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Trayvon Martin Case Prompts Civil Rights Commission Investigation On Stand Your Ground Laws

The United States Commission on Civil Rights is launching an investigation into the various state Stand Your Ground laws, as a responses to the controversy surrounding the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. According to the Commission, the review will look at specific case studies like Floria and amass national statistics on who is affected and how effective the law is of suppressing crime.

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Calling the timing “a unique opportunity to uncover facts and provide thoughtful analysis on whether and how racial bias enters into the operation of SYG laws in Florida and elsewhere,” the Commission noted that it would look at at least three states as case studies and begin conducting hearings on the matter. Included in the information they are seeking are statistics such as:

The Commission’s investigation will seek collection of data on all states that have enacted SYG laws. Ata minimum, such baseline data from each SYG state will seek information such as:

●The number of state investigations, charges, prosecutions, and judicial decisions involving claimsof self-defense homicide from 2000 to the present;
●The race of victims, perpetrators, and justice system participants (investigators, prosecutors, juries, and judges ) in the investigation, charging, prosecution, and judicial decision stages of allcases involving claims of self-defense homicide from 2000 to the present;
●The procedures, legally-mandated or in common practice, state investigations, charges, prosecutions, and judicial decisions involving claims of self-defense homicide from 2000 to the present. Procedural changes in the handling of self-defense homicides upon the adoption of SYGlaws should also be described
●Public allegations of racial bias in cases involving SYG laws raised from any source.
●Any public reports or analyses concerning racial bias in the operation of that state’s SYG laws.This baseline work will be conducted through documents, the assistance of the agency’s state advisory committees, and research conducted from the national office. No staff travel from headquarters isexpected to gather this baseline data

Read the full announcement here.

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