George Zimmerman: Jurors Must Do The Right Thing
The right to self defense is a universally recognized concept.
So-called "Stand Your Ground", or "No Duty To Retreat" laws in many U.S. states say an individual "has no duty or other requirement to abandon a place in which" she or he "has a right to be, or to give up ground to an assailant."
Many states have what's known as the "Castle Doctrine" meaning that an individual has "no duty to retreat when their home is attacked" and other states, such as Florida, also remove "the duty to retreat" from other locations.
Even under the most liberal interpretations of such laws, could it ever permit an individual to stalk another person, engage in a confrontation, kill the person being pursued when confronted, and then allow the assailant to claim a "stand your ground" defense?
Especially when the stalker is emboldened knowing she or he is armed?
What would prevent people from finally getting rid of their "enemies" on a regular basis and invoking this law?:
"Your honor, I followed Mr. Jones simply because I wanted to ask him when he would pay me the $5,000 he owed me from five years ago. Instead he turned around and lunged at me with no provocation, pushed me to the ground and started kicking me as my rib wounds show, and I had no choice but to shoot him dead..."
"Your honor, yes I did love Maria, when I followed her into the park I just wanted to tell her that though we've been married 10 years things aren't working out anymore. As soon as she heard my footsteps she turned and charged at me with a stone and started hitting me on the head, as my wounds attest. The confrontation had nothing to do with Sarah..."
What about following a young boy because he is "suspicious" simply because he's Black and you don't know him? How about when the boy, standing his ground, aware that he's being pursued by a possible assailant, aware of the history of the KKK in the South, finally confronts you? Of course he's afraid and he knows you're following him and that's why he phoned his female friend. You insisted on following him even after the police dispatcher had told you not to do so.
Now a confrontation ensues and you kill the boy with a gun shot.
Where is the self defense here for the assailant? Where is the "Castle Doctrine" here -- even if you transport the Castle outside? Where is the "Stand Your Ground"?
Here the law actually would cover only one of the two: the boy who had been pursued, who finally stood his ground to determine the extent of the threat against his life, and who ended up dead.Jurors must do the right thing.