Opinion

To ensure justice, law needs change

Many states have their own interpretations of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. These laws are in place essentially to allow people to defend themselves when endangered by means that would otherwise be deemed illegal.

In addition to allowing people to use force to defend themselves, “Stand Your Ground” can be used as immunity from civil or criminal law suits.

While people should be able to defend themselves from attack without fear of punishment, this law can make administering justice very difficult. In the statute it says that a person may use force if they reasonably believe it’s needed. When people are overcome with strong emotions, the decisions they make may seem reasonable or rational in the moment. In actuality, many people choose the wrong course of action. People can wrongfully invoke self defense.

The Trayvon Martin case is a perfect example of when the “Stand Your Ground” law was wrongfully used. George Zimmerman shot and killed Martin but claimed that it was in self defense.

There are three sides to every story: side A, side B, and the truth. It is harder to discern the truth if side B is dead, as in this particular case. Zimmerman called the police and was instructed not to take any action. Knowing this fact, when does “Stand Your Ground” turn from self defense to vigilante “justice”?

In one news report, a police officer said that many investigators have a hard time understanding the law. The police are in charge of understanding and enforcing the laws set up by local, state and national government. If the police can’t even interpret this one, how can the average citizen correctly interpret the law? Laws need to be straightforward with no gray areas. In some cases self defense is necessary, but the law needs to be modified to ensure that justice is being served.

 

Taylor Duckett is a freshman majoring in political science. 

April 5, 2012

Reporters

Taylor Duckett


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Eleven football seasons ago, after the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers met at the Orange Bowl for ...

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

Get Out The Vote, a nonpartisan initiative headed by the Division of Student Affairs and the Butler ...

University of Miami Libraries commemorates Banned Books Week with a special event and display. ...

A year after UPup’s founding father met his match, the service club is realizing its goal of becomin ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball program won its third straight match in 3-0 fashion on Friday night ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team registered two straight-set wins Friday ...

It's been over a decade since they last met, but Miami and FIU are set to renew their crosstown ...

The University of Miami cross country team gears up to compete in its third meet of the season this ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a five-year contract extensio ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.