Society

'Stand Your Ground' Overwhelmingly Favors Not Guilty Verdicts for White-on-Black Shootings

| by Dabney Bailey
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Supporters of Trayvon Martin have argued that the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman was affected by racial issues. According to a recent study, they might be correct.

John Roman and Mitchell Downey of MetroTrends analyzed 4,650 FBI records of homicides in which one person used a gun to kill a complete stranger. They found that states with Stand Your Ground laws make it much easier for shooters to get away with the shooting. Juries in states without Stand Your Ground laws found that 7.2 percent of shootings were justifiable, compared to 13.6 percent in states with SYG laws.

But the presence or absence of SYG laws is not the only factor. Race can apparently have a major impact on the verdict.

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Black people who shoot white strangers have the lowest chance of being found not guilty, while white people who shoot black strangers enjoy the highest chance of a not-guilty verdict. It is worth noting that white people who shoot black strangers have the highest chance of getting away with it regardless of the state’s self-defense laws. The presence of Stand Your Ground laws tip the odds even more in favor of white shooters. SYG has a slight impact on black-on-black crime, and it has almost no impact whatsoever on black-on-white crime.

This data is disturbing, but it is important to point out that correlation does not necessitate causation. It certainly seems that race affects juries' decisions, but there could be other factors at play. For example, there continues to be a wage gap between white and black workers. It could be the case that white people are able to afford better lawyers, so they earn more not guilty verdicts. It is difficult to determine the cause of these statistics without a more comprehensive study.    

Do you think that the Zimmerman trial truly was affected by race? What are your thoughts about the chart? 

Source: MetroTrends