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Trayvon Martin's mother: Repeal stand-ground law

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- The mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin joined a prominent organization of African-American lawyers Monday in vowing to keep the pressure on legislators to repeal or overhaul "stand your ground" self-defense laws.

Sybrina Fulton repeated her assertion that George Zimmerman "got away with murder" in the 2012 killing of her son largely because of Florida's self-defense law, which generally removes a person's duty to retreat if possible in the face of danger.

It was the first of its kind in the nation when passed in 2005. Now, about two dozen states have similar laws, but the focus of repeal efforts is squarely on Florida.

"We have to change the law so that this doesn't happen to someone else's child," Fulton told reporters at the National Bar Association's annual meeting. "My son wasn't doing anything wrong. He was simply walking home. He wasn't a suspect."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has rejected calls for a special legislative session on "stand your ground" from protesters who have been occupying part of the Capitol in Tallahassee since Zimmerman was acquitted earlier this month by a jury in Sanford.

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz said there is little agreement on whether change is needed to the "stand your ground" law and that voters have a chance in the 2014 elections to make their views known.

Part of the message of yesterday's event was just that: urging people to register to vote and contribute to sympathetic politicians if they want such laws repealed. The organization's president, John Page, also said the legal system needs to do more to ensure that racially balanced juries are chosen.

"We need to raise our voices together and say, 'Enough,' " Page said. "This should be the first state where 'stand your ground' falls. And it will fall."

Although he was not part of the event, the Rev. Jesse Jackson appeared as a spectator and told reporters later that the "stand your ground" law reminded him of past laws that prevented blacks from sitting at the front of buses.

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