Trayvon Martin’s alleged attacker not covered under law I wrote


(Rep. Dennis Baxley)   The tragic story of Trayvon Martin’s death in Sanford, Florida has ignited a great deal of passion and concern regarding the circumstances of his death and the defense applied by the attacker, George Zimmerman. The fact that Trayvon Martin unnecessarily lost his life is troubling and an investigation into the surrounding circumstances is certainly warranted.
First of all I’d like to extend my condolences to the Martin family.
I have been in the funeral services profession for over 40 years; I’ve walked with families through many tragic circumstances and I know how difficult it is.

I would like to emphasize that the approach that is currently developing in this situation, to convene a grand jury, is the proper one in which to discern the facts of this case. I certainly agree with everyone that justice must be served.
During the debate concerning this incident, some have brought into question the “Stand Your Ground” law, more commonly referred to as the “castle doctrine,” which has been used by the attacker to pardon his actions.
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I’d like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.
When the “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine” legislation passed in 2005, the catalytic event that brought the issue to the attention of the Florida Legislature was the looting of property in the aftermath of hurricanes.
Specifically, there was a situation in the panhandle of Florida where a citizen moved an RV onto his property, to protect the remains of his home from being looted. One evening, a perpetrator broke into the RV and attacked the property owner. The property owner, acting in self-defense in his home, shot and killed the perpetrator.
It was months before the property owner knew if he would be charged with a crime because of the lack of concrete definition in the statutes regarding self-defense and a perceived duty to retreat by the potential victim.
Until 2005, the castle doctrine had never been canonized into Florida law, but had been used with differing definition and application to the concept of self-defense. The focus of the law was to provide clear definition to acts of self-defense.
The facets of the castle doctrine deal with using force to meet force as an act of self-defense when in your home, in your car, on your property, or anywhere you are legally able to be. The law also protects property owners and their homeowner’s insurance from being wrongfully sued by perpetrators who claim to be harmed while committing a crime.
The castle doctrine as passed, clarified that individuals are lawfully able to defend themselves when attacked and there is no duty to retreat when an individual is attacked on their property. Since the passage of this law in Florida, 26 other states have implemented similar statues.
Additionally, the American Legislative Exchange Council used the Florida version of the castle doctrine as model legislation for other states.
Quite simply the castle doctrine is a good law which now protects individuals in a majority of states. However, the castle doctrine does not provide protection to individuals who seek to pursue and confront others, as is allegedly the case in the Trayvon Martin tragedy in Sanford.
The information that has been publicly reported concerning Trayvon Martin’s death indicates that the castle doctrine may not be applicable to justify the actions of the attacker, Mr. Zimmerman.
Media stories sharing the transcripts of the 911 tapes from the evening of the incident clearly show that Mr. Zimmerman was instructed by authorities to remain in his vehicle and to cease pursuit of Mr. Martin. George Zimmerman seems to have ignored the direction of the authorities and continued his pursuit of Mr. Martin.
Mr. Zimmerman’s unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the “Stand Your Ground” law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.
I have great sympathy for the family of Trayvon Martin and am grateful that things are finally moving in the right direction to further explore what actually happened on that night in Sanford, Florida. Awaiting the convening of the grand jury, I trust that justice will be served and healing will begin for all of those affected.
Republican Dennis Baxley represents the 24th district in Florida’s House of Representatives. He was the prime sponsor of the “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005. He is the principal owner and vice president of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services.

4 Responses to Trayvon Martin’s alleged attacker not covered under law I wrote

  • Didn’t Sol Wachtler say that a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if that is what you [as a prosecutor] wanted? If so, is that really justice? Grand juries are infamous for their maleable compliance and willingness to indict at the drop of a hat.

    It is amazing that Florida citizens were so extremely constrained in their ability to defend themselves before the stand your ground law that one’s freedom and innocence were in question when defending oneself from a looter invading a motorhome after a disaster and when the defender or victim was in it!

    It is amazing how far the legal system went in tying citizens hands with regard to self-defense in Florida and the United States. Let us not forget that the words "legal" and "law" are derived from the root that means to tie, as in a "ligature." That in itself is a good argument in favor of a government that ties or constrains the activities of citizens as little as possible as one cannot be healthy, happy, and productive, let alone free, or even survive if one is tightly bound with ligatures.

    Apparently, the law-makers in this country usually have the extreme collectivist attitude that virtually all action taken to remedy any problem must only be taken by agents of the government rather than their b bosses and employers, the citizens!

    One would think that in the United States of America, one has the right to move about freely on public property (perhaps in a gated community only if one belongs there, assuming that the roads are private property, in which case it is unclear to me whether Tryavon belonged there or was trespassing but apparently Zimmerman belonged there).

    I have some questions regarding the implications of this article:

    Is one entitled to walk where one pleases in a public space in Florida or in The United States of America?

    If the roads in the gated community were private property did Tryavon and Zimmerman both have the right to be there.

    Did Florida revoke the 1st Amendment rights of her citizens?

    Do citizens have the right to ask questions of another citizen only if officials give them permission?

    Do the answers to the above questions have a bearing on the right to defend oneself even if asking questions?

    If one is carrying a firearm legally and one is being beaten senseless, what are the possible outcomes?

    Could the assailant take the gun and shoot the defender?

    Could the assailant take the gun and shoot the defender and other people, possibly the defender’s family (the defender could have ID in his wallet that would indicate a place of residence and even have pictures of relatives).

    What bearing does the rash of home invasions have on this case?

    Was Zimmerman required to go home based on his conversation with a police DISPATCHER?

    Is the dispatcher a police officer with full authority of that position?

    If so, did Zimmerman forfeit the right to defend himself by not going home and by asking questions?

    Is one an outlaw who can be attacked at will by other citizens in that situation?

    What are the rates of black on white violent crimes in Florida and the United States of America?

    What are the rates of white on black violent crimes in Florida and the U.S.A.?

    Are blacks more valuable than whites?

    If the answer to the above question is no, then where is the uproar about the immense numbers of Polar Bear Hunting, Knockout King, and Wilding attacks, and other black racist violent attacks on whites, including maimings, torture, rape, and murder that have been perpetrated against whites in the last few years?

    Is biased reaction in favor of blacks in such cases not anti-white racism?

    If the answer to the above question is no, then why is the favoritism justified, why is there tolerance for violent racist attacks by blacks against whites on the part of media and government? How can that be justified?

  • P.S. My understanding is that Trayvon was not the little boy shown in pictures in the corporate media, pictures from when he WAS a little boy. My understanding is that he was 6 feet 2 inches tall or taller, that he had been suspended for behavior problems, and that he had been caught with burglary equipment. Is that true?

    Furthermore, my understanding is that when Zimmerman shot him, he was on top of Zimmerman pummeling him with blows to the head. Is that true or not? How can he be called a "victim" in that case? Are you always a victim if you are black? Is that it? That IS racism. All indications, from media and liberal behavior on this issue, are that blacks have the highest status and value in this country and are always victims, even when they are beating in someone’s head they are victims! Again, that is racism! Anti-white racism!

  • Do state legislators supervise the implementation of their laws in individual cases?

    Should the law have been written to allow one to defend oneself against 6 foot 2 inch aggressors pummeling you only when they are white or are not black?

    If there was a hate crime here, who was violating who’s rights?

    Is Zimmerman white? Jewish? Hispanic? Were his rights violated by being pummeled? Was it base on his race? Maybe Zimmerman is Jewish and Peruvian Indian. Was he beaten because of HIS race?

    Should we have special arbiters of laws when a minority person is involved?

    Should we have special laws for minorities? Maybe Sharia law for Muslims? Brehon laws for Irish-Americans? Which races get special preference and in what order are they protected? Are blacks to be the most protected? Should blacks have special consideration that nobody else has?

    Perhaps we should have a law based on skin tone? If you are really black, maybe from Southern Sudan and you are in a fight with a lighter skinned American black, then you are the one who is wronged. Then South Asians, then Hispanics, and so on. That way the darker you are, the more innocent you are. Sounds like a good plan, right? That way we can make up for past injusitices. But wait! Jews aren’t very dark but they have not gotten a very high rank in this scheme!

    Well, we’ll just have to work out the kinks in this system, for the sake of justice.

  • I guess Baxley won’t defend his outrageous assertions.

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