3/20: Trayvon Martin, “stand your ground” and Bama government gets a C-…

Guest today:

  • 8:00 AM – State Representative Phil Williams

Here we go.. a bunch a folks with no knowledge of the situation

The police chief in Sanford turned over the investigation into the killing of Miami teen Trayon Martin to the Seminole-Brevard State Attorney’s Office for review Monday, as outraged members of the community demanded justice.

The Michael Krop Senior High School junior was killed two weeks ago in Sanford while on a trip to visit relatives.

The 17-year old went out unarmed to buy snacks at a 7-Eleven and wound up killed by an armed neighborhood watch captain who had called police to report a suspicious person.

Police chief’s statement

Police Chief Bill Lee said there was not enough evidence to arrest George Zimmerman, who followed Martin in his SUV and ended up confronting the teen before shots were fired.

“In this case Mr. Zimmerman has made the statement of self-defense,” Lee said. “Until we can establish probable cause to dispute that, we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.”

Students are demanding an arrest when local authorities say there is no reason too…

The students are demanding the arrest of 28-year-old George Zimmerman, who authorities say shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month during a confrontation in a gated community. Zimmerman’s father has said the man is Hispanic and is not racist.

Zimmerman has claimed self-defense. Florida law allows a person to use deadly force if the person believes he or she is facing a deadly threat.

The case has been turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, which can file charges or present the case to a grand jury.

Furthermore, the federal authorities are involved. Even if we believe that the entire Sanford, FL PD is racist and the DAs are as well, the FBI is now involved so we know if there is a reason to arrest this guy, they will.

Federal prosecutors and the FBI have opened an investigation into the killing of an unarmed teen by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Florida.

The death drew protesters Monday to the courthouse in Seminole County, north of Orlando, to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed last month while walking back to his father’s fiancee’s house in Sanford.

The African-American teen’s parents said Monday that they believed race was a factor in their son’s death, and the Congressional Black Caucus had called for a federal investigation, saying local police have shown “blatant disregard for justice.”

Late Monday, the Justice Department said it would dispatch officials to Sanford to investigate and “to address tension in the community.”

“The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a written statement. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident.”

Unless of course the FBI is racist.

Here is the 911 tape that everyone says is Trayvon Martin yelling help…

You have no idea who that is and neither do I. Zimmerman says it is him, Martin’s family says it was him.

More on the opposition to the stand your ground law…

You can’t say we weren’t warned.

Back in 2005, opponents of Florida’s first-of-its-kind “stand your ground” law said it wouldn’t be long before we’d see shootouts in the streets — all in the name of self-defense.

Arguments over something as trivial as exceeding the 10-item limit in a grocery store’s express lane could escalate to deadly violence.

Prodded by their NRA masters, lawmakers waved off those predictions as exaggerations. Then they overwhelmingly passed a bill that took the “castle doctrine” to infinity and beyond. The “castle doctrine” used to mean you could use deadly force if someone attacked you in your home. “Stand your ground” not only absolved the homeowner of any obligation to retreat, it extended that concept outside the home.

Well no wonder no one took those warnings seriously, they are ridiculous.

Alabama’s “Stand your Ground” law…

Alabama is a Castle Doctrine state and has a Stand Your Ground law. Below is the exact Alabama law.

Section 13A-3-23
Use of force in defense of a person.
(a) A person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he or she may use a degree of force which he or she reasonably believes to be necessary for the purpose. A person may use deadly physical force, and is legally presumed to be justified in using deadly physical force in self-defense or the defense of another person pursuant to subdivision (4), if the person reasonably believes that another person is:
(1) Using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force.
(2) Using or about to use physical force against an occupant of a dwelling while committing or attempting to commit a burglary of such dwelling.
(3) Committing or about to commit a kidnapping in any degree, assault in the first or second degree, burglary in any degree, robbery in any degree, forcible rape, or forcible sodomy.
(4) In the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcefully entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is in the process of sabotaging or attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility, or is attempting to remove, or has forcefully removed, a person against his or her will from any dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle when the person has a legal right to be there, and provided that the person using the deadly physical force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring. The legal presumption that a person using deadly physical force is justified to do so pursuant to this subdivision does not apply if:
a. The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner or lessee, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person;
b. The person sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used;
c. The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
d. The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her official duties.
(b) A person who is justified under subsection (a) in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), a person is not justified in using physical force if:
(1) With intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he or she provoked the use of unlawful physical force by such other person.
(2) He or she was the initial aggressor, except that his or her use of physical force upon another person under the circumstances is justifiable if he or she withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to the other person his or her intent to do so, but the latter person nevertheless continues or threatens the use of unlawful physical force.
(3) The physical force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.
(d) A person who uses force, including deadly physical force, as justified and permitted in this section is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the force was determined to be unlawful.
(e) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force described in subsection (a), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.
(Acts 1977, No. 607, p. 812, §610; Acts 1979, No. 79-599, p. 1060, §1; Act 2006-303, p. 638, §1.)

Alabama receives a C- on corruption

The tales are sadly familiar to even the most casual observer of state politics.

In Georgia, more than 650 government employees accepted gifts from vendors doing business with the state in 2007 and 2008, clearly violating state ethics law. The last time the state issued a penalty on a vendor was 1999.

A North Carolina legislator sponsored and voted on a bill to loosen regulations on billboard construction, even though he co-owned five billboards in the state. When the ethics commission reviewed the case, it found no conflict; after all, the panel reasoned, the legislation would benefit all billboard owners in the state — not just the lawmaker who pushed for the bill.

More on Alabama….

For years the world has witnessed Alabama through a bleak lens:

Alabama named worst governed state in America. … Ex-governor guilty of bribery. … Casino owner bribes legislator to get his vote for legalized gambling.

And, the unkindest headline of all: Alabama’s new immigration law revives memories of water hoses and dogs used against civil rights marchers.

But now, led by a reform minded governor and legislature and buoyed by a spate of legislative reforms, Alabama has taken strides to shed its past. The state has approved new investigative subpoena powers for its Ethics Commission, limited spending by lobbyists and pushed to make financial disclosure and other information more easily searchable online.

Yet ethics reform in this state of 4.8 million residents remains a work in progress. And so Alabama receives a letter grade of C- and a numerical score of 72 from the State Integrity Investigation, ranking it 15th among the states. Not the bottom of the rung rating of the earlier headlines, but not yet near the top, either.

The study evaluated factors ranging from the public’s access to information to political financing rules to ethics enforcement.

A promising direction

Interviews with more than 40 public and private sector experts suggest that Alabama’s ethics protections are pointing more toward a modern, efficient government than its history suggests.

“There are things that are clearly right and things that are clearly wrong,” said former medical doctor turned state governor Robert J. Bentley. “And it is the duty of all of us in government to do the right things.”

Republican Bentley’s only previous political experience was two terms as a non-controversial legislator representing the district that includes his hometown, Tuscaloosa.

He’s never been the typical politician. First, he made a campaign promise that if elected he would not take a salary until the state reached full employment (5.2 percent unemployment; the state presently sits at 8.1 percent).  Second, when he learned from the state Attorney General that contributions to his campaign by several corporations had exceeded the $500 legal limit, Bentley returned the entire contribution, not just the overage.

“If I have any question about whether anything I’m thinking about doing would conflict with the ethics law,” the governor said, “I just pick up the phone and call Jim.”

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