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Shoot? Ohio's self-defense laws vs. Florida's laws

6:55 PM, Mar 21, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- When is a person allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves? It's different from state to state. Florida, where a teen was killed in a controversial shooting, has a different law than Ohio.

The killing of Trayvon Martin, 17, in Florida, by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, has revived a discussion of Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground" law.

The statute, which has been adopted by about 20 other states, allows private citizens to use deadly force against someone else if they fear for their life.

"If you believe that you are in danger, imminent danger of harm, great bodily harm, or death, you're allowed to use deadly force," says criminal defense attorney Brian A. Murray, of the Cleveland law firm Zukerman, Daiker, and Lear.

The Florida law allows the use of such deadly force in just about any public place says Murray, not just in one's home or car.

Ohio and about 30 other states have a "Castle Law," or "Castle Doctrine," which allows the use of deadly force only inside a home or car, and only if the person feels their life is in danger or they are in danger of grave bodily harm.

Some Florida legislators said they intended to revisit their Stand Your Ground law in light of the incident involving Zimmerman, who was merely questioned and released after shooting Martin.


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