On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee conducted a five hour hearing on House Bill 4003, which is legislation to repeal Florida's self-defense immunity statute (commonly known as the Stand-Your-Ground law). The measure was soundly defeated by a vote of 11 to 2.
The hearing occurred after the 30 plus day protect against the Stand Your Law ground by the Dream Defenders. The Dream Defenders are a group of activist who camped out at the Florida State Capital promising not to leave until Governor Rick Scott held a special
session to talk about repealing Florida's Stand-Your-Ground statute.
Florida's self-defense immunity statute passed unanimously in the Florida Senate in 2005 with overwhelming and bipartisan support in the Florida House. In fact, the legislation passed 94 to 20.
What Protections are Contained in Florida's Stand Your Ground Laws?
Among other protections, Florida's self-defense immunity statute allows the defense to file a pretrial motion to
dismiss the charges. The statute also provides for special jury instructions if immunity from prosecution is not granted on a pre-trial basis.
Filing the pre-trial motion triggers a
evidentiary hearing during which the trial court must either grant or
deny the pretrial motion to dismiss after hearing testimony and reviewing evidence in the case.
If the court denies the
motion, the defense can appeal the decision to deny a “Stand Your
Ground” motion before trial and the refusal to invoke self-defense
immunity by filing a petition for writ of prohibition.
hearing on the "Stand Your Ground" motion at the trial level, the state
will argue that the defense bears the burden of proving his entitlement
to self-defense immunity by the preponderance of evidence. The defense
will often argue that the statute requires the State to bears the
At the motion the defense will argue that the defendant
was justified in his actions. A person is justified in using deadly
force when he or she reasonably believes such force is necessary to
prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to him or herself or
another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. §
776.012, Fla. Stat. (2011) such as false imprisonment.
imprisonment, for example, is defined as “forcibly, by threat, or
secretly confining, abducting, imprisoning, or restraining another
person without lawful authority and against her or his will.” §
787.02(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2011).
If the trial court finds that the
other side's actions rise to the level of a forcible felony such as
false imprisonment, aggravated assault, or another type of forcible
felony, then the Defendant might be justified in his use of force on
this basis. The trial court will consider whether there was an imminent
threat and whether the Defendant's subjective fear was objectively
Read more about Florida's self-defense immunity statute known as Florida's Stand Your Ground statute in this article written by criminal defense attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.