A measure to extend Nebraska’s Castle Doctrine to civil cases leads to a debate on how state self-defense statutes differ from Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
State lawmakers have advanced LB 804, a bill that would allow someone to use the same claims of self-defense now available in a criminal case as a defense in a civil lawsuit.
Supporters quickly made a distinction between Nebraska and Florida self-defense statutes, during legislative flood debate. Nebraska law requires a person faced with a dangerous situation to attempt an escape it before resorting to deadly force. Florida, as well as 11 other states, has adopted the Stand Your Ground law which requires no obligation to retreat.
The law is now firmly in the national spotlight in light of George Zimmerman using it as a defense in his deadly shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha noted during legislative debate that attempts have been made in Nebraska to remove the retreat requirement from state self-defense statutes.
“Had that succeeded, situations similar to the situation presented by the Trayvon Martin tragedy could occur had that kind of amendment of our justification for use of deadly force been changed,” according to Martin.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Legislative debate on LB 804 [25 min.]