HB 89, a reform of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, passed the house on last week by a vote of 93-24. The law extends the same immunity currently provided to people who actually shoot someone in self defense to those who merely threaten force or fire warning shots. The bill was given impetus by the Marissa Alexander case in which the defendant claimed to have fired a warning shot, but was sentenced to 20 years in prison under Florida’s mandatory sentencing laws . . .
The bill has brought together a diverse coalition of supporters, including the Florida Public Defender Association and the NRA.
“We see, routinely, clients that we believe shouldn’t be prosecuted because they did act in lawful self-defense,” said Stacy Scott, the Gainesville-based public defender for the 8th Judicial Circuit. “We’re fighting those cases in court every day.”
The reform bill also provides for the expungement of records in self defense cases. From bradenton.com, Representative Matt Gaetz:
“The point is to make sure that someone who appropriately uses the ‘stand your ground’ defense doesn’t have their life ruined by the use of that defense,” Gaetz said.
We’ll be watching the bill’s progress.
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