Judge Rules That Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law Revisions Are Unconstitutional

Reported by Reuters

“A Florida state court judge ruled on Monday that recent changes to the state’s “stand your ground” law are unconstitutional, finding that legislators overstepped when making it easier for defendants to argue self-defense to obtain immunity for violent acts.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Milton Hirsch said courts, not lawmakers, should set the process by which defendants can claim they were protecting themselves with an act of violence, according to the ruling posted online by the Miami Herald.

The revision shifted the burden of proof during pretrial hearings to prosecutors, rather than defendants, to show whether force was used lawfully. Supporters saw the changes backed by the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, as bolstering civilians’ rights to protect themselves.

Monday’s ruling in Miami circuit court is not binding on other state trial courts, the Miami Herald reported.

Advocates predicted the ruling would be reversed on appeal.

“It is the role of the legislature to write the laws that govern how Floridians may exercise their statutory and constitutional rights,” Richard Corcoran, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, said in a statement. “The Florida House will continue to stand with ordinary citizens who exercise their right to self-defense.”

Florida’s “stand your ground” law, passed in 2005, received wide scrutiny and inspired similar laws in other states. It removed the legal responsibility to retreat from a dangerous situation and allowed the use of deadly force when a person felt greatly threatened.

This spring’s changes were adopted over outcry that gun owners could be emboldened to shoot first.

Critics cited the 2012 death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the Orlando area, which spurred national protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. The neighborhood watchman who killed him, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder after the law was included in jury instructions. ”

There were debates on whether George Zimmerman claimed stand your ground during his trial.  As Reuters correctly reports, Judge Nelson included stand your ground jury instructions in those given to the jury to decide Zimmerman’s fate.

 

 

Posted on 07/03/2017, in Conceal Carry & SYG, Justice For Trayvon, Trayvon Martin and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. Perhaps the judge should issue a verdict instead of the jury if cases are not being treated equally. ie Whites who claim Stand Your Ground go free but blacks don’t. Actually, whether Stand Your Ground exists or not , I don’t see the verdicts being any different in certain parts of the U.S. It’s sad when prejudice is so obvious yet so accepted.
    Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    • David,
      There’s this strange thing with stand your ground. Those claiming it can petition for immunity from prosecution. A judge decides that hearing. Immunity hearings are almost like trials because defendants must prove that they exercised self-defense. However, there are cases such as that of George Zimmerman where there was no immunity hearing and his attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that he was combining the immunity hearing with the actual trial. That in itself is kind of ironic because if a person is found to be immune from prosecution, they would not stand trial.

      In other words, Florida has a mess when it comes to stand your ground. This country has a mess when bigotry and prejudices decide cases.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. All right, let’s move along home now. Nothing to see here. Just more of the same stuff. The simple fact is that the “Stand your ground” law was never intended to apply to black defendants.

    All this latest ham-handitry could have accomplished was to impel prosecutors to further their ongoing pretense of having to appear as though they are making an effort to see unbiased justice done.

    If we were committed to change, we would facilitate ohhh, say a hundred black men in a lawful outing. To walk around downtown shopping and visiting the parks recreation areas with rifles and sidearm’s in plain view.

    The resulting torrent of confused, arbitrary, contradictory legislation and the red-faced spittle strangulation of the NRA leadership would be awe-inspiring.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you again for your reporting. That the judge so biased the jury explains much. This law certainly seems like a loophole to justify racist bias. Erg.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Iridacea,
      Exactly. Most states already have justifiable homicide and the Castle doctrine on the books. Stand your ground is very unfair because a person does not have to be in the commission of a crime when wounded or killed. If I remember correctly, Florida’s first case where SYG was raised as a defense, involved two juveniles, and the weapon used was a knife. The kid who claimed SYG was granted immunity.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I kind of like the idea of a judge not being able to decide if a defendant is granted immunity or not. I hate SYG laws and as we learned from the Tampa Bay Times research that most people who benefit from SYG laws are convicted felons and whites.

    I am unable to share your articles on FB at this time. Am working with FB to resolve the problem. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  5. On another note … on this July 4th, in view of the country’s current reality, I would like to share with you a post I found today related to the 4th and my country, Puerto Rico … I hope you don’t mind …. Please, when you have a chance, let me know your thoughts. TY …. hugs, dear friend!! __/l\__

    WHAT IS THE 4TH OF JULY TO A PUERTO RICAN?

    https://nothingtobegainedhere.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/what-is-the-4th-of-july-to-a-puerto-rican-3/

    Liked by 3 people

  6. If only everyone would open their minds and be willing to learn, we’d all be better off.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. crustyolemothman

    While the judge did say what many of us feel in our hearts, he is incorrect in his position as to who makes the laws! For many years now one of the complaints that we have heard is that the Judicial branch has over stepped its intent and has been infringing on the legislative branch by attempting to not interpret the laws passed by the legislative branch, but instead dictating laws as they see fit. His ruling can not stand upon review. The only way we will get this law corrected is by either having the legislative branch rewrite it or have the judicial rule that it is in violation of our constitution and force the legislative branch to correct it or delete it from the books.
    I was reading an article the other day that was calling for banning guns and while reading the response to the article by the hundreds of gun owners, I have decided banning guns is not the solution, banning people would be the only real solution for our nations problems!! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • “I have decided banning guns is not the solution, banning people would be the only real solution for our nations problems!! 😉”

      LoL! Ammunition can also be banned. Then angry or scared people can aim and throw their guns at each other. The person who ducks the fastest wins. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Ah dang it! I can never remember which one to copy/paste

    [IMG]http://i66.tinypic.com/24d0xh3.jpg[/IMG]

    Like

  9. ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. never mind!

    Like

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