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少年之死:拒不退讓法 佛州議員促修改

立報/本報訊 2013.07.24 00:00
策劃、編譯■劉耘、實習編譯王予彤

美國佛州陪審團13日判齊默曼無罪釋放,

引發美國社會對於種族貌相和《拒不退讓法》的激辯;

究竟陪審團判決根據為何、現行法律何處不妥?

此外,電視直播審判過程是否真能讓使民眾更了解案情,也引起爭論。

美國佛州議會民主黨幹部們18日表示,佛羅里達州要不就是廢除自衛法《拒不退讓法》,要不就是大舉改革,以避免發生更多類似悲劇,使崔馮馬丁這樣身上毫無攜帶武器的非裔少年遭槍殺身亡。

佛州塞米諾爾郡的陪審團13日宣判,被控犯下二級謀殺罪和過失殺人罪的喬治齊默曼無罪釋放,其中一位陪審員就援引了《拒不退讓法》作為她最終判定齊默曼合法的依據,認為白膚色西班牙裔的齊默曼如此反應是出於自衛。

眾人解讀分歧

佛州參議院議員、民主黨參院領袖史密斯說,陪審團對齊默曼的裁決,顯示出眾人在解讀這條2005年所制定的法律時,看法分歧。

「事實上,這個法案鼓勵民眾在某些情境下射殺他人,而這不該是我們生活在一個文明社會中該發生的事。」史密斯在一個新聞記者會中說道:「這種先開槍再說的想法已經滲透佛羅里達州,而我們不該容許文明社會出現這樣的想法。」

佛州參議員及民主黨領袖瑟斯頓和史密斯合作,一同要求由共和黨主導的佛州議會召開特別會議,徹底修改或廢除《拒不退讓法》。

他們警告,除非佛州議員的動作加快,否則各種聯手抵制州議會的呼聲,像是摩城傳奇歌手史蒂夫汪德提議的杯葛行動,很有可能累積成為一部份反對勢力。許多民權團體也紛紛呼籲改革法令。

不過,由於佛州議會正值休會期,共和黨籍的佛州州長史考特必須召開特別立法會議。

在佛州首都塔拉哈西,幾十位年輕抗議者已自16日起占據史考特的辦公室一角,要求他下令國會議員來到工作崗位,以廢除或修改這條法令。

史考特說,他已於18日晚上首度與這些靜坐抗議者的幾位領導者會面,但他也表明,他沒有召開特別會議的計畫。不過這位州長也強調,這些抗議者「有權和國會議員分享他們的看法,讓議員知道他們對這條法令的意見」。

在塔拉哈西過去幾個立法會議中,史密斯和其他議員曾試圖修改《拒不退讓法》,但因無法召開委員聽證會而失敗。

擬訴諸投票案

馬丁遭槍殺後,史考特指派專案小組檢查這項法令。專案小組在佛州舉辦7場聽證會後,不顧各界呼籲廢止或修法聲浪,宣布繼續實施這項法令。史考特在聲明稿中說:「今晚,這些抗議者再度要求我召開特別會議以廢止佛州的《拒不退讓法》。我告訴他們,我同意專案小組在市民安全專案的看法,而這也符合法律規範。」

史密斯和瑟斯頓表示,若議員無法修改法令,他們很可能會採取投票案的方式修法。他們信心滿滿的說,公眾對於這次判決的憤怒將能累積足夠份量的民眾連署,將這個提案搬上投票桌。

根據法庭給予評審團的指示,齊默曼若合理的擔憂他的生命安危或害怕遭受重傷,他「沒有義務退讓,並有權堅守陣地,以武力對抗武力」。

史密斯說,雖然齊默曼的律師團並未特別援引《拒不退讓法》作為辯護,但這份給予陪審團的指示是直接延伸自這條法律,為齊默曼的無罪判決鋪路。

布勞沃德郡檢察長薩茲也參與了史密斯和瑟斯頓的新聞記者會。薩茲曾說,他和其他幾位執法人員支持緊急廢止《拒不退讓法》的呼聲。

薩茲說:「我認為這條法令中說你沒有義務撤退是錯誤的。我認為生命很珍貴,而在你行動(動用致命武器)之前,你應該盡你所能的避免動用武器,並且盡其所能的退讓。」

「在有任何法令規定,你在使用致命武器前有退讓的義務之前,」他補充說道:「我不認為你需要《拒不退讓法》。」

佛州這條法令於共和黨前任州長傑布布希任內時通過。過去7年間,許多州在全國步槍協會(NRA)的大力支持下,相繼仿效佛州實施這項法令。(路透)

■紐約民眾群聚抗議齊默曼無罪,抗議民眾將糖果及汽水放在粉筆輪廓旁,象徵手無寸鐵的非裔少年馬丁;糖果及汽水是馬丁被射殺前所買的東西,粉筆輪廓內寫著「誰是下一個?」,輪廓外則寫著「我們都是崔馮馬丁」,圖攝於2013年7月14日。(圖/路透)

Florida must either repeal its "Stand Your Ground" self-defense law or enact sweeping changes to avert more tragedies like the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, Democratic leaders of the state's legislature said on Thursday.

A Seminole County jury on Saturday acquitted (1) George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter, with one juror citing Stand Your Ground as a factor in reaching her legal conclusion that Zimmerman, who is white and Hispanic, acted in self-defense.

The Zimmerman verdict demonstrated the ramifications (2) of the 2005 law, Florida Senate Democratic leader Chris Smith said.

"This bill actually encourages people to shoot their way out of situations and that's not how we live in a civilized society," Smith told a news conference. "It's a mentality that has permeated the state of Florida. It's a mentality of shoot first, and we should not have that in a civilized society."

Smith was joined by Florida House Democratic leader Perry Thurston. Both called for a special session of the state's Republican-dominated legislature to overhaul (3) the law or consider doing away with it.

Unless Florida lawmakers act quickly, calls for a boycott of the state like the one voiced by Motown legend Stevie Wonder are likely to grow as part of a mounting backlash (4), they warned. Civil rights groups also are calling for changes in the law.

With the state legislature in recess, Republican Governor Rick Scott would need to convene a special legislative session.

Dozens of young demonstrators have been occupying part of Scott's office in the Florida capital, Tallahassee, since Tuesday to press demands that he order the state's lawmakers back to work to toss out or modify the law.

Scott said he met with leaders of the sit-in demonstration for the first time on Thursday night, but he indicated he had no plans to call a special session.

The governor stressed, however, that the demonstrators had a "right to share their views with their state legislators and let them know their opinions on the law."

Smith and other lawmakers tried to get the Stand Your Ground law changed in the past legislative session in Tallahassee but failed to get a committee hearing on the issue.

After the Martin shooting, Scott appointed a task force to examine the statute (5). The task force held seven hearings around the state before recommending to keep the law despite many calls for it to be repealed or amended.

"Tonight, the protesters again asked that I call a special session of the legislature to repeal Florida's Stand Your Ground law. I told them that I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety, which concurred with the law," Scott said in a statement.

Smith and Thurston said a ballot initiative was likely if the legislature failed to change the law, voicing confidence that public outrage over the verdict would help generate enough signatures to place the matter on the ballot.

According to the instructions given to the jury, Zimmerman had "no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force" if he reasonably feared for his life or great bodily harm.

Though the Stand Your Ground law was not specifically cited as part of the defense mounted by Zimmerman's lawyers, Smith said the jury instructions that helped pave the way for his acquittal came directly from the statute.

Smith and Thurston were joined at their news conference by Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz, who said he and other law enforcement officials supported calls for an urgent overhaul of the Stand Your Ground law.

"I think putting in the statute that you do not have the duty to retreat is a mistake. I think life is precious and before you do that you should do everything in your power not to do that and to retreat if you possibly can," Satz said.

"Before there was a common law duty that you had to retreat before you used deadly force," he added. "I just don't think you need the Stand Your Ground statute."

The Florida statute was adopted under former Republican Governor Jeb Bush. Many other states, acting with broad support from the National Rifle Association, have followed Florida's lead over the last seven years.(Reuters)

關鍵字詞

1.acquit(v.)無罪釋放

2.ramification(n.)分支

3.overhaul(v.)全面檢修

4.backlash(n.)強烈反對

5.statute(n.)法令

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