Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Florida Stand Your Ground Law Under Attack Due To Unarmed Teenage Shooting

Our Fort Lauderdale wrongful death attorneys wish to express our sincere condolences to the family of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by a neighborhood volunteer watchman last month. It is devastating to lose a child, and even more disturbing when there is uncertainty surrounding your child’s death. Although George Zimmerman has admitted to shooting the teen on February 27, 2012, he claims that his actions were based on self-defense. So far, the events which happened on that night are unclear, news sources are reporting that evidence from recorded police calls between Zimmerman and police indicate that the volunteer watchman had telephoned law enforcement to advise them that he was following Martin whom he described as looking “suspicious”, but the dispatcher informed him not to pursue the youngster. Nevertheless, Zimmerman failed to obey those orders and claims that teenager attacked him and as a result he shot Martin in self-defense.

However, the Martin family, several private citizens and civic leaders from around the country feel quite different since the minor did not possess any weapons at the time of the incident and believe that Zimmerman should face criminal charges, including murder. But, Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged with any crime and the national outcry over this tragedy has prompted federal officials to further investigate the circumstances surrounding the teen’s death and has sparked a dispute about whether or not the watchman should be allowed to escape criminal or civil liability because of the Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

This law, which is an essence, a self-defense argument, became effective in October 2005. Basically the law says that regardless of where a person may be and if that person faces an attack in which he or she reasonably believes that the attacker imposes an imminent danger to the person of suffering from seriously bodily injury or death, and then the person does not have a duty to retreat before applying deadly force. Prior to the enactment of this law, Floridians had the duty to retreat or to use any reasonable means necessary when outside of their home before using deadly force against their attacker.  Also, State Attorney Norm Wilfinger announced on Tuesday that this case will go before a Seminole County grand jury.

There is no doubt that this Florida personal injury case  is complicated and presents some challenging legal issues for the Martin family and those who face similar situations. In these types of cases it is important to seek the advice from an attorney who practices law in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death immediately so that a comprehensive investigation can be conducted. Further, whether or not Zimmerman could be held civilly liable will depend upon a number of factors, including whether or not if he was the original aggressor who caused the confrontation and thus relinquished his legal privilege to the self-defense argument under the Florida Stand Your Ground law which is now at the center of an unarmed teen shooting.

If you or a family member is facing a similar situation, you should consult with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney immediately to discuss your case and what legal remedies that may be available for you in order to sue the person responsible for causing the death of your loved one.   
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