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Gov. Rick Scott appoints ‘Stand Your Ground’ task force, sets first meeting May 1

by Dara Kam | April 19th, 2012

The sponsor of Florida’s first-in-the-nation “Stand Your Ground” law, state Rep. Dennis Baxley, is among the 17 members of Gov. Rick Scott’s “Citizen Safety and Protection” task force that will begin meeting May 1, Scott announced Thursday.

Palm Beach County Judge Krista Marx will also sit on the panel, scheduled to hold meetings around the state and which also includes four state lawmakers from the Sanford area, a retired Florida Supreme Court judge, attorneys and a neighborhood watch volunteer.

Scott announced the formation of the task force in the aftermath of the Feb. 26 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford. Sanford claimed he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense. The killing sparked a national outcry over Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law that allows people to use deadly force when they feel threatened and provides immunity from prosecution.

“We are a nation and we are a state of laws. And I’m committing to letting our legal system work to ensure the people in our state are safe and protected,” Scott told reporters at a press conference this morning. “I’m a firm supporter of the Second Amendment. I also want to make sure that we do not rush to conclusions about the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law or any other laws in our state.”

Scott waited to get the task force up-and-running until special prosecutor Angela Corey, tapped by Scott to take over the investigation into Martin’s killing, arrested Zimmerman on second-degree murder charges earlier this month.

Task force chairwoman, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, a black former state House member who voted in favor of the 2005 law, and vice-chairman Rev. R. B. Holmes Jr., pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee joined Scott at a press conference this morning announcing the launch of the task force, which will hold its first meeting in Tallahassee. The panel is made up of “racially, regionally and professionally” diverse members from Pensacola to Miami, Carroll said.

“The brilliance of this is you have the governor’s office saying let’s look at this, versus hot air maybe elsewhere. This committee has the opportunity to listen to the public at large, take their testimony and say these are our suggestions,” Holmes said.

All of Florida’s “justifiable use of force” statute, which includes the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, will be included within the task force’s scope of work, Carroll said. No one representing the National Rifle Association, which pushed Florida’s law and helped spread it to more than two dozen other states, will be on the panel because no one from the organization applied, Carroll said.

The task force will take public testimony, gather data with the help of the University of Florida law school and make recommendations to the governor and legislative leaders before the legislature meets again in March, Carroll said.

Scott’s office has also set up a website for the panel – www.flgov.com/citizensafety – an e-mail account – citizensafety@eog.myflorida.com – and a Twitter handle – @FLCitizenSafety – where the public can review the task force’s work and provide input.

Although the task force’s main focus will be on the justifiable use of force section of Florida law, Chapter 776, the group may also look into some of the state’s many other gun laws, Scott said.

“This task force is going to take input from people about public safety. ‘Stand your ground’ is part of it. But thank goodness we live in a state where the crime rate is at a 40-year low. I want to keep it that way. We all want to keep it that way. If there’s laws that are impacting that, where people don’t feel comfortable, I want to know about it. We all want to know about it,” Scott said.

See the full list of Scott’s task force after the jump.

The task force members are:

_ Chairwoman Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
_ Vice-chairman R.B. Holmes Jr., pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee
_ Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley.
_ State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala.
_ Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell, of Pensacola.
_ State Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford.
_ Derek E. Bruce, Orlando attorney with Edge Public Affairs.
_ Joseph A. Caimano Jr., Tampa criminal defense attorney.
_ Edna Canino, president of Florida Embassy of League of United Latin American Citizens.
_ Gretchen Lorenzo, Fort Myers Police Department neighborhood watch coordinator.
_ Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Krista Marx.
_ Maria Newman, Melbourne neighborhood watch volunteer.
_ State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle of Miami.
_ Stacy A. Scott, public defender with the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Gainesville.
_ Mark Seiden, a Miami attorney.
_ State Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, an attorney.
_ State Senator Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, an attorney.

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9 Responses to “Gov. Rick Scott appoints ‘Stand Your Ground’ task force, sets first meeting May 1”

  1. RPOF = RIPOFF Says:

    By my count only TWO African-Americans out of SEVENTEEN on this joke of a task force.

    Heckuva job racist RPOF.

  2. Mary Says:

    State Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, filed HB 155, the Privacy of Firearms Owners Act, which sought to punish doctors with fines up to a $5 million for asking a patient or a patient’s family about gun ownership and gun habits. A watered down bill passed and was signed by our illustrious governor. Doctors filed suit immediately and the case is in the courts.
    Excellent choice for the task force. Rep. Brodeur will be open minded and objective I’m sure. With him on the panel there was no need for the NRA to have a designated representative. The fact that he is also from Sanford is no comfort.

  3. Same old story Says:

    People kill, guns don’t.

    Behind every murder is a person.

  4. Experts Says:

    Two afro

    They are experts at killing their own.

    More should be on the panel.

  5. RPOF = RIPOFF Says:

    My mistake, 4 of the 17 are African-American.

    But let’s see what happens. I expect that there will be considerable pressure on this group by NRA lobbyists. They are insidious and relentless, and they have proven again and again that they could care less about the public good.

  6. Joe Budd Says:

    No need to change the law. Facts are facts, since this law went into effect in October, 2005 violent crime in Florida has decreased 75% greater than the national average making Florida a safer place.

  7. Mary Says:

    Joe Budd could benefit from a logic course. Causality has been studied for a very long time. It is a logical error to contend that,because two things happen at approximately the same time, there must be a cause and effect relationship between them. It’s entirely possible that both things are caused by a separate, outside cause. I have a stomach ache and a runny nose. Is it logical for me to declare that my stomach ache is responsible for my runny nose?

  8. RPOF = RIPOFF Says:

    Exactly Mary.

    The Spring was warmer than usual in many parts of the country. Maybe SYG is responsible for climate change!

    News orgs have looked into the number of homicides classified as “justifiable” and those have, indeed, tripled. Since justifiable homicide has a direct relationship to SYG, we can pretty accurately say that SYG leads to more of these cases where justice is ostensibly determined by the survivor of a lethal encounter. The dead person is not very helpful to the investigation, and as we saw with Trayvon, he was in fact treated like the perpetrator (drug tested and everything) based entirely on the gunman’s account of the incident.

    Imho, Trayvon Martin would be alive today if there was no SYG law. And that is reason enough to vigorously investigate the law and its consequences. How many more Trayvons are out there? How many more are we willing to accept as a “cost” of this law? Questions need answering.

  9. Dee Says:

    And Rich Scott will change nothing. He is only doing this because of the national attention this case has brought to Florida. Now, if it was one of his daughters or his grandson, what do you think he would do.

    You Betcha!

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