Wilson watching Fla. case


S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson said he is watching how Florida’s courts handle the case against George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer whose fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin stirred a national debate over racial profiling and gun laws.

Wilson was asked about the Feb. 26 incident Tuesday during his luncheon appearance before the Charleston Rotary Club.

He acknowledged that his answer dodged the question.

“Nothing has landed on my desk at this time,” he said. “I don’t want to wade into hot, deep water until something lands in my lap, so would you be OK if I juke and jive a little bit?”

The Sanford, Fla., incident has highlighted Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives more leeway for people to use lethal force to defend themselves outside their home. South Carolina is one of about two dozen states with a similar law.

After the meeting, Wilson said he thinks it is important to watch what the courts do rather than what’s being said in the court of public opinion.

“It has ignited a lot of emotion into an issue that is important to a lot of people,” he added.

Zimmerman, who has said he killed 17-year-old Martin in self-defense, was charged with second-degree murder six weeks after the shooting. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.

Wilson spent most of his time discussing his office’s other high-profile cases, including its recent prosecution of former Lt. Gov. Ken Ard and its ongoing lawsuits over the Affordable Health Care Act and the state’s voter ID and immigration laws.

Wilson said he was “very cognizant” of the costs the state’s taxpayers are incurring to fight for its immigration and voter ID laws, and against the Affordable Healthcare for America Act.

He noted that he is traveling to Washington to hear today’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding Arizona’s immigration law.

He said the state has stalled on its handling of the immigration lawsuit to see what comes of the Arizona case.

Wilson said he tries to take politics out of everything his office does, including its recent work taking an ethics case against Ard before the state grand jury. Ard later resigned and pleaded guilty to seven ethics violations.