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Florida Supreme Court Weighs Arguments In Stand Your Ground Case

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.