Special session polling for stand your ground

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Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:18 pm | Updated: 10:15 pm, Mon Sep 9, 2013.

Sarasota, FL--- In a rear move the Secretary of State announced it is polling lawmakers on whether they want to hold a special session.

"We just recently got the notice to decide if we want to have a special session or not and send it back,"  said Rep. Greg Steube

The move to poll lawmakers on whether a special session is needed to discuss the controversial 'Stand Your Ground Law' came after The Florida Department of State received petitions letters from 20% of the legislators saying the issue warrants immediate legislative attention.

"If 3/5 of them agree that its something the legislatures need to address then by all means, its obviously something that is important enough to some of the members in the legislatures for us to convene in a special session," added Steube.

But, not everyone agrees.

"I will be voting no, that's my first thought." said Rep. Pilon.  "I don't think a special session is necessary".

Pilon says move is not needed because a hearing on the topic is already in the works.  "Speaker Weatherford has indicated that he wants a public hearing on the issue and we will be holding those with the Fall and then we will be able to hear the issue presented by all parties," added Pilon.

But, for the Dream Defenders, the group who have been waging a sit in at the capital, that isn't enough.  At the center of this controversy is the George Zimmerman case, which many say is the reason why the Stand Your Ground Law needs to be addressed and some legislatures agree.

"I believe as it's currently written the law needs clarification. said Representative Darryl Rouson.  Rouson, says he believes Floridians need to be able to protect their home and person but he says the Stand You Ground Law may have some flaws. "Professional law enforcement, professional lawyers, professional defense attorney's do not understand its full application.  So how can we expect the layman to know when to use it."

Though the Stand Your Ground Law was mentioned during the jury instructions process, it was not part of the Zimmerman defense strategy. Which has many wondering why the two are being connected. 

"It seems as folk have brought up an issue in the Zimmerman trial that wasn't used in the trial," said Steube.

In additional statistical information from the state's court files show since 2005 there were 237 Stand Your Ground cases.  With the majority of successful defense arguments being used more by minorities in black on black crime scenarios. But the a study done by the Urban Institute shows when different races are involved in a Stand Your Ground homicide case there is some bias.  That debate is why many say the issue needs to be revisited. 

"There aught to be some clarification on both sides of the law," added Rouson.

The representatives have seven days to respond to the poll.  Three fifths of the members from both houses have to agree to a special session for it to commence.

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