The task force was convened by the ABA’s Coalition on Ethnic and Racial Justice to review, analyze and assess “Stand Your Ground” laws, which exist, to some degree, in more than half of jurisdictions in the United States. In addition, the task force has been charged with examining the potential effects these laws may have on public safety, individual liberties and the criminal justice system.
Beginning in February, the task force held regional public hearings across the country. Thursday’s hearing will be the fifth and final regional hearing. Others were held in Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Local and regional expert witnesses and stakeholders, including law enforcement, prosecutors, public and private criminal defense attorneys and legal academics, have been invited to testify at HistoryMiami, 101C West Flagler St., Miami. Testimony may be given in person or in writing.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Dwight Bullard, Florida state senator
- David Simmons, Florida state senator
- Edward Shohat, vice chair of the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board
- Chris Davis, Tampa Bay Times’ investigations editor who led an analysis of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” case law
- Ciara Taylor, political director for the Dream Defenders
- Guy Robinson, chief assistant public defender, Miami Dade Public Defender's office
- Also scheduled to speak are representatives from the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association and the National Congress of Black Women.
Those who wish to testify may contact Rachel Patrick, staff director for the ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice, at 312-988-5408 or via email at Rachel.Patrick@americanbar.org.
The task force is made up of members from ABA entities, law enforcement, government, state prosecutors’ offices, public and private criminal practice, academia and other legal arenas. Leigh-Ann Buchanan of Miami and Jack Middleton of Manchester, N.H., serve as co-chairs of the task force.
The ABA National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws is hailed as the prevailing independent leader on the legal analysis and social critique of the impact of state “Stand Your Ground” laws. The task force is uniquely qualified to analyze the impact of “Stand Your Ground” laws and the resulting effects of the expansion of justified use of deadly force on the criminal justice system and individual liberties, particularly those of systemically vulnerable constituencies.
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