Critics question Georgia's 'Stand Your Ground' law in wake of Florida teen's death



ATLANTA - Florida calls it the 'Stand Your Ground', and Georgia calls it 'No Duty to Retreat'.  In both states, the law has come under fire in the wake of the controversial shooting of a teen allegedly killed by a neighborhood watch captain.

Local defense attorney, Jackie Patterson, said he has used the law to defend his clients. 

"Maybe 10 out of 100 is successful in that type of defense," Patterson said told Channel 2's Tony Thomas.

Georgia law says if a person reasonably believes they are in danger, under imminent threat of harm, they can use force, including deadly force to remove the threat, Thomas said.

In the Florida case, George Zimmerman, said he was defending himself when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin.

"Now is the time to repeal, and to demand the repeal or amendment of Georgia law," Lauren McAlpin said on behalf of the Black Students Law Association.

The group, which gathered at the state Capitol on Friday, argues that the law is bad public policy.

Local activist Markel Hutchins raised concerns that the law opens the door for similar results in Georgia.

"Public policy is a real culprit in this because if public policy had been right (in Florida), (Zimmerman) would have been arrested no matter what color he is."

"The law is a good law because everyone has the right to defend themselves, but you don’t have a righ to be the attacker," Patterson said.

 The Black Students Association will return to the state Capitol on Monday at 5 p.m. to hold an "I Am Trayvon Martin" rally.

Channel 2 Action News

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