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October 8, 2013. Miami Herald

” The stand your ground law was criticized after Zimmerman fatally shot 17-year-old Martin in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman, who claimed he was defending himself, was acquitted of second-degree murder in July. Days later protesters demanding changes to the stand your ground law began a 31-day sit-in at the Capitol.

Smith voted against the 2005 bill that created the law, and said that he still believes people should be required to retreat first, if possible, before using force against an attacker. But he said he worked with Simmons on areas where they can agree. Both senators attended hearings around the state to discuss the law.

“As we discussed stand your ground, we found that we have a lot of common ground,” Smith said. “We found that we agreed way more than we disagreed.”

Simmons said he wanted the bill to also clarify a provision of that law that states it doesn’t apply in cases where illegal activity is occurring. Simmons says that the language is intended to keep drug dealers or others committing crimes from using the defense, but some people are interpreting it too broadly.

That includes the argument that parking violations are illegal, or that immigrants that entered the country illegally should not be able to use the stand your ground defense, Simmons said, adding that immigration status shouldn’t be a factor in self-defense cases.”

• This article is from the Miami Herald dated October 8, 2013. For purpose of education and information only.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/08/3677466/senators-approve-tweaks-to-stand.html#emlnl=Afternoon_Update_Newsletter#storylink=cpy

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