A gun rights group is declaring victory, after Governor Rick Scott signed a Stand Your Ground-related bill into law last week.
The new law changes the role of prosecutors during a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing. Before the Governor signed the bill into law, the accused claiming self-defense had to prove their claim was justified in order to avoid a trial. But, the new law shifts that burden to prosecutors during the pre-trial hearing—a change National Rifle Association’s Marion Hammer says is long overdue.
“In 2008, prosecutors and some sympathetic judges found a way to usurp the law by creating a special hearing and reversing the burden of proof and have been requiring people who use self-defense to prove they are innocent,” said Hammer. “That’s wrong. The legislature went back and fixed it.”
The new law stems from a dissenting opinion of a 2015 Florida Supreme Court decision. In the majority opinion, justices ruled the burden should stay with the defendant, so prosecutors wouldn’t have to prove their case twice.
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