Florida bill would place burden on prosecution during ‘stand your ground’ hearings

A Florida state senator wants to change the way “stand your ground” court hearings work.

Florida’s “stand your ground statute” says police can’t arrest someone who claims to have feared for his or her life or that of others unless an investigation finds the use of force was illegal. But, since a 2015 Supreme Court of Florida ruling, courts have required a hearing in which a defendant has the burden to prove force was necessary.

State Senator Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, thinks that’s upside down. “Most Floridians understand intuitively that the government has the burden of proof throughout a prosecution. So what this bill does is to insure that the government has the burden of proof, not just at trial but the immunity hearing as well,” Bradley said.

The move is opposed by prosecutors.

Meanwhile, State Senator Gary Farmer, D-Broward County, would like to see “stand your ground” go away completely. “This sort of cowboy mentality of shoot first and claim it was justified later, I don’t think that’s the best policy for our state,” Farmer said.

 

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