_ Creates National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws

Public hearing scheduled during ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas

CHICAGO, Jan. 31, 2013 — The _ has created the National Task Force on Stand Your Ground laws to analyze the impact of the state statutes that have dramatically expanded the bounds of self-defense laws in more than half the jurisdictions in the United States.

The task force will undertake a comprehensive legal study, incorporating multidisciplinary criminological and social science perspectives and methodology, to assess the utility of Stand Your Ground laws and their impact on the criminal justice system as well as individual liberties.

The task force is comprised of members drawn from ABA entities, law enforcement, government, state prosecutors’ offices, public and private criminal practice, academia and other legal arenas.  Leigh-Ann Buchanan of Miami and Jack Middleton of Manchester, N.H., are serving as co-chairpersons of the task force.

The first of four regional hearings concerning Stand Your Ground laws will be conducted during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Dallas on Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Hilton Anatole, Morocco Room.

A diverse group of leaders from bar associations, the judiciary, legislative bodies, as well as others from community, religious, social justice, civil rights, academic and governmental organizations, have been invited to give testimony at this open forum.  Testimony may be given in person or in writing.

Those who wish to testify may contact Rachel Patrick, staff director, ABA Coalition on Racial & Ethnic Justice, at 312-988-5408 or via email at .

Leading the task force is the Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice. Other partners are the Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, which includes the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and the Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, as well as the Young Lawyers Division and the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.