Is this self defense?
Florida's stand your ground law was supposed to protect law-abiding citizens whose lives were threatened. But in some cases, it has forgiven killers who started fights, chased down their victims or pulled the trigger under dubious circumstances. Read the story
The Trayvon Martin case
What happened: George Zimmerman was driving in his gated neighborhood went he spotted Trayvon Martin, 17, walking on a paved path between two sets of townhouses. Zimmerman, head of the Neighborhood Watch, called the police to report a suspicious person and began following Martin, first in a car and later on foot. Zimmerman's father said his son said Martin then threatened him, punched him in the nose and knocked him to the concrete. Zimmerman pulled a gun from the holster on his waist and shot Martin. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.
Read the case file
Here's the Trayvon Martin case and other similar cases where the stand your ground law was invoked. Click on the "What happened" description to get more details about a case.
|2008||South Beach||Argument turned violent||knife||1||pending|
|2008||Thonotosassa||Argument turned violent||Gun||1||granted immunity|
|2009||Wesley Chapel||Trespassing||Gun||none||not charged|
|2012||Palm Harbor||Road rage||Gun||1||pending|
|2009||Fort Myers||Argument turned violent||Gun||1||not charged|
|2009||Homosassa||Argument turned violent||Gun||1||not charged|
|2006||North Fort Myers||Neighbor dispute||gun||1||not charged|
|2008||New Port Richey||Shooting outside bar||gun||1||acquitted|
|2011||Royal Palm Beach||Vehicle theft||gun||1||not charged|
About these cases
The Tampa Bay Times used newspaper reports, police records and court documents to examine more than 140 cases in which Florida's Stand Your Ground law was considered or invoked. Many involved defendants whose lives were clearly in jeopardy. But these cases share similarities with the Trayvon Martin shooting and show Florida's controversial law has not always worked as elected officials intended.
- April 15: Florida's 'stand your ground' law was born of 2004 case, but story has been distorted
- March 23: Tally of 'stand your ground' cases rises as legislators rethink law
- March 23: Trayvon Martin, a typical teen with dreams of flying or fixing planes
- March 25: Trayvon Martin's killing shatters safety within Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford
- All coverage: Complete stand your ground story archive