No Overhaul of Stand Your Ground Task Force Expected on Eve of First Meeting

By: Jim Turner | Posted: April 28, 2012 3:55 AM
Stand Your Ground
Don’t expect an overhaul of the task force looking at state self-defense laws. Anti-gun proponents are not going to replace those already named to the diverse panel on the eve of the group’s first meeting.

Gov. Rick Scott said the selection of people to the statewide group was a no-win situation, as he anticipated that no matter who was appointed to the 19-member Citizens Safety and Protection Task Force, there surely would be a backlash.

“If those who are pro (Second Amendment rights) said, ‘Oh gosh, I picked the wrong people because this is all set up to get rid of Stand Your Ground,' then the people on the other side said, 'No, this is all pro (gun),' I don't know what I could have done," Scott said Thursday, during an appearance on WOFL FOX 35 in Orlando.

The task force was announced as 19 members, with two additional members -- recommendations from Attorney General Pam Bondi -- named April 23.

On Wednesday, state Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, wrote Scott to suggest that fewer gun rights advocates be included on the panel.

“Prior to convening this committee, you stated publicly that the group would not go in with any preconceived notions, but instead would take the task of reviewing not only Stand Your Ground but issues of public safety in general,” Bullard wrote.
“In the last week, with the establishment of this task force, you have sent a very inconsistent message to Floridians. Though on face you have selected a mixed group, in reality the lawmakers chosen for this task force all represent a singular viewpoint, having all voted and/or co-sponsored the bill that would become the Stand Your Ground statute (excluding Rep. (Jason) Brodeur (R-Sanford), who is a proven pro-gun advocate).”

In 2011, Brodeur sponsored legislation that made it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they had guns in their homes.

Bullard also suggested replacing Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who sponsored the Stand Your Ground bill in 2005 and Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, who co-sponsored the bill. And to replace them with Rep. Barbara Watson, D-Miami Gardens, and/or Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, and include a gun victims’ rights representative or a conflict resolution specialist.

The task force will conduct its first meeting May 1.

The meeting at the Department of Transportation headquarters in Tallahassee is expected to be a mostly organizational affair, with members setting up plans to hold public meetings across the state throughout the summer and fall, along with taking suggestions on expert presenters to be brought before the panel.

The task force was pieced together in response to calls for a review of the Stand Your Ground law following the Feb. 27 shooting in Sanford of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old from Miami, by George Zimmerman, 28.

Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman, has claimed he acted in self-defense under the Stand Your Ground law.

The University of Florida's Levin College of Law will assist the task force, compiling statistics on how the Stand Your Ground law has been used.

If any changes are suggested to Stand Your Ground (Florida Statute Chapter 776) or other rules involving public safety, nothing can be done until legislators begin to schedule conferences at the end of the year, in advance of the 2013 regular session.

The task force members are as follows:

  • Sheriff Larry Ashley of Shalimar Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
  • State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, District 24.
  • Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell.
  • State Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, District 33.
  • Derek E. Bruce of Orlando, attorney with Edge Public Affairs.
  • Joeph A. Caimano Jr. of Tampa, criminal defense attorney with Caimano Law Group.
  • Edna Canino of Miami, president of the Florida Embassy of League of United Latin American Citizens, Council 7220.
  • Getchen Lorenzo of Fort Myers, neighborhood watch coordinator for the Fort Myers Police Department.
  • Judge Krista Marx of West Palm Beach, 15th Judicial Circuit.
  • Katherine Fernandez Rundle of Miami, state attorney for the 11th Judicial Circuit.
  • Stacy A. Scott of Gainesville, assistant public defender with the 8th Judicial Circuit.
  • Mark Seiden of Miami, self-employed attorney.
  • State Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, Florida Senate, District 22.
  • State Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, Florida Senate, District 19.
  • Sheriff Jerry Demings, of Orange County.
  • Chief David L. Perry, the chief of Florida State University Police Department.

Floridians can follow the task force meetings through a website, www.FLGov.com/citizensafety, or follow the task force on Twitter @FLCitizenSafety

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

Comments (11)

Henry Baker
4:08PM APR 30TH 2012
For gutless governors and other politicians, these "task forces" offer the same shield from making what could be a politically toxic decision as grand juries do for prosecutors: they shift any potential blame from themselves to a group of politically unconnected people.

This particular task force is even sillier and more unnecessary than most, and there is one and only one single driving force behind it: blatant pandering to race-baiters Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the black thugs who follow them, all of whom should be in jail right now charged with inciting to riot.

The governor's proper action in response to this Trayvon Martin nonsense would have been to do absolutely nothing. Florida has a judicial system and that's where -- and only where -- this case belongs. It does NOT belong in some kind of phony, emotional public referendum. Allowing Sharpton and his thugs to drive it there is tantamount to condoning mob rule.

We're a nation of legislated laws and these emotional sideshows do nothing but attempt to pervert that.

Even if Zimmerman did kill Martin out of sheer racism, and even if the shooting were a total abuse of the Stand Your Ground law, neither situation would have anything to do with the value and correctness of the law. Thousands of laws get abused every day and I don't see any great do-gooder clamor over that.

This entire task force is nothing but gutless, feel-good nonsense.
6:25PM APR 30TH 2012
Yes, remember the correctness of the law when your twin 12-year old daughters have a fight with your neighbor's 10-year old son and attempt to knock him off him bicycle and take it away.

Your neighbor would seem to be immune under Stand Your Ground when he takes out your daughters to prevent that forcible felony with up to deadly force.

Your daughters will have been in the wrong, and dead for it. Total immunity. This law is a DUMB law; this law is a STUPID law.
7:02PM APR 30TH 2012
That would not fall under stand your ground, That would be murder, No cop would allow that [filtered word], It would never hold under stand your ground.

Martin ambushed zimmerman from behind, Even said he was going to kill him, While zimmerman was walking back to his car, This was a stranger attacking a stanger for no resson, Zimmerman had every right to protect himself.

Gang bangers, Rapist, Murders, want this law gone becouse it hinders there work, Which is killing and raping stealing etc. They can't work if there getting shot at.

2 Kids plays with a bicycle is not a felony...
10:23PM APR 30TH 2012
Really? How about reading the law - CAPITALIZATION MINE:

776.013(3), F.S.: A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, INCLUDING DEADLY FORCE IF he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another OR TO PREVENT the commission of a forcible felony.

776.031, F.S.: Use of force in defense of others.—A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. HOWEVER, the person is JUSTIFIED in the use of DEADLY FORCE only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary TO PREVENT THE IMMINENT COMMISSION OF A FORCIBLE FELONY. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.

776.08, f.s.: Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; ROBBERY; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

When in doubt (or wanting to criticize) read the darn law first - it's already been used to provide immunity to someone who was swung at by a robber (with no damage) in a car radio theft who then ran down the fleeing robber, stabbed him to death and claimed immunity under stand your ground. The judge granted the immunity, as did a Tallahassee judge where two rival gangs were having a shoot-out. This is a DUMB law; this is a STUPID law.
10:32PM APR 30TH 2012
Oh, in order to cut off debate about whether robbery was involved in my scenario, here's the law:

812.13, F.S.: Robbery.—
(1) “Robbery” means the taking of money or OTHER PROPERTY which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently OR TEMPORARILY deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the USE OF FORCE, violence, assault, OR PUTTING IN FEAR.
Robert Lloyd
8:15AM APR 29TH 2012
Interesting slant here where the story talks of whether or not there will be any changes to those arguing for or against our God given rights.

No one should be debating my God given rights. These people are an enemy to all God fearing people. I would think the story is just that... not who else might be put on the panel.
2:02PM APR 29TH 2012
Yes, of course. If it's a "God given right" try carrying your concealed handgun onto an airplane or into the Florida Legislature when it's in session, and see how well your "God given right" protects you from jail time.
9:45AM APR 28TH 2012
To the more learned and wiser than I,..
I am a life long Floridian citizen,
And the Stand your Ground law
has been my study for 7 years,.

Please consider this as you examine it.
SYG needs to add the use of this consideration,

"Hold at gunpoint while awaiting Police arrival clause".

The current wording makes it criminal to "Not" shoot an attacker.
Police have always used the technique of "Holding At Gunpoint" while awaiting backup.

Why force the Homeowner/Defender to shoot to Stop if he has the option to,....

" Draw and Stop instead"
Why is that a crime?
Some criminals would surrender at gun point,... some wont of course,..
But Please decriminalize this option for Legal Defenders.

Self Dense is lawful, so should Holding a Robber/Home Invader at gunpoint for the Police to arrive should also be Lawful.
The outcome would be better in some cases
Think on it,..
God bless America,
7:42AM APR 28TH 2012
The Commie-in-Chief tried to make the Zimmerman Case a "CRISIS" and fortunately the people of Florida know that "Stand Your Ground" saved more "innocent" lives than this crisis case without any due process.

How about giving more ink to the cases of thugs being thwarted in their criminal attempts by armed citizens doing their duty.

The 2nd Amendment research of the founders documents show the right to bear arms must not be infringed because it is the duty of each and every citizen to be able to protect themselves and the citizenry, and mainly to keep the government in check from trampling on our rights.
William in Tampa
9:58AM APR 28TH 2012
I have a Concealed Carry Permit, and ALWAYS have a Gun very quickly available. BUT - I hope NEVER to even have to unholster my weapon. I do NOT want to kill or hurt anyone - but I do not want anyone to threaten me to my loved ones.

STAND YOUR GROUND is a good law - if someone needs to twiddle with "hold until Police arrive", I guess it might be OK - but I worry about those vein held doing something STUPID, and nullifying the philosophy of STAND YOUR GROUND.

This IS Amendment 2. Don't mess with it.
2:11PM APR 30TH 2012
I second that. I, too, never leave home without my piece.

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