FL - Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel

This is a discussion on FL - Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; By The Associated Press Published: October 17, 2012 Updated: October 17, 2012 - 12:00 AM JACKSONVILLE -- Gun rights advocates Tuesday told a task force ...

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Thread: FL - Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel

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    FL - Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel

    By The Associated Press
    Published: October 17, 2012 Updated: October 17, 2012 - 12:00 AM

    JACKSONVILLE --
    Gun rights advocates Tuesday told a task force reviewing Florida's "stand your ground" law that the statute needs to be revised to take the burden off defendants trying to prove their use of force was justified.

    The burden instead should be placed on prosecutors, and their offices should be required to pay the cost of a "stand your ground" hearing if defendants have charges dropped, said Eric Friday, lead counsel for the gun rights group Florida Carry Inc.

    "Prosecutors will be much more cautious on how they take action," Friday told members of the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection during its last hearing involving public comment. Friday said the cost of a defense can be as much as $20,000.

    ...snip.. Blah, blah, NRA this and that and blah......


    Supporters of more restrictive gun laws criticized the task force for only having gun rights advocates testify during its final hearing in which members of the public were allowed to testify. Supporters of making Florida's law more restrictive, including Martin's parents, have testified at previous hearings. But many of them were pessimistic the task force will change the law significantly, particularly given that one of the legislation's authors is on the task force.

    "It doesn't look very promising," said Ginny Simmons, director of the Second Chance Campaign, a coalition of civil rights groups and elected officials opposed to "stand your ground" laws across the nation. "I've felt like from the beginning it was set up to be biased."

    Read the whole thing and fill in the blahs: Strengthen self-defense law, gun rights advocates tell panel | TBO.com
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    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    I'd rather see the cost of the defense come out of the DA's paycheck, but out of his budget would do.
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    While I have nothing against FL's current SD laws, and am all for strengthening them whenever the opportunity presents itself, they already lean heavily toward the defendant as written. I get the feeling this places fear of financial burden on the state for hastily filing charges rather than protecting someone involved in a justified shooting. And, of course, the Antis will consider any result contrary to their cause as "biased."

    The viability of the current laws is demonstrated regularly by the "no charges" incidents of justifiable shooting here. It's the abominations that get the attention and draw the heat, particularly from those who do not know FL laws.

    A guy with a 12-page rap sheet claiming SD in a drug deal gone bad isn't going to get much of an ear from a prosecutor, as the fact he was commiting a crime at the time removes all claim of SD. Nor is someone who voluntarily places one's self in a situation that could, and should, have been avoided going to receive full benefit of an SD claim. But there are many others who are neither arrested nor charged where evidence supports their claim, or when there is no evidence to the contrary.

    Questionable circumstances will raise questions, as Zimmerman has found out. If one needs to use deadly force, there (hopefully) should be no question that it was necessary. I have declined to pass judgement on Zimmerman, as I was not a witness, and I don't take the word of the media or the families involved as truth. But I do question the wisdom of his actions that led up to the alleged attack and the shooting which followed.
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    It needs to be applied better, it seems very wonky in how it's actually used.

    I'm 100% for self defense laws, however they cannot be vague and cannot possibly protect the person who started the fight. If I shoot someone because I started a confrontation, it's my word against no one else's and SYG may keep me safe. That's wrong obviously.

    If you're in your car for example, and someone is 50ft away charging you with a knife, you can easily leave and be safe. It seems like Florida's SYG law protects people who stay and shoot though.

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    Cave, your example lets us know that you don't quite get the concept.

    True, if you start the fight, you have entered into a separate discussion. But being charged with a knife, and having some schmuck from a liberal state hypothesize about what distance the charge started from, and whether I would have been able to escape the charge. . . . . . that's exactly what the law is designed to protect me from.

    Clarity is good. I'm just not sure if you have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaveJohnson View Post
    It needs to be applied better, it seems very wonky in how it's actually used.

    I'm 100% for self defense laws, however they cannot be vague and cannot possibly protect the person who started the fight. If I shoot someone because I started a confrontation, it's my word against no one else's and SYG may keep me safe. That's wrong obviously.

    If you're in your car for example, and someone is 50ft away charging you with a knife, you can easily leave and be safe. It seems like Florida's SYG law protects people who stay and shoot though.
    I don't think FL SYG law is vague. If I'm inside my car, I'm not partcularly woried about the knife outside. I don't have to run; I can stand my ground. Now if I decide to chase the guy with the knife down, all bets are off, as Zimmerman has found out. He put himself in a legally precarious position. Had he stayed in his vehicle--as he was instructed--he wouldn't be facing a court date now.
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    I think it's a good idea to put a definitive cost to DA's buckling under to the media's speculation. There's no reason a person should be subjected to financial ruin when they were acting in self defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by From the article
    ... the statute needs to be revised to take the burden off defendants trying to prove their use of force was justified.

    The burden instead should be placed on prosecutors, and their offices should be required to pay the cost of a "stand your ground" hearing if defendants have charges dropped, said Eric Friday, lead counsel for the gun rights group Florida Carry Inc.
    Absolutely. One would think that if we're truly a nation of so-called "innocent until proven guilty" justice, then the proof MUST like with the accusers, always (by definition, it seems to me).

    Glad to see folks calling a spade a spade, and calling out the lunacy for what it is.
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    Given the high visibility and politcal pressures tied to the Trayvon Martin death, I doubt they will making any changes at this time that would be seen as strengthening a SYG defendants position.

    According to Jon H. Gutmacher's "Florida Firearms, Use & Ownership" pg 248:
    "Based upon a recent Florida Supreme Court case, Dennis v. State, 51 So.3d 456 (Fla. 2010) the Court held that a pretrial evidence hearing is required on any motion to dismiss that asserts imminity. The burden at such a hearing is on the defendant by a preponderance, and that mere finding of "probable cause" is insufficient.

    I would say if you had a pretty justifiable self-defense case, you should have never been arrested in the first place. I agree that making the DA office pay would help to make sure overzealous prosecuters don't overstep. If you get to a pretrial evidence hearing without a solid case, you probably aren't going to get immunity and your fate will fall into the hands of the jury. I'm not a lawyer and I didn't sleep in a Holiday Inn last night, but that's the way I see it.

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    As I understand the news(?), Zimmerman has not been given his pretrial hearing. Could be wrong, but I do recall his lawyer saying he wanted some hearing to determine if there was even a case.
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    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    ... Zimmerman...Had he stayed in his vehicle--as he was instructed--he wouldn't be facing a court date now.
    Research that. I'm supposed to be relocating for the next couple of days, PM me for further and I'll see if I can answer soon.

    Further discussion of Zimmerman in this thread is likely to get it shut down.

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    This all went down today (11/13) and this guy Waldron knows the concept very well because he lived up here in WA for several years.

    We have no duty to retreat ingrained in court precedent.

    If anyone was at the Gun Rights conference in Florida in September, there was a very good discussion of SYG and self-defense.



    CCRKBA defends ‘Stand-Your-Ground’ at Fla. hearing

    The Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms defended the “Stand-Your-Ground” concept earlier today during the last of a series of meetings held around Florida in the wake of the Trayvon Martin incident in February, after which the law was criticized by civil rights activists.

    CCRKBA defends

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