July 2013 (To print, click the print icon on your browser
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Zimmerman Trial Spurs ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground

The National Task Force on Stand Your Ground was formed to examine the effectiveness of the stand-your-ground doctrine. The 2005 law states that an individual who is faced with a confrontation has an obligation to retreat to safety if he or she can do so safely. The second component, which is the novel innovation, is an immunity from criminal prosecution and subsequent civil proceedings relating to the use of force.

The task force was formed late last year after the Zimmerman trial garnered national attention. The main question posed by the task force is: whether or not these laws actually make communities safer?

One of the preliminary findings is by John Roman of the Urban Institute, who is a member of the ABA task force, found a marked increase in justifiable homicides in stand-your-ground jurisdictions. He found that in incident where there’s a white on black shooting, homicides were ruled justified in 35.9 percent of incidents. When there was a black on white incident or shooting, the homicide was ruled justified in only 3.4 percent of the cases.

The ABA has not finalized its analysis but when they do recommendations in 2014, the recommendations will be supported by substantial empirical data and study.

To read or listen to the full NPR interview, please click here.


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