida, if a person feels threatened they have the right to use deadly force against their attacker in any place where they have the legal right to be. If that's the case, that person is then immune from having to go through an civil or criminal prosecution.

"Justifiable homicides have grown, tripled, since 2005 when the law was passed," says Gauthier.

Students say the law could be flawed. "If you end up shooting and killing someone, then there's only one side to the story," says McNeil.

Now, some are calling for the law to be looked at. "I don't think the law itself should be repealed, but I definitely think it should be reviewed," says Pittman.

Others want it to go away completely. "We really have to make sure that other states don't adopt the "Stand Your Ground" law adn really looking at possibly appealing it if necessary," says Gauthier.

Everyone there says they're just ready for some answers. "A young man is dead and we don't have answers to our questions, criminal procedure was probably not followed, and we don't know why."


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