One aspect of the Trayvon Martin shooting that has gotten a lot of attention is the assumption that George Zimmerman was protected from investigation because of Florida's "Castle Doctrine". The law gives broad protections for the use of force in self-defense of a person's property.
Rep. Dennis Baxley was the author of Florida's law, and has written an op-ed for Fox News where he makes clear that Zimmerman is not protected under Florida's law because Zimmerman does not appear to have engaged in an act of self-defense:
During the debate concerning this incident, some have brought into question the "Stand Your Ground" law, more commonly referred to as the "castle doctrine," which has been used by the attacker to pardon his actions.
As the prime sponsor of this legislation in the Florida House, I'd like to clarify that this law does not seem to be applicable to the tragedy that happened in Sanford. There is nothing in the castle doctrine as found in Florida statutes that authenticates or provides for the opportunity to pursue and confront individuals, it simply protects those who would be potential victims by allowing for force to be used in self-defense.
Mr. Zimmerman's unnecessary pursuit and confrontation of Trayvon Martin elevated the prospect of a violent episode and does not seem to be an act of self-defense as defined by the castle doctrine. There is no protection in the "Stand Your Ground" law for anyone who pursues and confronts people.
I have great sympathy for the family of Trayvon Martin and am grateful that things are finally moving in the right direction to further explore what actually happened on that night in Sanford, Florida. Awaiting the convening of the grand jury, I trust that justice will be served and healing will begin for all of those affected.