Fla. Democratic Chairman Smith Was Key Behind 'Stand Your Ground'

Saturday, 24 Mar 2012 08:16 PM

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Florida Democratic Chairman Rod Smith. Smith, a former prosecutor, was the legislator behind the "Stand Your Ground" law, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Smith co-sponsored the bill as a state senator; it was passed in 2005.

He tells the Times that he can't see how it could be used in defense of the Sanford shooter, volunteer neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, who allegedly killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

"I've tried and defended Stand Your Ground cases, and I've prosecuted murder cases," Smith said. "This individual [Zimmerman], as I understand the facts, moved the ground toward the confrontation. That's not a stand your ground defense. Unless there are facts that I'm not aware of, I think you'll see an arrest made...It's hard to believe that someone was not arrested that night."

Smith told the Times he still supports the law: "I did not believe then, and I still have a real concern why we should put a duty to retreat on a victim. If you were genuinely defending yourself, why did you have to retreat when you were not the perpetrator?"

Still, he said he'd support revamping the law if it's found to help people get away with crimes, but that decision should wait until the Trayvon case is is concluded.

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