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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Chris Smith's task force releases Stand Your Ground recommendations



 Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, has released a list of recommendations for amending Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, after a task force he convened debated the language of the law earlier this month.

Among the unanimous recommendations:

- 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
- Add language requiring an “imminent” danger provision throughout the statute
- Change the “Defense of Others” wording in the law’s title to “Defense of Property”
- Allow law enforcement to detain someone who uses the Stand Your Ground defense while they investigate.

For more details, visit for the full report.

Smith said he would give his recommendations to Gov. Rick Scott and his public safety task force, which will have its first meeting Tuesday.

Smith said Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who chairs the public safety task force, rejected his request to speak at the inaugural meeting and present the recommendations.

“I guess I’ll attend and maybe put it on their windshield wipers in their cars campaign style afterwards,” he said.

Smith, one of only 20 lawmakers who voted against the law in 2005, said his task force agreed unanimously on several ways to clarify the law to make it more effective.

The 18-member group of “legal minds” also had several consensus recommendations, in which at least 12 members agreed on an issue, but there were dissenting opinions.

“Stand your ground has been used way before Trayvon Martin, and it will be used way after Trayvon Martin,” Smith said. “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.”

Smith is pushing for a special session for the Legislature to address the law.

“It’s a public safety issue,” he said.


[Last modified: Monday, April 30, 2012 2:12pm]


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