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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Amendment to ‘Stand Your Ground’ law struck down

A bill in the Florida Legislature to amend Florida’s "Stand Your Ground" law was struck down Tuesday.

The Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 6-6 against House Bill 169, which proposed an amendment to a Florida statute that allows for the use of force in defense of oneself, others or property.

According to a summary analysis on the bill, the Florida Supreme Court recently established that the defendant must present evidence of acting in self-defense when using force to claim immunity from criminal prosecution.

The amendment sought to change the statute so the prosecutor would have to present evidence to the contrary if he or she wished to overturn the immunity claim.

In addition, the bill would have allowed for defendants to be reimbursed up to $200,000 for court costs, attorney fees and related expenses in seeking immunity if an immunity claim was granted.

Firearms-rights advocate Joshua Roe disagreed with the ruling.

"I think it was a bad decision because what this bill was doing was basically keeping the tradition of the United States political system and the notion that you are as a human being innocent until proven guilty," the 33-year-old UF tourism, recreation and sport management doctoral student said.

"I think the serious problem with that is the Florida Legislature has now basically said that being innocent until proven guilty is not relevant in a court of law."

The bill is one of several gun-related bills in the Florida Legislature. Another bill moving through the Florida Senate proposes to allow concealed carry on state college campuses.

Rep. Carlos Trujillo, the chairman of the subcommittee and a former prosecutor, said he supported "Stand Your Ground" but he could not go along with the bill. He said the change would make it difficult to prosecute someone, especially if the other person was killed and there were no other witnesses.

"It’s your defense," said Trujillo. "If you are alleging something you have to prove it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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