The Trayvon Martin shooting has put a spotlight on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, a statute that may provide George Zimmerman with a defense for his second-degree murder trial.
Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self-defense. Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law allows the use of deadly force as long as you:
- Are not engaged in an unlawful activity.
- Are being attacked in a place you have a right to be.
- Reasonably believe that your life and safety is in danger as a result of an overt act or perceived threat committed by someone else toward you.
READ MORE: What is Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' law?
Zimmerman's defense attorney will have a chance to argue his client should be granted immunity under "Stand Your Ground" law at a pre-trial hearing. If he wins, Zimmerman would be off the hook for not only criminal liability, but possibly civil as well.
READ MORE: What's next for Zimmerman?
A lot of In Session's social media followers have asked whether other states have similar laws. Here's what we found: several states have their own versions of a "Stand Your Ground" law. And even more states have adopted a variation of the law called the "Castle Doctrine."
"Castle Doctrine" laws provide that deadly force is justifiable in someone's home when the homeowner is in reasonable fear of injury or death. Some states have expanded the scope of this law to include vehicles and places of work.
States with "Stand Your Ground" laws:
Texas: Click the enrolled bill
Washington: There's no specific statute, but the Supreme Court of Washington has upheld there is no duty to retreat when a person is assaulted in a place where they are lawfully allowed to be: State v. Studd, 137 Wn.2d 533, and in State v. Redmond, 150 Wn.2d 489.
States with "Castle Doctrine" laws:
New Jersey: To see the law search for New Jersey Statutes 2C:3-4
States that can require you to retreat when threatened in some situations:
New Mexico: Despite having a law on the books allowing justifiable homicide in the defense of property New Mexico courts have ruled one cannot kill for a mere a trespass. State v. McCracken, 22 N.M. 588, State v. Martinez, 34 N.M. 112, State v. Couch, 52 N.M. 127