Stand Your Ground: The Dilemma of Discretion, Race and Culture
This talk will be a lively conversation on modern self-defense laws, commonly referred to as “stand your ground laws.” Associate Dean and Law Professor Tamara Lawson will discuss the dynamics of the discretionary decisions made by legislatures, prosecutors, judges, and juries in controversial homicide cases like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, as well as other high profile criminal cases.
Prof. Lawson teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence law and has conducted extensive research on Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law as well as self-defense laws nationally. She has also made multiple media appearances on these issues. Lawson serves as the reporter on the ABA’s National Task Force for Stand Your Ground Laws, and has written an article and a book chapter on the Trayvon Martin case. Her article, “A Fresh Cut in an Old Wound-A Critical Analysis of the Trayvon Martin Killing: The Public Outcry, The Prosecutors’ Discretion, and The Stand Your Ground Law,” was published in the University of Florida Journal of Law and Public Policy and is available for free download. Her book chapter, “The Res Gestae of Race: The Implications of Erasing Race,” will appear in the forthcoming book: Trayvon Martin, Race, and “American Justice.”