On Monday, a Florida judge ruled that the updated “stand your ground” law is unfair. Let’s just take a second because in that moment, a SJW (social justice warrior) was born.
The judge feels that the law, which requires prosecutors to prove a defendant’s self defense at a pretrial hearing, is unconstitutional. Judge Milton Harsh stated, “As a matter of constitutional separation of powers, that procedure cannot be legislatively modified.”
The Florida Supreme Court had ruled in 2015 to shift the burden to defendants, requiring them to prove in pretrial hearings that they were defending themselves in order to avoid prosecution on charges for a violent act.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the amended legislation, backed by the National Rifle Association, into effect in June. Prosecutors were vehemently against the updated law because they believed it made it easier for defendants to get away from murder. Prosecutors also had to provide “clear and convincing” evidence that a defendant was not using the force as an act of self-defense.
The law was first passed in 2005 and it gave people the right to “shoot first” if they believed their lives were in danger at that moment.
The law says, “A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself,.”
It also gave judges the right to dismiss charges against the defendant if they believed reasonable self-defense was used in the case. Expand / Collapse
In states without the “stand your ground law,” people must retreat first before using force.
The controversial self-defense law came into the spotlight during George Zimmerman’s case in 2012, when the neighborhood watchman shot and killed the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Central Florida.
Zimmerman’s attorney argued his client used force because he “reasonably” believed his life was in immediate danger.