Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Claims Another Victim

Melissa Stusinski

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law has claimed another victim--Pedro Roteta, 26. Yesterday, a judge threw out a case involving Greyston Garcia, 25, who chased Roteta for over a block, before stabbing him to death.

Admittedly, Pedro was trying to steal the radio from Garcia's truck when a roommate alerted Garcia. He then grabbed a knife and chased Roteta for over a block, before killing him.

In throwing out the murder charge against Greyston Garcia, the judge cited the "Stand Your Ground" law in her decision, declaring the man immune from prosecution in the case.

Roteta was unarmed at the time of the killing, much like Trayvon Martin was when he was killed by George Zimmerman last month. Garcia admitted that he "never saw a weapon," but still thought that Roteta was about to stab him.

The police sargeant who supervised the case disagreed strongly with the judge's decision, calling it a, "travesty of justice." Prosecutor Jennie Conklin wrote in a motion that once the victim ran away from Garcia's truck, he "no longer needed to use deadly force to protect his home or unoccupied vehicle."

The "Stand Your Ground" law has been in effect in Florida since 2005. This case only serves to show the burden that police and prosecutors have experienced since the law was first signed. The law eliminated a citizen's requirement to retreat in the face of danger, and has put judges in a tough position, as they are forced to decide if the accused is immune to prosecution, even when deadly force is used.

Miami-Dade Chief Assisttant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague said of the law that, "Self-defense should be decided by a jury...to us, that's the flaw in the law." Unfortunately, the Florida State Supreme Court does not agree. They agreed in a ruling that the question of whether immunity applies in each case must be decided by a judge, instead of a jury.

Do you think that Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is good, or does it only serve to protect killers like Greyston Garcia from prosecution?

Watch the video below, to see Rep. Dennis Baxley speak about the law he co-wrote:

[iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/A3KRnxILrro" width="560" height="315"]