Fla. judge nixed stand-your-ground before

Sept. 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM
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SANFORD, Fla., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- The Florida judge in the second-degree murder case of George Zimmerman has rejected the one "stand your ground" claim that has come before her, records show.

Circuit Judge Debra Nelson determined the "stand your ground" law wasn't applicable in the matter of a homeless man who killed a friend in an apartment complex in June 2011 over a gun and $20, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.

Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Hispanic-American neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, said he shot and killed unarmed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old black, in self-defense, on Feb. 26, citing Florida's "stand your ground" law. Zimmerman initially escaped charges, but after a national outcry, he was charged with second-degree murder.

In the other trial in Nelson's court, the defendant was found innocent by a Seminole County jury.

Florida's "stand your ground" law, passed by the Legislature in 2005, grants immunity to civilians who use deadly force if they have reasonable fear that death or great bodily harm is imminent if they fail to act. Under the law, judges conduct a hearing and can toss a case before trial if they determine the "stand your ground" law is applicable.

In the Zimmerman case, defense attorney Mark O'Mara has said he expects to seek a "stand your ground" hearing after the first of the year.

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