Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Les Miller regrets 'stand your ground' vote

Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller was one of 14 Senate Democrats who unanimously approved the "stand your ground" law in 2005, but he says it's the one vote he most regrets in his 14-year career as a legislator.

"People are dying because of the 'stand your ground' law," Miller said. "It was a bad bill. Out of all the votes I had, that's the one I wish I could do over again."

Miller and others sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott on Monday asking him to call a special session to focus on the law. Until Sunday's Times/Herald story about the lawmakers who approved it eight years ago, Miller hadn't had to publicly explain his vote. It passed the Senate 39-0 and the House 94-20.

He told the Buzz he voted for SB 436 after Senate Democrats discussed it. At the time, there were six lawyers in the caucus and they assessed the bill to be legitimate.

"I'm not at an attorney," Miller said. "So we relied on the advice of our staff and the lawyers in the caucus."

Miller, who was the Senate Democratic leader at the time, said the caucus concluded that the bill added a "stand your ground" defense for those in their homes or on their properties. At the time, Miller said, he had heard stories about people who defended themselves against people breaking into their homes, only to face prosecution later.

Why didn't Miller and other Senate Democrats echo the concerns raised by House Democrats like Arthenia Joyner, Dan Gelber and Jack Seiler that the "stand your ground" law was dangerous and would lead to greater violence and more confusion with prosecutors?

Miller said he doesn't know why, and chalked it up to the confusion of session, when it's difficult for the leaders of the two chambers to meet.

"Because of the session, because of the timing, we're meeting at different times," Miller said. "If we would have been able to sit down at the table and bring the House amendments over, it would have been a different vote. I wish we would have had different information. I wish I could do it again."

Gov. Grandfather

Gov. Rick Scott is a grandfather for the second time, his office announced Monday.

But don't necessarily ask the governor to rattle off the newborn's name.

Scott posted the news on Twitter Monday evening, saying that he and his wife, Ann Scott, welcome "our new grandson, Quinton Pierre Georges Guimard, born today at 5:57pm, weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz."

On Tuesday morning, Scott and his wife returned to Twitter to say that the newborn is named Quinton Pierre Phillipe.

By the end of the day, the Scotts were back to Georges.

The child is the second son of Scott's oldest daughter, Allison Guimard.

Times staff writer Aaron Sharockman contributed to this week's Buzz.

Les Miller regrets 'stand your ground' vote

07/30/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Some teachers allege 'hostile and racially charged' workplace at Pinellas Park Middle

    K12

    PINELLAS PARK — Two black teachers at Pinellas Park Middle have requested transfers out of the school, alleging the work environment there has become "hostile and racially charged."

    Pinellas Park Middle School at 6940 70th Ave N, where some black teachers have alleged they were treated with hostility by colleagues after starting a tutoring program for black students. Just 22 percent of black students were proficient in English language arts in last spring's state tests. Two black teachers have asked to be transfered, according to a letter from two local chapters of the NAACP. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  2. Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race

    Editorials

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been busy promoting all sorts initiatives in the months leading up to the Nov. 7 election, doubling down on his progressive agenda without spending much money or generating much controversy. But make no mistake, the cost will come due after the election. Without a change in …

    The mayor is determined to get artist Janet Echelman to create a sculpture for the new Pier. But the cost would be much higher than what is allocated. Above is Echelman’s As If It Were Already Here in Boston.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  5. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum

    K12

    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled "Choices in Education."

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]