Pre-Law Academy students at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School recently had the opportunity of attending a panel discussion about Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law. The Forum Club of the Palm Beaches took the lead in organizing and hosting a rational, balanced panel discussion on the argumentative topic. The event took place Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Palm Beach Lakes Community High School Pre-Law students were guests of sponsor Judge Edward Rodgers and Carolyn Williams, widow of the late Gerald Williams for whom the Law Academy is named, the law students listened as all sides of the law were debated by the seven esteemed panelists:
David Simmons (State Senator and author of Florida’s 2005 Stand Your Ground law);
Chris Smith (State Senator and Democratic party leader in the Florida Senate—highest ranking black elected official in Florida);
Krista Marx (Palm Beach County Circuit Court judge—served on the Governor’s special task force which reviewed and reported on the law);
Dave Kerner (State Representative and former police officer appointed to a fall House of Representatives review committee on Stand Your Ground);
William Snyder (Martin County Sheriff and former State Legislator);
Dave Aronberg (Palm Beach County State Attorney and former State Senator);
Patrick Franklin (President and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County).
Immediately following the panel discussion a Q & A session was held at the Convention Center. Senator Chris Smith surprised the students by stopping by Palm Beach Lakes High and toured the school’s one-of-a-kind courtroom and engaged the Law Academy students in a personal rap session on Stand Your Ground and other law-related topics. The Senator’s visit allowed those students who were unable to attend the Forum Club event the opportunity to participate in the important and timely conversation on self-defense in Florida. Senator Smith plans to return to Palm Beach Lakes High in May for Law Week 2014. The attached list contains information about 3 of the panelists involved in the “Stand your Ground” discussion panel.
REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office) Sept. 2013
Florida Sen. Chris Smith: Remove Stand Your Ground law’s “Last Man Standing” loophole
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A state senator has filed legislation to change Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law and eliminate what he calls “The Last Man Standing” loophole.
Sen. Chris Smith said too often, gang members, angry neighbors and other deadly aggressors have avoided prosecution by using the Stand Your Ground provision. He said criminals can start a confrontation and then the last person standing offers the only version of events.
So Smith has filed a bill that would prevent people from using deadly force if they chased someone down or left a safe place. All who used deadly force would have to prove that they had taken reasonable steps to avoid killing someone.
Smith argues Stand Your Ground had a long and troubled track record in Florida before the death of Trayvon Martin and acquittal of George Zimmerman. He said it’s time to stop giving deadly aggressors a free pass from prosecution.
The Florida Legislature returns to Tallahassee this fall to start considering legislation.
(Written by Dave Heller)
Sheriff William Snyder
The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is a full service law enforcement agency serving the citizens of Martin County, Florida.
On January 8, 2013, Sheriff William D. Snyder was sworn into office, becoming Martin County’s 8th Sheriff. Sheriff Snyder is an independently elected constitutional officer, who is statutorilay charged with the responsibility of providing all primary law enforcement services within Martin County. The agency also provides related law enforcement services to the entire county, including: civil and criminal process, assistance to municipal agencies, crime prevention and education programs, victim assistance services, and providing school crossing guards for the Martin County School District. The Sheriff is also responsible for the administration and every day operation of the Martin County Jail.
Our mission is to serve and safeguard all persons in Martin County and ensure the quality of life for all through the effective and efficient delivery of law enforcement, detention and court services. We are sensitive to the authority entrusted to us, and ensure that it is exercised in a manner consistent with our responsibility to protect the public with fairness and equality. We strive to provide optimum services by maximizing our resources in a cost-effective manner.
We are driven by both a professional and personal commitment to provide the community with the highest level of services, responding to its ever changing needs. Justice, loyalty, dedication and integrity, both to the Office of the Sheriff, and the public we serve, are the hallmarks of our effort.
Dave Aronberg was elected State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit in November 2012. He is a former assistant attorney general, White House Fellow and Florida Senator.
Aronberg was born in Miami. He attended public schools before going on to graduate with honors from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. After graduation, he worked in the litigation department of a large South Florida law firm while also working closely with then-Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson to investigate European insurance companies that refused to honor World War II-era policies sold to victims of the Holocaust.
In 1999, Aronberg became a Florida Assistant Attorney General for economic crimes, leading one of the country’s first investigations of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the prescription drug Oxycontin, for its marketing practices. He also headed the State’s lawsuit against “Miss Cleo,” the “Jamaican Shango Shaman Psychic” who had become an international celebrity among late-night television viewers. Former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth called Aronberg’s effort to protect consumers from fraud “relentless.”
In 2000, Aronberg was selected to be one of 15 White House Fellows from across the country. In this non-partisan position, he served in two presidential administrations as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury Department for international money laundering, including the laundering of terrorist assets.
Dave Aronberg was elected to the State Senate in 2002 as its youngest member and served until 2010. Focusing on criminal justice and consumer protection issues, Aronberg passed major identity theft and port security legislation and received national attention for his work to close loopholes in our sex offender laws.
In 2010, Aronberg returned to the Florida Attorney General’s Office as a Special Prosecutor for Prescription Drug Trafficking. In his role as the Attorney General’s “Drug Czar,” Aronberg led AG Pam Bondi’s anti-pill mill initiative that helped clean up the pain clinic industry and reduced the record number of people dying each day from oxycodone abuse.
Elected in a three-way race with 58% of the vote, Dave Aronberg was sworn in as Palm Beach County’s ninth State Attorney on January 8, 2013.