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California Has Similar ‘Stand Your Ground’ Wording As Florida Self-Defense Law

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A shift in self-defense legal strategy could be coming in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict this past week.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the NAACP it’s time to review those laws.

“It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken.”

He also told the delegates the laws need to take into account common sense and require people who feel threatened to try to get to a safe place before using force.

McGeorge Law School Professor John Myers says Florida’s self-defense law that led to George Zimmerman’s acquittal is similar to California’s, with nearly identical language.

The phrase “Stand Your Ground” was referenced in Zimmerman’s trial and is also written into California’s law.

Myers says every U.S. state follows the same basic definition of defense.

“There must be an imminent, unlawful deadly attack, the person must honestly believe in the need for self-defense, their believe must be reasonable, and they can’t be first aggressor. Those are elements of self-defense. Some will now add you must retreat if you can, that’s where the retreat comes in.”

A jury’s verdict that Trayvon Martin’s death broke no law may now lead to a change in how the laws were written.

“The whole idea of self-defense is we do not want people to act in self-defense unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

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