The jury reached its verdict after having been asked to consider Mr. Zimmerman’s actions in light of Florida’s now-notorious Stand Your Ground statute. Under that law, versions of which are on the books in two dozen states, a person may use deadly force if he or she “reasonably believes” it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm — a low bar that the prosecutors in this case fought in vain to overcome.First, the jury was never asked to consider Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Stand Your Ground was never an element in the trial, and the defense conspicuously waived a Stand Your Ground hearing before the trial. Stand Your Ground modifies or removes the duty to retreat, and it is not relevant when, like George Zimmerman, you are lying on the concrete with a 17 year old thug-in-training* pounding your head into it. Unless, that is, an ability to melt into the concrete is one of your super-powers.
The New York Times hates Florida's Stand Your Ground law. That is not an excuse for lying about it.
Second, what they cite is not Stand Your Ground, but the ordinary standard of self-defense -- a reasonable belief you are in danger of death or grievous body harm (and how can one believe oneself in danger of GBH and not of death?) -- used, with some variation, in all 50 states, including New York.
* more fun with this later on.
(7/16/2013) Jacob Sullum has made the same point in far greater detail here. People have made the argument 'stand your ground' was covered in the jury instructions. This is because the Florida Supreme Court has a standard boilerplate set of jury instructions for justifiable use of deadly force.