"Trayvon Martin’s death was tragic and unnecessary.
Florida State Legislator Dennis Baxley, Representative of the 24th District, a prime author of Florida’s “stand your ground law”, perhaps said it best in an open statement published by Fox News March 21, 2012, and carried on this anti-bullying site: http://bullybuzz.org/2012/03/21/trayvon-martins-attacker-covered-stand-ground-law/
Neither “Stand your ground” nor the Castle Doctrine were meant to cover people who aggressively pursue and confront others. It was meant for those who suddenly face criminal threats and need to defend themselves, without having to second-guess whether or not they will be persecuted or prosecuted for doing so. It’s not the fault of the law, as some would have it, but as the Representaive said, the interpretation of the law. It can be summed up in one sentence:
Stand your ground doesn’t mean chase ‘em down.
The only possible exception to that I can see is in a case of abduction, especially of a child. Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was instructed by Police not to follow Martin, and ignored the advice. It should be a warning to anyone who wants to be El Zorro. Even if Zimmerman is prosecuted and gets acquitted, he still faces civil suits brought by the Federal government as well as Martin’s family. He can be charged or sued under hate crime laws listed on the FBI’s civil web page on Federal statues covering civil rights:
Martin’s family can bring a civil suit against him under 42 U.S.C. 1983. See
“Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, … subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, …”
One might argue that under the color of the stand your ground law, Zimmerman deprived Martin of the civil right to walk a public street peaceably, unarmed and unmolested. Anyone who feels they are being stalked has the right to turn around and ask why someone is following them. If Zimmerman had not been so suspicious and aggressive, he could simply have approached Martin peacefully, told him that he was a neighborhood watch captain, and politely asked if he could do anything to help Martin, perhaps even walk him home. If Martin had actually been a criminal and attacked Zimmerman, then the stand your ground law would likely have applied. But as a practical matter, Zimmerman would still have been under a cloud, unless he took the trouble to record the confrontation on audio or video tape.
At the very least, if Zimmerman was determined to follow and observe Martin, he should have done so from a distance and never approached him. He would then have seen Martin enter a home through the front door, and would have had no further cause of action, other than to report his observations to the police, if that.
These are my own opinions, not professional legal advice. Anyone who would carry a gun for self defense would be well-advised to read an authoritative book on it, like Massad F. Ayoob’s “In Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection”. It seems unlikely that Zimmerman bothered to do so. "