Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the members of his Stand Your Ground task force today. The task force has been named the "Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection."
Among those appointed to the task force is the Sponsor of the Stand Your Ground law, funeral home owner Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-Ocala).
Long before being named to the task force, Baxley seemed to indicate he had already made up his mind that his law was not applicable in the Trayvon Martin shooting.
In an interview with NPR on March 26, he said this:
"I think that actually indicates that the law is working because it says that a number of people have not been prosecuted for defending themselves."
Many believe that, had it not been for public outcry, George Zimmerman may never had been prosecuted for the Trayvon Martin shooting either. Which is, of course, one of the problems with the Stand Your Ground law in the first place.
Baxley also wrote an op-ed for Fox News on March 21, entitled:
"Trayvon Martin's Alleged Attacker Not Covered Under Law I Wrote."
Some excerpts from that op-ed:
I have been in the funeral services profession for over 40 years; I've walked with families through many tragic circumstances and I know how difficult it is.
During the debate concerning this incident, some have brought into question the "Stand Your Ground" law, more commonly referred to as the "castle doctrine," which has been used by the attacker to pardon his actions.
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I'd like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.
Until 2005, the castle doctrine had never been canonized into Florida law, but had been used with differing definition and application to the concept of self-defense. The focus of the law was to provide clear definition to acts of self-defense.
The castle doctrine as passed, clarified that individuals are lawfully able to defend themselves when attacked and there is no duty to retreat when an individual is attacked on their property. Since the passage of this law in Florida, 26 other states have implemented similar statues.
Additionally, the American Legislative Exchange Council used the Florida version of the castle doctrine as model legislation for other states.
One of the problems with determining the "applicability" of the Stand Your Ground laws is if that person, allegedly acting in self-defense, was attacked or in fear for his life. Hard to determine what Baxley calls a "clear definition of self-defense" when one of the only witnesses is dead.
Since Baxley seems steadfast in defense of "his law," not to mention defending ALEC for providing the model legislation for Florida as well as all the other states that have used it, which is worth nothing, let's hope others on the task force can look at the law free of bias.