The Orlando Sentinel asked me to analyze how Florida’s Stand Your Ground law affects the Trayvon Martin shooting case. I conclude that in most likely scenarios, the law will make no difference one way or the other on George Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence, though it does help him on some points of procedure. Jacob Sullum has related thoughts at Reason (more at Cato).
The other piece in the point-counterpoint is from Florida prosecutor Buddy Rogers who emphasizes that claims of justifiable homicide have risen sharply (from 12 to 33 a year), even if homicides per capita themselves have not. I took a look at the crime numbers in this Cato post.
To answer a question, it was the Sentinel editors who elected to describe the antagonists in the Sanford confrontation by way of a given name for one (“Trayvon”) but a surname for the other (“Zimmerman”). My own inclination is to use a surname for both.
P.S. David Kopel similarly argues that Zimmerman’s guilt or innocence (depending on which version of events is accepted) is no different in Florida from what it would be under the law of New York or any other state; he also defends the rationale for Florida’s use of an immunity, which he argues “does not change the law, but… apparently is effective at reminding law enforcement officers of the standard they are required to obey” under court precedents forbidding arrest without probable cause.