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Proposed changes to 'stand your ground' law

Florida state lawmakers have reached an impasse over a proposed piece of legislation that would change the "stand your ground" law. The Florida House and the Florida Senate have voted to approve of separate versions of the bill, which would modify the burden of proof required in "stand your ground" related matters.

Most importantly, the burden of proof would shift from the defendants to the prosecutors during pre-trial hearings. The proposed bill has generated a lot of controversy as the Senate and House are not able to agree on the matter. The House recently approved one version of the measure, which is now under consideration by the Senate, but the Senate prefers its version.

The House wants to require "clear and convincing evidence" to overcome a "stand your ground" assertion by the defendant. The Senate, on the other hand, wants the higher standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" to be the burden of proof placed on prosecutors.

According to Senate President Joe Negron, he feels that the burden of proof should be at the level of "beyond a reasonable doubt" at every stage of a criminal trial proceeding. He described it as the highest legal standard in the world and that it had served the United States well so far.

Meanwhile, Bobby Payne of the House of Representatives said that "clear and convincing evidence" is a "reasonable and fair place to land." He also said that this language would assist to encourage victims to come forward.

However this lawmaker stand-off works itself out, it appears that there could be some changes that apply to "stand your ground" cases in the future. If you have been charged with a firearm-related offense, be sure to speak with your Florida criminal defense lawyer about how this proposed piece of legislation could potentially affect your case.

Source: Health News Florida, "House, Senate At Odds Over ‘Stand Your Ground’ Change," April 10, 2017

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