United States Attorney General Eric Holder, today, in a speech at the NAACP annual convention, essentially blamed “Stand Your Ground” laws for the death of Trayvon Martin and essentially suggested that we evaluate and remove those laws from the books.
This comes a day after Holder called the shooting of Martin unnecessary and tragic and vowed to continue to investigate George Zimmerman for civil rights violations.
According to Fox News,
“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Holder said.
But Holder suggested the laws encourage confrontation, saying there “has always been” a legal defense for using deadly force when retreat is not an option.
“But we must examine laws that take this further by eliminating the common sense and age-old requirement that people who feel threatened have a duty to retreat, outside their home, if they can do so safely,” Holder said. “By allowing — and perhaps encouraging — violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety.”
The Department of Justice has gone as far as to setup an email address where members of the general public can email the DoJ tips to help build a civil rights case against Zimmerman.
Stand your ground laws basically say that the victim of a crime has no duty to retreat or seek alternative means of force before resorting to lethal force to defend themselves. Proponents of the law say it insures victims don’t get turned into criminals by over zealous prosecutors while opponents say such laws encourage confrontation.
It should also be noted that George Zimmerman did not use Florida’s Stand Your Ground law as his defense. Zimmerman claimed basic self defense during his murder trial, a defense which the jury obviously agreed with.