The problem for opponents is that “stand your ground” laws have been very popular. Two thirds of the states have some version of the law. The elimination of a requirement to retreat in the face of deadly force has long precedence in the United States, starting with a Supreme Court ruling in 1895.
Judge Hirsh’s decision cites English precedence and some American cases to the effect that there is a requirement to retreat. But he completely ignored the 120 years of precedence in the Supreme Court that supports the SYG laws.
Hirsch found that the changes to the law were “procedural,” meaning only the Florida Supreme Court has the right to make them.
Text of Section 2:
Administration; Practice and Procedure
(a) The supreme court shall adopt rules for the practice and procedure in all courts including the time for seeking appellate review, the administrative supervision of all courts, the transfer to the court having jurisdiction of any proceeding when the jurisdiction of another court has been improvidently invoked, and a requirement that no cause shall be dismissed because an improper remedy has been sought. The supreme court shall adopt rules to allow the court and the district courts of appeal to submit questions relating to military law to the federal Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for an advisory opinion. Rules of court may be repealed by general law enacted by two-thirds vote of the membership of each house of the legislature.
Senator Rob Bradley, a former prosecutor and current member of the legislature, disagrees. He’s the author of Florida’s SYG law.“I would be surprised if it were upheld on appeal,” he told usf.edu.
If the courts rule that the Florida legislature overstepped its authority in this case, the Florida legislature could reform the law, making it similar to law in Washington state.
In Washington, if a defendant is found not guilty after a self defense claim is made, the state pays the court costs and legal fees of the defendant. This would be another check on the power of prosecutors to punish defendants with process costs.
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