La. laws similar to Florida's in Trayvon Martin controversy

Stand Your Ground Law

One of the main laws causing controversy in Florida is the 'Stand Your Ground' law. Here in Louisiana, there is a similar law.

According to Lake Charles defense attorney Todd Clemons, the 'Stand Your Ground' law here in Louisiana is very close to the one in Florida.

In Louisiana the law allows the use of force in a public place, but only to a certain extent.

If someone is trying to enter your home or car you have the right to use force against them, but if you're approached in a public place, the force you're allowed to use is different.

"When you're confronting someone in a public place, where they have a right to be and you have a right to be, you can't use an unreasonable amount of force," said defense attorney Todd S. Clemons.

The killing of Trayvon Martin sparked a nationwide controversy after police did not arrest his shooter George Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed self defense, and under Florida's 'Stand Your Ground,' that defense may be worthy. A similar law exists in Louisiana, but what exactly does it mean?

"If you are in a public place or place where you have the lawful right to be and someone confronts you and they're the aggressor, you have no legal obligation to retreat," said Clemons.

The law also states that force can in fact be used, but with restraint.

"You can use force, but it has to be a reasonable amount of force based on all of the circumstances," said Clemons.

Justifiable homicide must also be considered. That includes killing someone when it's necessary to save yourself, to prevent something from happening that endangers life, to stop someone from using unlawful force in a home, business or motor vehicle or when someone is making an unlawful entry. But Clemons says to use deadly force as an absolute last resort.

"More often than not you will be thoroughly investigated and if you kill someone in a public place where they're not entering your car or entering your home, I certainly think you're going to be arrested," said Clemons.

Clemons said if an incident like the one between Martin and Zimmerman happened in Calcasieu Parish, the shooter would be arrested.

Whether or not he would be convicted of any type of murder would obviously be up to the judicial system.

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