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Florida Supreme Court Weighs Arguments In Stand Your Ground Case

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MGN Online

Should the state or the defense have the burden of proof in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was before the Florida Supreme Court Tuesday as the justices weighed arguments.

No shots were fired, but Jared Bretherick did point a gun at another man, he says, to protect his family during a 2011 incident in Osceola County. The Indiana man was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. But, speaking to Supreme Court Justices Tuesday, his lawyer, Eric Friday, says it was self-defense.

“For over seven minutes, the only thing keeping Derek Dunning at bay from continuing his attack on this family was the gun in Jared Bretherick’s hands,” said Friday.

A lower court rejected Bretherick’s self-defense claim. Now, his lawyer is hoping the high court will shift that burden of proof to state prosecutors, instead of the current practice of making the defense prove the Stand Your Ground claim.

But, Justice Barbara Pariente says this may not be the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction.

“An easy way to find that out, which is, go to the Legislature and have them specify that that’s what they want of the judiciary in a pre-trial evidentiary hearing,” said Pariente. “I mean this idea that we’re effectuating legislative intent when the legislature was silent…”

The question before the justice was actually the subject of 2014 legislation earlier this year, but it died in the committee process.

Stay tuned to Friday's Capital Report for more on this story!

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.