The last legal proceeding to get the moniker came only a year ago.
The Casey Anthony case played to a worldwide stage.
Zimmerman will do so as well.
The term "media circus" already is being bandied about. It's enough to give Florida a bad name.
Or is it?
National newscasts on this past week's arrest of Zimmerman often mentioned the openness of the Florida court system in describing what will likely happen next and what the public – via video cameras – will see in the days, weeks and months to come.
Compared to many other states, the public will see a lot.
Florida is the most open state in the nation when it comes to government in the sunshine, though we as a newspaper frequently complain that the three branches of state government reach for the sun block far too often.
When a verdict is rendered in the Zimmerman case the public will have a front row seat. And, that's how it should be. The crime Zimmerman is accused of committing has a victim – Trayvon Martin – but the case itself is being brought on behalf of the public. Legally it's the People of Florida vs. George Zimmerman.
Both sides deserve a trial in full sunlight.
Florida will provide that as well as any venue in the world. And that's a good thing.
* * *
There's anticipation that Florida's "stand your ground" law will be on trial along with Zimmerman.
The Associated Press, which establishes word-usage guidelines employed for consistency's sake by most newspapers in the nation, has changed its recommended style, so you will see the change in the Daily News as well.
It used to be Stand Your Ground Law with the first letter of each word capitalized. As of March 23, AP style was changed to use all lower case and in quotes, like this: "stand your ground" law.
The reason is simple. There is no Stand Your Ground Law in Florida.
Oh, there's a law that will likely be used by Zimmerman's legal team in fighting the charges much as it was used in last year's case involving two teenagers involved in a stabbing death during a fight at a school bus stop. But, it was never officially called Stand Your Ground Law so it should not be capitalized as an official title.
The law referred to is Chapter 776 of the Florida Statutes and it's listed under the heading "Justifiable Use of Force."
It doesn't take up much space in relation to the space it has been taking up in news reports, editorials and other commentaries in the press.
Here it is:
"Use of force in defense of person — A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
"(1) He or she reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
"(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to 776.013."
State Statute 776.013 is a bit lengthy and talks about home protection, fear of death and great bodily harm. Here's the passage that mentions "standing ground:"
"A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."
A rose is a rose is a rose.
(Phil Lewis is executive editor of the Naples Daily News. His email address is email@example.com)