It is impossible to know whether a jury would have found George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and acquitted him of a charge of murder had the incident occurred in New York. Each state legislature has the freedom to enact its own laws, and there is little uniformity across the nation when it comes to defining self-defense.
What everyone can agree on, however, is that a periodic review of whether the laws reflect the community’s view on this issue is appropriate. That review necessarily starts with an understanding of the current law in one’s home state, and it is hoped that this commentary may provide some small measure of guidance in that regard.
OTSEGO COUNTY JUDGE BRIAN D. BURNS is an Acting Supreme Court Justice and a Cooperstown resident.