Posted: May 7, 2012 10:16 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: May 7, 2012 10:20 PM
A new bill would re-write Louisiana criminal law in response to the February shooting in Florida of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The bill, HB1100, targets what's known as a "Stand Your Ground law." State lawmakers say as it reads right now, prosecutors would have a tough time pressing charges against the shooter if the Trayvon Martin case happened in Louisiana.
George Zimmerman faces a second degree murder charge for that shooting. A neighborhood watch activist, Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, Zimmerman says in self-defense, but according to some, "self-defense" isn't very clear in Louisiana.
"If the case were that Mr. Zimmerman actually pursued Trayvon Martin, then the judge and the jury should take that into consideration." Rep. Roy Burrell says, "to determine who was the actual aggressor."
A Representative from Shreveport, Burrell authors what's now dubbed the "Trayvon Bill."
If passed, it will re-write the "Stand Your Ground" law. SYG currently doesn't let a judge or jury consider pursuit to identify an aggressor; in this case, George Zimmerman pursued Trayvon Martin, even after contacting police.
"We have to know that guns kill," Rep. Terry Landry said. "We have to leave the policing to the authorities."
Acadiana Representative Terry Landry brings more than 30-years of law enforcement experience to the Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. That committee gave this bill the thumbs up and has high hopes it will become law, allowing the courts to determine an aggressor with evidence of pursuit.
"If the threat is removed, say if the person is running away from you, then the threat is clearly removed," Rep. Burrell said. "You cannot use deadly force to take a person's life."
The bill also got the thumbs up from District Attorneys around the state and it will hit the house floor Tuesday.