Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Could Maryland be the next state to have a controversial “stand your ground” law? A state delegate is proposing just that.
Rochelle Ritchie has the arguments for and against it.
Delegate Pat McDonough says he expects to be demonized for that proposal. He also says he expects what he calls the “race card” to be used as a fear tactic.
As the crime rate continues to spike across Baltimore City, Delegate Pat McDonough says it’s time to reverse state laws he says do not protect innocent people.
“This is really a debate about pro-criminal legislation, which I think ‘duty to retreat’ is pro-criminal. Or, pro-crime victim legislation, which I think ‘stand your ground is,’” McDonough said.
McDonough hopes to replace Maryland’s “duty to retreat” law with “stand your ground” in the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly. “Duty to retreat” requires a person to first try to get away before using force.
McDonough argues “stand your ground” is needed because of continuous early release of violent criminals, lenient sentencing and the problem of roving youth mobs in safe neighborhoods.
“I’m trying to give more power and authority to crime victims,” said McDonough.
“Stand your ground” continues to be a hot discussion across the nation after George Zimmerman was acquitted for murder in the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin–shot and killed by Zimmerman.
While the case was argued based on self-defense, not Florida’s “stand your ground” law, many worry having it in Maryland is asking for trouble.
“I think the one thing we learned from the Zimmerman case is the interpretation of the law can be different at different times for different people,” said William Buie.
Criminal defense attorney William Buie argues “stand your ground” puts more people at risk.
“When you start to encourage private citizens to use self help, I think you’re actually encouraging more crime of its own, even though it’s a different type of crime,” said Buie.
McDonough says he knows getting such a law passed will be an uphill battle. It’s one he is willing to fight.
“What I’m advocating protects communities and protects individuals,” McDonough said.
Right now, about a dozen states have Maryland’s “duty to retreat” law, while almost double have “stand your ground.”
McDonough plans to introduce “stand your ground” in next year’s General Assembly.