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Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Revision Ruled Unconstitutional

Image: Florida 'Stand Your Ground' Revision Ruled Unconstitutional
George Zimmerman during 2013 trial. (Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 12:37 PM

Florida’s “stand your ground” law, updated earlier this year, was ruled unconstitutional by a circuit court judge for Miami-Dade County.

Miami Judge Milton Hirsch said on Monday that alterations made to the controversial self-defense legislation were in violation of the state’s constitution and called them a sharp break with time-honored principles, reported The Wall Street Journal.

He made the ruling in a case involving Liletha Rutherford who was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and grand theft after she pulled a gun on a couple during an argument.

“The statutory alterations in the burden and standard of proof in ‘Stand Your Ground’ cases are, as set forth hereinabove, unconstitutional,” concluded the 14-page ruling. “The hearing in the case at bar will be conducted according to the procedural law propounded by the Florida Supreme Court, viz., the burden of both production and persuasion will be on the claimant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence her entitlement to ‘Stand Your Ground’ immunity.”

The law was first passed by the state in 2005, making it possible for individuals to “shoot first” if they felt their lives were under threat, reported RT.

During the pre-trial immunity hearing, defendants were required to prove their actions were motivated by self defense.

The amended bill placed the burden of proof on the prosecutor.

“In a criminal prosecution, once a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity from criminal prosecution has been raised by the defendant at a pre-trial immunity hearing, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the party seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal prosecution,” it reads.

The “stand your ground” law gained attention after unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a member of the local neighborhood-watch who was acquitted, per Reuters.

Hirsch’s ruling sparked public comment.

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Florida’s “stand your ground” law, updated earlier this year, was ruled unconstitutional by a circuit court judge for Miami-Dade County.
florida, stand your ground, revision, unconstitutional
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2017-37-04
Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 12:37 PM
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