DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you believe that a man or woman’s home is their castle, then perhaps you feel the same way as handgun owner, Mike Schneider. “I feel it’s important to be able to protect my family,” said Schneider.
In Texas, the Castle Doctrine allows residents to protect their property from intruders. “In Texas, if somebody is trying to get into your house or get into your car, you have a right to use deadly force to stop them,” explained CBS 11 legal analyst, Jerry Loftin. “You don’t have to wait until they’re inside the place,” added Loftin.
In Florida, the “Stand Your Ground” law gives residents there a much wider scope outside of the home to use deadly force, rather than retreat.
Florida’s law also allows police on the scene to determine whether self-defense was justified. Police discretion sometimes means that self-defense cases are not always filtered through the legal system for the courts to decide.
Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, spoke at UT-Arlington Friday and said the claim of self-defense in the Trayvon Martin case should not have been left up to the sole discretion of the police. “How will a police officer know if a person is standing their ground until there is an investigation”, asked Bush. “Clearly, there should have been an investigation and clearly that’s what’s happening now,” the former Governor added.
Nearly 300 students, neighbors and children rallied Friday on the campus of Paul Quinn College in South Dallas. They too questioned the Florida law that allowed neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, to go free after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Democratic State Senator, Royce West of Dallas, says the Florida shooting has him rethinking the Castle Law in Texas. “I’m going to ask the Lt. Governor to have the Criminal Justice Committee of the Senate study the Castle Doctrine in light of the Trayvon Martin assassination in Florida,” West told the applauding crowd.
The shooting has even President Barack Obama challenging Florida’s law and other laws like it. “I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen”, said President Obama. “That means we examine the laws and the context for what happened,” the President added.
Those calling for Zimmerman’s arrest want to know why he pursued Trayvon Martin, despite being told by a 911 operator that it was unnecessary, and that he should wait for police to arrive.
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