Are “Stand Your Ground” Laws Warped to Favor White People?
Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which became a national issue last year following the shooting of Trayvon Martin, is being applied in a biased and inconsistent way, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Defendants who used “stand your ground” as a defense were more than likely to get off if the victim was black, the newspaper found, following a review of criminal cases involving the notorious statue.
In fact, 73% of those who killed a black person faced no penalty at all, while 59% of those who killed a white person got off.
The law “has allowed drug dealers to avoid murder charges and gang members to walk free,” Kris Hundley, Susan Taylor Martin and Connie Humburg wrote for the Tampa Bay Times. “It has stymied prosecutors and confused judges.”
In addition to Florida, nearly two dozen states have adopted “stand your ground laws,” thanks in part to lobbying by the National Rifle Association and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
Injustices under the law have occurred outside of Florida.
The Urban Institute concluded that 34% of “stand your ground” homicides were deemed justifiable when white shooters killed black victims. But when black shooters killed white victims only 3% of the deaths were ruled justifiable.
To Learn More:
“Stand Your Ground” Law Helps White Defendants a lot more than Black Ones (by Katie Halper, Salon)
Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Law Yields some Shocking Outcomes Depending on How Law is Applied (by Kris Hundley, Susan Taylor Martin and Connie Humburg, Tampa Bay Times)
Recent “Stand Your Ground” Laws Extend Justifiable Home Protection Violence into the Streets (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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