Governor signs Florida ‘stand your ground’ reform into law
By Chris Eger
Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law that gun control groups call a “national embarrassment.” (Photo: Florida Governor’s Office)
Gov. Rick Scott on Friday approved a Republican-backed measure that clarifies the state’s burden of proof in self-defense cases.
The legislation, SB 128, which expands justifiable homicide protections in Florida, was approved by the House 74-39 in April and 22-14 in the Senate last month. The law clarifies that the government, not the accused, has the burden of proof in a “stand your ground” immunity hearing prior to proceeding to trial, which supporters of the effort felt should have been the case all along.
“If the State of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the State of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceeding,” said Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, in a statement. “This legislation requires the state to meet the standard of clear and convincing evidence to overcome an immunity claim.”
The state legislature in 2005 passed a self-defense law that gave immunity from arrest, detainment, charging and prosecuting unless an investigation by the state reveals there was probable cause to believe the act was not, in fact,