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Trayvon Martin Verdict Echoes In Las Vegas
Trayvon Martin Verdict Echoes In Las Vegas

AIR DATE: July 17, 2013


Addie Rolnick, law professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Yvette Williams, chair of Clark County Democratic Black Caucus

Nevada vs. Florida: Stand Your Ground Laws

George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the Trayvon Martin case has sparked a national debate about “stand your ground laws” – the right of a citizen to use force in self defense if he believes his life is threatened.

Nevada’s self-defense law is in many ways similar to Florida’s, says University of Nevada, Las Vegas law professor Addie Rolnick.

Both have the stand your ground provision that says normally you have to retreat first before you use deadly force. In your home you don’t, and in the street you don’t either in a number of situations,” says Rolnick.

The difference between Florida and Nevada, she says, is that in Nevada you can’t (use deadly force) if you start the fight. "But in Florida, if you start the fight you can still use deadly force in self defense as long as you start to fear for your life after.”  It’s an exception that she says was a key factor in the George Zimmerman case.

The other important difference in Nevada and Florida laws, also factoring into the Zimmerman trial, is that, in Florida, once the claim of self defense is made, the burden shifts to the prosecution to disprove that self defense was warranted.



    comments powered by Disqus
    OMG you have censured me, not a surprise since I am not in support of Mr. Martins right to attack Mr. Zimmerman. His parents portray him as an innocent child who was deprived of his civil right to life. Malarky! he was a wannabe gangster and he was the aggressor. He got what any criminal aggressor should get regardless of melanin. For the Feds to retry him (Zimmerman) civilly for the veiled political reasons based on thousands of peoples protests is a very bad precedent and only confirms my suspicion that the government is out of control and all any group would have to do is threaten to riot when they don't like a verdict. What happened to the rule of law? God help us.
    pancho sanzaJul 18, 2013 23:27:22 PM
    Hmm... You must have watched some news that was unavailable to me, I never saw where TM was a wanna be gangster. I guess that's no different than GZ being a wanna be cop. What right did he have to get out of his vehicle with a gun and harass TM? I am not saying TM was just an innocent kid, I didn't know him. But from everything I have seen on the news, sounds like GZ was the instigator. Maybe he should have stayed in his car? maybe he should have followed the police's instruction to quit following TM? What was TM doing wrong to cause GZ to do any of this? Walking home from the store? I hope my kid doesn't get shot to death by an overzealous neighborhood watch guy for walking through the neighborhood. Ridiculous that you are defending GZ's actions.
    AVJul 19, 2013 08:07:04 AM
    We did not censor you. We deleted your comments because they are not civil.

    We welcome diversity of opinion, including yours. But is a community platform for civil dialogue. While you are free to express your opinions about the Zimmerman trial, and free to speculate on how Trayvon Martin may have acted on the evening he was shot, some the language and racial generalizations you have expressed are offensive and violate KNPR's community guidelines.

    Before you submit another comment, please refer to our guidelines.

    Once you have reviewed the guidelines, please direct any further concerns or questions to our news director, Adam Burke:

    knpr newsJul 19, 2013 13:48:23 PM
    None of us knows what was actually going on during the altercation and we don't know who the aggressor was, since the only person still alive out of the deal is obviously going to make a case for himself. Minimally he should be held accountable for the fact that he instigated the whole mess, disregarded orders from law enforcement and it resulted in death for a 17 year old who was just walking home.
    AVJul 18, 2013 16:45:32 PM
    This comment has been deleted because it contains inappropriate content.
    Pancho SanzaJul 19, 2013 13:12:58 PM
    This comment has been deleted because it contains inappropriate content.
    pancho sanzaJul 17, 2013 21:15:45 PM
    The discussion of race is at the forefront here, its such an important and basic issue. But little is said about another basic issue: He had a gun. If he had not had a gun (profiling and race aside) perhaps they would have both had a broken nose or other injury, but much less likely one would have died. In addition , Zimmerman may have had a different frame of mind and been less aggressive without the gun in his 'pocket'. This truth rides in tandem with the racial truth, but its outcome, at least in the short term, is that likely no one would have died.
    barbara fensterJul 17, 2013 20:42:09 PM
    Lets get this in order: First, all Trayvon had to do, was, to move on and go home. Second; Trayvon, decided to turn around and confront the person that he felt was following him (most of us have someone following us, at any time, every day) That doesn't give us the right to attack the person following us. Third: Trayvon, decided, to attack GZ, for what ever reason, none of which is a defensible comment. Fourth: Travon, struck the defendent, and broke his nose, and then somehow, got the defendent to the ground and continued to beat on him. Fifth: The defendent, chose to use, a legal and licensed instrument to deal with shoot the agressor. What I cannot understand is the, conflict in, the actual facts.... W. Leake
    Walter LeakeJul 17, 2013 20:40:10 PM
    There is the opposite view here as well. 1. Why was GZ following the kid, all he was doing was walking? 2. Why did GZ get out of his vehicle and pursue him on foot? 3. After GZ called the police & they told him to back off, didn't GZ do as instructed by law enforcement? 4.For all TM knew, GZ was a mugger. I just think that the whole thing could have been avoided if GZ wouldn't have initiated the whole mess.
    AVJul 18, 2013 16:30:04 PM
    The verbiage of the FL law is very wrong here: "But in Florida, if you start the fight you can still use deadly force in self defense as long as you start to fear for your life after. This is pure stupidity and says anyone is allowed to start a fight, and if we -god forbid- start to LOSE we can just kill em and still get away with it. When humans are in a fight BOTH of them are in fear of their life. Both of them are in a state of self defense. Both of them will use any means necessary to win. This law was written in a way that the 'last man standing' wins regardless of situations. There is no justice served here, and any law written this way is wrong. Should a citizen be able to use deadly force to defend themselves in a burglery, robbery, rape or similar situations without fear of prosecution? Yes. Should we let people who intentionally start a fight off the hook? No. When a citizen exits the safety of his vehicle to pursue someone who had run away, he has shown intent to start trouble. Treyvon tried to flee the situation first. This is shown on the 911 dispatch transcript and stated by Zimmerman himself. Against advice, Zimmerman pursued Treyvon. Treyvon shouldn't
    EveSereneJul 17, 2013 13:12:11 PM
    Are you serious?....did you listen or comprend any part of the trial? Let me make this very clear; Trayvon, could have prevented all of this, by simply....moving on and going home and enjoy his iced tea and skittles. but, NO, this guy had to turn around and confront a stranger, punch him in the nose and break it, then somehow get the victim on the ground and continue to beat them... Travon, is NOT and Never was a cute, cuddly kid... He was a six foot two inch tall MAN, weiging one hundred, eighty plus pounds and with a definite anger issue... He, struck the defendent, knocked him, somehow to the ground (evidence of grass stains on his knees) and continued beating the defendent (grass stains on his back an blood and damage to the back of his head) until the defendent elected to use his weapon (licensed and approved by the local municipality) to shoot this "Punk, agressor" Sixth; Trayvon, dies, due to a stupid decision of his, not of the defendent. NEVER, come to a gun fight, with a angry mind and stupid fists.... you'll loose every time... My deepest, sympathy, for the Martin family, and all those that loved him. W>
    Walter Jul 17, 2013 20:55:58 PM
    First I knew the case was not going to be about truth or fairness when the rules were decided by the judge not to involve profiling. Professor Addie Rolnick, elaborated on this eloquently. We do not live in a vacuum, why did the judge chose to confine the evidence of this case in a vacuum? I also believe the prosecuting attorney was inept and did not perform an adequate witness preparation. I also do not believe the jury was not the best that could have been assembled. I believed the outcome of this trial was fait accompli. The American justice system is a dismal failure for poor people and minorities, but a great success for corporate owned and run prison system. This trial was also about the systemic perception of minority men in this country. The media for years have played young black and brown male youths and men as dangerous people that should be feared. Some will say that is not true America has a president that is black. My response to that is yes we do however that does nothing to remove the stereotypes that are embedded in the American psyche. Not to mention the backlash that has yet to be discussed. As a person that has a weapon and has carried it for years I do not
    johnJul 17, 2013 11:51:47 AM
    I am a 50 year old white male and am sickened by the outcome of this case. I can't believe that we are still having this conversation. I was only a child when Dr. King was marching for equal rights and dreamed that things would be different when my generation grew up. How much longer must we wait. Saddened, frustrated, and disappointed.
    SergeJul 17, 2013 09:36:06 AM
    Your guest said Trayvon was repeatedly yelling for help. They also said Trayvon was "undeniably completely innocent" The Jury saw it differently on both points. Trayvon was innocent up until he CHOSE to punch and continuously assault George Zimmerman. Where is the "CIVIL RIGHTS" violation, and what about Zimmerman's Civil Rigthts?
    RobJul 17, 2013 09:33:58 AM
    There is a part of the Trayvon Martin story that is not being told. That is the racial attitude in Florida. It was about 15 years ago that we traveled there and noticed that black people were not employed in reasonably decent jobs. We also noticed that there were no black people on the beaches. (The black people seemed to know their place there.) I had hoped that racial attitudes had changed in 15 years, but I think that the verdict shows that the attitudes are not changed. No amount of court action will change that.
    Lois ChatfieldJul 17, 2013 09:28:50 AM
    I understand that stand your ground was not brought up during the trial. Why do we want to make this about stand your ground?
    TedJul 17, 2013 09:09:52 AM
    That was a good explanation from the Professor. The sooner that we stop trying to make this about stand your ground, the sooner we can get to the heart of the matter.
    TedJul 17, 2013 09:29:27 AM
    Though the contingent with a big racist chip perpetually on their shoulders think everything is a giant racist conspiracy, at this point in our history, it's just NOT!! Mr. Zimmerman was judged on the evidence presented, by a jury of his peers whose composition both the defense and prosecution agreed upon. Every trial in America works like that. So, it's done. Just let the man be. And please - media, politicians, and race-baiters - stop blaming race for everything bad; I'd suggest that you instead just get on with bettering yourselves and enjoying life as you see fit, much like the rest of us do.
    Tim HuntJul 17, 2013 08:36:33 AM
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