An amendment to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law under Bill 128 in June was recently deemed unconstitutional by Judge Milton Hirsch. Hirsch made the decision on the grounds that the amendment was procedural in nature, and changes that relate to the procedure can be made only by the Florida Supreme Court.
About “Stand Your Ground”
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted in 2005, allowing carriers of legally purchased firearms to use deadly force as a method of self-defense. Many states require gun owners to retreat to safety if possible, even when in their own homes or vehicles. However, states that have a “Stand Your Ground” law in place do not impose this requirement.
Signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 9, the now null bill required the prosecution to demonstrate “clear and convincing evidence” that a gun owner who used deadly force did not do so in self-defense. This amendment shifted the burden from the defendant to the prosecution for pre-trial proceedings. With its revocation, it will again be the defense’s responsibility to prove that it is more likely than not that the accused was acting in self-defense. Though not quite as high of a standard as the clear-and-convincing evidence and beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standards, demonstrating this still requires a strategic defense lead by an experienced legal professional.
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