Tallahassee Attorney Defends Stand Your Ground Law

By Andy Alcock
July 19, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A local attorney says criticism of Florida and the "stand your ground" law based on the Zimmerman case is unfair.

Tallahassee Attorney Josh Zelman successfully defended a client in a shooting case using the law.

It started with gunfire on Holton Street in 2008.

Two men in a car returned fire with an AK 47 killling a 15 year old.

Both men, including Josh Zelman's client Jeffrey Brown were found not guilty of manslaughter under Florida's stand your ground law.

"Judge Lewis in his order actually commented the way the law is written, they could return fire with anything including a bazooka or a tank and it would be lawful," said Zelman.

However, Zelman says criticism of the law based on the Zimmerman case is unfair in part because his attorneys argued basic self defense.

"I think it's unfair to any law to look at it in a vacuum, you have to look at how it's applied across the board," he said.

Last year, the Tampa Bay Times looked at nearly 200 Florida cases where stand your ground was used.

Their investigation found race neutral results for suspects charged and convicted in the cases.

Black defendants were found not guilty in 66 percent of the cases.

Whites were found not guilty 61 percent of the time.

State Attorney Willie Meggs told us he opposed the law after the Holton Street shooting case.

"The dead person is buried and the survivor of the gunfight is immune from prosecution," said Meggs.

Reporter: "Do you think it's a fair and just law?"

Zelman: "As a defense attorney, as a citizen who has firearms, as someone who believes in the 2nd amendment, I believe it is."

Zelman says stand your ground's intent is for law abiding citizens to be able to protect themselves outside their homes.

But he says in some cases, it hasn't been used as intended.


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