The infamous Trayvon Martin case became major news when George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing the 17-year-old Martin, claimed to have acted in self-defense and wasn’t arrested or charged with any crime until more than a month later.
This, despite the apparent lack of evidence that Martin attacked him, as well as Zimmerman’s claim that his state’s stand-your-ground law justified the shooting, made this case major news.
According to the Huffington Post, the latest in the Trayvon Martin case involves Zimmerman’s choice to turn down a scheduled hearing that would have centered on the stand-your-ground law, a hearing scheduled roughly two months before trial.
In many states, the stand-your-ground law applies only to homes. In other words, you can only justifiably use deadly force against a home intruder. You have no duty to retreat. However, in other states, including the state where the Trayvon Martin shooting took place (Florida), you can justifiably use deadly force against someone outside of the home and you don’t necessarily have a duty to retreat.
The Huffington Post calls Zimmerman’s waiver of his stand-your-ground hearing a “stunning twist,” likely because the hearing would’ve given Zimmerman the chance to argue that his second-degree murder charges should be dropped under Florida law.
In Maryland, there is case law, but no statutory authority, for the right to act in self-defense in your home. But Maryland’s stand-your-ground law generally does not apply outside the home.