George Zimmerman’s lawyers say they will seek a hearing to formally invoke Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, which could lead to the dismissal of charges in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The law, which became widely known nationally after the death of Trayvon, allows people to use deadly force under circumstances where they feel their lives are in danger. Under the "Stand Your Ground" regulation, a hearing can take place for a judge to determine whether the evidence meets the criteria to invoke the law.
It is the latest in a series of legal wrangling in the aftermath of the shooting of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed Black teenager was killed in February by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, in a gated community in a suburb of Orlando. Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder, contends that he acted in self-defense.
Trayvon's parents and their lawyer have contended that the teenager was racially profiled. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Peruvian.
Last month, Zimmerman’s lawyers asked the state’s attorney’s office to select a new judge in the murder trial, accusing the current one of being biased against their client. The state attorney’s office quickly objected to the motion.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester revoked Zimmerman’s initial $150,000 bail in June after the defendant and his wife Shellie were accused of lying about funds they had raised through a website and set a higher bail at $1 million. Zimmerman posted bail and is now living in a safe house in Florida.
The killing of Trayvon focused a great deal of national attention on not just the shooting but also on the "Stand Your Ground" law, which has been soundly denounced by civil rights groups and elected officials. They have charged that the law amounts to little more than a license for people to practice vigilante justice.
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(Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images)