NewsNation | March 21, 2012
>>> stand your ground law gives people the right to protect themselves with deadly force instead of backing down first. numbers from the florida department of law enforcement show justifiable homicides tripled after the law went into effect in 2005 . now some florida state senators want to review the law, something the governor says he supports. joining me live from gainesville is state representative dennis baxley, one of two sponsors of the stand your ground bill, the miami herald reporting that you said that martin's killer probably should be arrested. let me hear your thoughts in regards to stand your ground and what you know about this case.
>> thank you very much. first of all, i would just like to express my sympathy to the martin family. i served my own community as a funeral director for over 40 years and i walked with many family and friends through this tragedy, and i don't think there is anything quite as painful as the loss and the heartbreak of the loss of a child. please accept my condolences in that regard to the martin family. my point really as a sponsor of this castle doctrine legislation was always to protect lives, and to empower. what we learned is if we empower people to stop bad things from happening, they will. in fact, that statistic is coupled with another statistic, and that is the fact we have had a dramatic drop in violent crimes since this law has been in effect. i think the biggest problem here is application. there is nothing in the castle doctrine statute that provides authority for you to pursue or confront other people. this is a self-defense law. it says if you are in your home or car or somewhere you have a right to be and someone attacks you, we will stand with you. you don't have to worry you would be charged with a crime for defending yourself or family from harm. and i am very pleased to see this is going to a grand jury . i think that is the place to sort this out. quite frankly , i think it is a misapplication to be attacking this castle doctrine statute when it really doesn't apply to pursue and confront other people.
>> the state senator who co-sponsored the law with you says the intent was to protect women and children . they're using it to protect someone who ought to be in jail. the state attorney ought to do the job. i know you said you were pleased it is going to a grand jury . is that -- i want you to say it more flatly and i don't want to put words in your mouth. do you believe that zimmerman should have been charged?
>> i think it is wrong for me to be speculating on the facts when all i know is what i absorb from the media.
>> but the language in the law and let me break it down to the 911 call that seems to be at the center for the legal battle here is when you hear george zimmerman being told by the 911 operator not to get out of the vehicle, not to follow the individual, let's isolate those words alone, those instructions alone and apply them to the law that you co-sponsored and you tell me what should be applied here.
>> well, clearly the intent of the law is to defend people in their homes and their cars and where they have a right to be from attack. there is nothing in the statute to protect somebody who is pursuing and confronting other people. i think it is wrong for me to speculate. i think it is right for me to say i believe that the grand jury will sort this out and i do not believe that this protection applies in these situations.
>> if it doesn't apply in this situation and that is the accepted defense that the police accepted from zimmerman that it was a case of self-defense based on the law you co-sponsored, if you say that that is misapplied, i am not asking if he should be convicted. i am not asking if he should serve time. i am asking if you think he should be arrested and charged at the beginning of the process here.
>> well, i think from all that we're learning, it is certainly leaning indicative of that, but i always try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and i do believe the biggest problem is not having this fully investigated and vetted and i think the grand jury will arrive at these conclusions, but i would leave it to them to make that decision and i can tell you there is nothing in here to protect someone who is pursuing and confronting other people.
>> let me ask you given the situation with the trayvon martin case and many other legal experts in your own state who now say we need to review this law solely based on the fact that if it is an issue of self-defense, the only person standing is the person who is alive and they're able to tell the story, not the dead person, so in this case this could happen time and time again in your state where you have an individual who says, listen, i was defending myself, as it is applied to this law, and the notion as i know saying dead men, dead women don't talk.
>> there is an issue there that has to be sorted out and vetted and that's why there is always an investigation to determine the facts. i think you have to determine the full set of facts and what happened prior to the actual confrontation and that's what concerns me in this case. when you have pursuit and confrontation, of course you're going to accelerate things.
>> you stand by the law as it is written now? you stand by this law?
>> i do stand by it, but i think there may need to be new legislation that addresses like how crime watches and how things are addressed, but i think a lot of this is how it is being applied. it is not a problem with the statute as much as it is a problem with how it is being applied.
>> thank you so much for your time. we greatly appreciate it. thank you.
>> thank you.