Scott Signs ‘Stand Your Ground’ Change

June 10, 2017

A measure changing the state’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law was among 16 bills that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law late Friday.

The self-defense bill stemmed from a Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that said defendants have the burden of proof to show they should be shielded from prosecution under the “stand your ground” law. In “stand your ground” cases, pre-trial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution.

The bill (SB 128) shifts the burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors in the pre-trial hearings. Supporters of the bill, such as National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer, said shifting the burden of proof would better protect the rights of defendants.

“The `burden of proof’ bill restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases,” Hammer told The News Service of Florida this week. “It puts the burden of proof back on the state, where it belongs.” But labeled by Democrats as a “a shoot to kill” bill, critics have argued that the change could lead to cases ending before all the facts are revealed and that the bill would increase costs for state attorney’s offices.

Among the other bills signed Friday by Scott was a measure (SB 436) dealing with religious expression in schools. The measure, which the American Civil Liberties Union has described as “troublesome,” seeks to prevent school districts from discriminating against students, parents or school employees on the basis of religious viewpoints or expression. Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the bill, said during this spring’s regular legislative session the bill “isn’t protecting a faith. It’s protecting all people’s freedom to express their hearts.”

by The News Service of Florida


4 Responses to “Scott Signs ‘Stand Your Ground’ Change”

  1. K. on June 13th, 2017 10:05 am

    @ rocky: My comment has several thoughts. You and I hold the same opinion of the first amendment. But there are several groups nationwide who do not.
    (1) The ACLU is dedicated to changing what “establishment of religion” means, and the courts are going along with it at the federal level.

    You and I know the meaning to be that the Federal Government may not force a person to be a member of a religion, like the Church of England was doing to its Catholics.

    but currently, under the “living document” concept, the ACLU is arguing that any public displays of religion by a government employee are tantamount to the government forcing any captive audience of that employee to be the same religion.

    what that means: a boss prays regularly in public at work. do the other employees join in because they fear retaliation if they do not? the ACLU successfully argues that this is an establishment of religion, encouraging one religion over all others.

    (2) The Freedom From Religion Foundation is currently actively seeking any property, person, or rule which displays anything Christian in nature on government property. They also believe that society is to be free from any Christian influence. These guys are considered by some to be the militant arm of the ACLU, taking on cases the ACLU considers too risky, or too high visibility.

    I am of the opinion that FFRF is fully independent – but they stay out of the way if the ACLU is already in the game.

  2. patti on June 11th, 2017 3:19 pm

    It’s about time something was done – so that a person can protect their life, the life of their child, their parents, etc. I have a permit, and IF someone breaks into my home, I intend to shoot and ask questions later. If one’s doors are locked it’s a good sign that one doesn’t want anyone entering unless they have a key (given to them by the person living there)or the owner opens the door to them. A person who breaks into a home belonging to someone else doesn’t deserve anything less/more. That goes for one”s vehicle too! My car key opens only the driver’s side when I’m by myself. If I want to let anyone else into my car, then I’ll open the passenger door for them. Times have changed over the years when one could leave their doors open and NO one would enter unless invited. One can’t do that now.
    I’m also glad to hear that one’s religion can’t be held against them. One should be able to express how they believe, BUT, I don’t think one should have to be taught about another religion, if CHRISTIANITY can’t be taught also.

  3. Rocky on June 11th, 2017 2:17 pm

    I’m sorry, but the previous law, which prosecuting attorneys were trying their best to keep in place, denied the presumption of innocence until proven guilty; it was unconstitutional, it was wrong. I have no reservations in telling them, the fact that it increases their costs in prosecuting such cases is meaningless… If in fact, it increases their costs in prosecuting such cases, the way the law was, increased the defendant’s costs in proving their innocence. Why should you be burdened with the costs of proving you are innocent, when you are innocent?

    SB 436 is a joke, why do we need SB 436 when the First Amendment of the Constitution very clearly states… “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” If Congress has no authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion, the school board and the ACLU sure as hell don’t.

  4. Jane on June 10th, 2017 3:44 pm

    Both are good. People can defend their homes and their kids can pray about it in school. Yay! About time

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