Task force recommends changes for "Stand Your Ground" law

7:34 PM, Apr 30, 2012   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - People wanting justice for Trayvon Martin have rallied across the country. Along with the circumstances of that February shooting, Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law has also been under the microscope. That's why, earlier this month, Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, formed a 14-member task force.

At the time, Smith said he wanted some quick action because the state's reputation and its tourist industry were in jeopardy. "The Florida brand is bad right now," Smith said at a news conference announcing the task force.

Smith's committee includes representatives from law enforcement, prosecutors, and private defense attorneys. On Monday in Tallahassee, the group released its recommendations. They include:

-- Cases should be presented to a Grand Jury to allow for a cross section of society to determine what a reasonable person would do in that case.

-- Educate the public and law enforcement.

-- Create a system to track self-defense claims in Florida.

-- Allow law enforcement to detain people using the defense while they investigate.

To read the group's entire report, click here.

The group stopped short of recommending a total repeal of the law, but Smith is still pushing for a special session.

"Stand Your Ground has been used way before Trayvon Martin and will be used way after Trayvon Martin," Smith said. "But in order to make sure that we have a just, legal, and safe society, I still believe that the legislature should act soon and make sure we clarify how we should live in a civilized society in Florida."

Governor Rick Scott also formed a task force to study the law. That group's first meeting is Tuesday. Smith says he asked to present his findings to the governor's group, but was rebuffed.  Some have criticized Scott for including too many original supporters of the law on his task force.

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