Attorney: KY and IN laws would lead to similar outcome in Zimmer - News, Weather & Sports

Attorney: KY and IN laws would lead to similar outcome in Zimmerman trial

Bart Adams Bart Adams
George Zimmerman hearing the jury's verdict on July 13, 2013. George Zimmerman hearing the jury's verdict on July 13, 2013.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Both Kentucky and Indiana have self-defense laws and in many ways they're similar to the law in Florida, where the high-profile murder trial of George Zimmerman just wrapped up in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Zimmerman said he shot the teenager in self-defense and was cleared of state criminal charges. Bart Adams, a Kentucky defense attorney, has argued plenty of cases with clients claiming they were acting in self-defense.

"I would much rather have a self-protection case than some of the cases I get because with self-protection at least you have a legitimate argument to make in front of a jury," Adams he said.

Adams was the defense attorney on a 2010 case here in Kentucky that ignited passions in much the same way the Trayvon Martin case did. You might remember it: the shooting death of former Louisville football player Daniel Covington by former baseball player Isaiah Howes.

Early on the morning of September 16, 2010, Howes shot Covington in downtown Louisville after Howes and his brother said Covington came through the front window of their SUV and began throwing punches. The case barely made it into a courtroom because of Kentucky's self-defense laws. It was thrown out before it was presented to a grand jury. Adams says not all cases are that clear cut.

"It's a great gamble as to what the jury may believe as to what the punishment could be," said Adams.

That's because in Kentucky, jurors not only have to decide if self-defense applies, but also if you were wanton or reckless in how you protected yourself. Even so, Adams thinks if the George Zimmerman murder trial happened here, the outcome would have been the same.

"That's the key," said Adams, "the government could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't entitled to it so therefore he's got to be acquitted. What actually happened and what morally happened we don't know and we'll never know."

In Indiana, the law is similar to Kentucky's. You're entitled to protect yourself in your house in both states, and you can assume anyone who breaks in is a threat. Laws in both states also say you don't have a duty to retreat.

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