Florida League of Prosecutors Files Lawsuit to Declare Stand Your Ground Unconstitutional.

Florida League of Prosecutors Files Lawsuit to Declare Stand Your Ground Unconstitutional.

Courtesy WCTV

Florida’s League of Prosecutors (“the lifeline of the judicial community”), an organization that claims to closely monitor issues that affect legal professionals and the judiciary in South Florida and across the country has filed a lawsuit to declare the state’s stand your ground law unconstitutional.

In court documents released to the Miami Herald . . .

[The League] asked justices to strike down the law because it unlawfully forces state attorneys to try cases involving self-defense claims before a judge, not a jury. “There is nothing specialized or unique about this defense that the common juror cannot understand,” according to the brief filed late Friday.

Additionally, Miami-Dade County’s State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle (D) also filed a brief joining in the effort and is the first publicly elected state attorney (but not the last) to openly go against Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi (R).

Florida League of Prosecutors Files Lawsuit to Declare Stand Your Ground Unconstitutional.

Rundle has been in office since 1993 and was hand-picked by Janet Reno as her replacement when Reno became US Attorney General. Rundle has ruled Miami-Dade as her own personal fiefdom and is so disliked there that even her own has asked her to step down from office.

Of course, Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and the late Janet Reno’s pals at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence also are weighing in on this. In an amicus brief they both claim that the law “makes it harder to prosecute those who perpetrate gun violence, and ultimately encourages the unlawful and reckless use of firearms.”

Rundle’s neighbors to the north are also looking to jump into the ring. Broward County’s State Attorney Michael Satz said he is “reviewing the matter” and a spokesman for Palm Beach County’s State Attorney Dave Aronberg said he “agrees with State Attorney Rundle and LOP on the recent changes to the Stand Your Ground law,” suggesting he may join in.

But Hillsborough County’s State Attorney Andrew Warren told the Miami Herald that . . .

I opposed changing Stand Your Ground because it would significantly disrupt the operation of our criminal justice system and undermine public safety, while doing nothing to protect law-abiding gun owners. Last year’s amendment was an ill-conceived solution in search of a problem that predictably created confusion and gridlock in our courts, which is now wasting taxpayer resources and delaying justice for victims.

It should be surprising that we have public officials openly wanting to have a law declared unconstitutional because it makes their job harder. But it’s not. In my experience both as a member of the law enforcement community and as a private citizen who has fought for better civil rights in my state’s capitol, I’ve seen how prosecutors act.

For years, the burden of proof has rested on the defendant to prove to a judge that he/she acted in self defense because the Florida State Supreme Court ruled as such. This was changed, however, back in 2017 when lawmakers corrected the law back to its original meaning, forcing prosecutors to disprove a defendant’s claim of self defense. Prosecutors must prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that someone was not acting in self defense.

Prosecutors don’t like the law because it makes them work cases they might not win. Prosecutors only like cases they can’t lose, so they can point to their conviction record and claim a long tally of judicial victories when it comes time to reelection and promotion.

Additionally, they don’t like the idea of actually having to prove beyond reasonable doubt that people they try were actually in fear for their lives and defended themselves justly. They’d rather have it the other way around, where the defendant must prove that they are innocent.

I can tell you this; if the Democrats win the gubernatorial and attorney general’s races here, Florida’s self defense laws will be sent to the shredder. If Andrew Gillum wins, his first act as governor will be appointing three supreme court justices and Sean Shaw will not, of course, defend the law in the courts as the attorney general.

comments

  1. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    “You should let yourself become a memory because criminals have it hard”-demtards…

  2. avatar New Continental Army says:

    And yet democrats come to this site and get all upset when they get made fun of, when their policies literally get us murdered. Voting democrat is voting for you, and your own families demise, through murder, rape, and taxation. And don’t you DARE defend yourself in the process you racist sexist hethen!

    1. avatar L says:

      Careful, you might summon one.

  3. avatar jwm says:

    If nothing else the dems are shouting from the rooftops ‘you are guilty and cannot prove yourself innocent’. Tell me again how the modern dems aren’t fascists?

  4. avatar Justin Case says:

    Prosecutors, by definition, must measure their worth by how many career *convictions* they have. Other than that, there’s no bias or conflict of interest at all – kinda’…

  5. avatar Mark N. says:

    I haven’t seen the pleadings, so I am having a hard time understanding what is “unconstitutional” about the law. It is simply a rule of procedure, and it is the defendant’s right to a jury, not the prosecutor’s. ALL pre-trial motions are decided by a judge, including whether there is probable cause to proceed, so I don’t see how this is any different. I suspect that the prosecutors think they have a better shot of convincing a jury that the defendant did not act in self-defense than convincing a judge who has seen toms of these cases.

    1. avatar Res says:

      Simple, it is unconstitutional because it interferes with a lawyers right to profit from suffering. Also the lawyer will suffer from theft of wages from laws that allow victims to kill criminals that attack them, without having to be “defended” by a lawyer. It is also unconstitutional to take away lawyers happiness, as it would be taken away if they were deprived of future actual criminal defendants and potential revenue. So simple really.

  6. avatar Res says:

    Total self interest. Read past their talking points about public safety, blah blah blah. It comes down to is their profession doesn’t make money when somebody kills a criminal and no charges are made. Ideal situation for these predators is to get two clients. The victim and the criminal.

    1. avatar J_cobbers says:

      You do know that prosecutors get paid by the Government, not the defendant right? Your point would be more valid if it were a league of Criminal Defense Atty’s seeking to to declare this unconstitutional. As it stands, I see this as a way to make a DA’s office able to rack up more convictions: “I put more killers away than before so reelect me” without mentioning that the increase would be due to defendant’s having an even more limited right to claim self defense. If they want the law changed they should go through the legislature. The right to self defense is protected by multiple SCOTUS rulings. This sounds like a reaction to the George Zimmerman result, which whether you agree with it or not, he was found innocent. Assuming this is what is spurring their case, I think the best way to handle it, if you don’t like the law, is to work with the legislature and amend it to where the defense of standing your ground is not available when you initiate contact instead of calling the police or some other such nonsense.

  7. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    A lawyer loses money when a criminal is killed during a home invasion or killed robbing a store, or killed trying to rape a woman. Its better to have the woman raped, and her attacker survive. This way the lawyer can make $$$ and get free media attention.

    And I’m not being sarcastic. Lawyers are losing money because their future clients are being killed. We all talk about saving the tax payer money when the criminal is shot dead in the act.

  8. avatar waynefromfl says:

    Andrew gullium will turn my state in to a drug fueled, polluted and crime ridden hellhole.

    I’ve seen these so called democrat utopias and they arent these places you want to be. The crime is out of control, corruption at every level, streets and communities are polluted especially with drug needles which can pose a problem to public health and safety, the so called strict common sense gun laws they got they refuse to enforce against the criminal element all the while they blame other states for, so much homelessness.

    And if you ever dare speak out against any of this you’ll be called every ist and ism then get physically assaulted.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      You’re absolutely right. If DeSantis doesn’t win this state is going to be a third world shithole and fast. I know polls don’t mean shit but they are way too close for it to be ok.

    2. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      Oh please don’t mention that name. He is reprehensible. I don’t see how he could be a viable candidate. This country is worse off than i had hoped. Fingers crossed for Tuesday. The difference between them and us is i have no desire to affect their lives but they definitely want to affect mine

  9. avatar Gun Owning American says:

    These idiots should be fired and disbarred.

  10. avatar Yarbles says:

    Wonder how much cash Bloomberg and Soros are pouring into this effort by Democrat shysters.

    Soros gets them elected by pouring money into local campaigns, then Bloomberg pushes this kind of crap legislation.

    This is the kind of stuff that happens when you vote for Socialists.

    1. avatar Morning says:

      How is it that these billionaires can put millions into tampering with elections across the country, (and celebreties like oprah and clooney while we are in the topic) yet regular Americans are limited by strict finance laws?

      1. avatar J_cobbers says:

        Two words for you: Super PACS.

        Citizens United v. FEC, is a double edge sword that allowed their creation. They cut both ways, and should be gotten rid of. Too much money in politics on both sides.

  11. avatar Danny says:

    If Curtis Reeves walks under this law, it means Florida has straight-up legalized murder.

  12. avatar Timothy K. Toroian says:

    Lots of luck dummies if it has to go to SCOTUS cause they aren’t going to call it unconstitutional. Try reading the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence and UNALIENABLE RIGHTS.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      There is no federal interest so it won’t make it i to Federal Court. SYG has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Your right to keep and bear arms is not infringed by how the State adjudicates the use of force. Anti-gunners would be smart to give up on restricting firearms and instead push for the adoption of UK self defense laws. If you can’t use them for self defense then a lot of people would give up their guns because they would have no practical use.

      1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

        Staying alive, even if only to be prosecuted, is better than dying or being a subject like the Brits.

      2. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Sshh! How about you not give them that idea.

  13. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    I happen to agree. The changes Florida made to their ‘stand your ground’ law put an unreasonable burden on prosecutors. Self-defense, like insanity, is an AFFIRMATIVE defense. The defense has to prove that the defendant IS insane; that’s not on the prosecution to DISPROVE. Similarly, in the law’s former state, a defendant would have to provide strong evidence that they were acting in self defense in order to avoid the case going to trial. Now, the prosecution has to somehow disprove any wild claim to even get a trial. Which is difficult given the he said/he’s dead nature of many SYG cases.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      How many of these wild syg cases have happened? And it’s up to the state to prove guilt. We are presumed innocent and that’s as it should be.

      The prosecutor’s? An unreasonable burden? They have the full power of the state behind them. That’s the trouble with you fascists. You want to be able to lynch anybody you don’t like.

    2. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Oh yes the poor prosecutors whatever will they do. I like how when it comes to guns and self defense, now all of the sudden long standing legal traditions such as burden of proof no longer applies in a traditional way. Because guns!

    3. avatar Bruce says:

      Actually, self defense is not an affirmative defense like insanity. Insanity is typically judge made law, based on Constitutional requirements, such as the Bill of Rights. I would expect that insanity as a defense is based on the prohibition against Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Self Defense (SD) any more is almost always statutory, which means that negating self defense becomes one more element that the state has to prove to get a jury verdict. If before a SD claim has been made, prosecutors have to prove elements A, B, and C, then after the SD claim, they have to prove A, B, C, and not SD, all beyond a reasonable doubt. However, as with other elements, judges usually require some evidence that they are relevant, before including them in the instructions given a jury.

      Maybe another way of looking at this is that not all uses of force, and not all killings, criminal. Some are legally justified. One of the elements of a violent crime is that the use of force was not justified. If defendant doesn’t plead justification, and provide some scintilla of evidence, the judge won’t bother including negating justification in the jury instructions, in order to simplify their job. There are other elements that are similar. For example, the crime must have occurred within the jurisdiction of the court. That is usually assumed by all concerned, but can be put into play, if there is evidence to the contrary brought forward by the defense. (Cops are taught to get the location of a crime, typically including state and county, into evidence with their testimony, just in case the defense brings it up after the prosecution has rested their case, and asks for a dismissal in those grounds). Judges almost always eliminate uncontested elements from their jury instructions, in order to simplify their jobs. The elements are still there, but the jury just doesn’t need to waste their time on them, if there is no evidence that they are relevant.

      The above is the majority (98%) approach. The minority (2% – Ohio) interpretation is the one that you espouse, that self defense is an affirmative defense, that the defendant has to prove.

  14. avatar Michael says:

    Under any circumstances of a clean, vidotaped, shooting I’d rather stand before only a judge, represented by a good defense attorney with some deep, practical experience as a prosecutor. You go before a jury you’re putting the rest of you life in the hands of 12 people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty. Also, depending how long this takes to get adjudicated, it may wind up at the SCOTUS after 45 puts 2 more con/con judges in. National Stand Your Ground law would lead to many progressives melting down.-30-

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Self Defense laws are a matter of State Authority. The Second Amendment only guarantees your right to possess, not the conditions of lawful use.

    2. avatar GluteusMaximus says:

      I had jury duty a year ago and half of them got dismissed because if the nature if the crime. They just couldn’t be objective because it was a child molestation case. The question was not if you approved of the crime the question was is the guy guilty. These people couldn’t do it. They all felt he was guilty just because he was accused. It was frightening to see and i pray i never face a modern jury. They were idiots

  15. avatar Marcus says:

    Can’t wait for Gillum to lose hard and run in CA where he really belongs!

  16. avatar GS650G says:

    The proponents have security around them at work and live in gated communities. I guess it’s tough shot for the rest of us.

  17. avatar Serpent_Vision says:

    Law since 2017, but suit against it only announced days before an election. Was it constitutional until just recently?

  18. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Mark N is the only one who got it right.
    A stand your ground hearing is a pre trial motion.
    Like any other motion to dismiss.
    For instance illegal search and seizure, mistaken identity, statute of limitations, speedy trial violation, etc.
    None of these motions are heard by a jury.
    Only a judge.
    These prosecutors don’t have a leg to stand on if they want a jury to hear pre trial motions

    1. avatar Bruce says:

      Good point. Except that there is question whether it is limited to pre trial. Why might it be used post trial? Because if you prove self defense (by a preponderance of tge evidence), you get immunity from both criminal AND civil liability. The place we may have seen this play out was with the George Zimmerman trial. After the trial acquitting him, it was obvious that he easily could have won an immunity hearing. His attorneys almost assuredly had considered requesting such a hearing, pre trial, but the expectation is that they didn’t request such, worrying about giving away their trial strategy, if they had lost. But it appears that they held the possibility of a post trial immunity hearing over Trayvon Martin’s family, dissuading them from filing a wrongful death suit against Zimmerman, since the evidence in Zimmerman’s favor was so overwhelming, as evidenced by the criminal trial, that winning an immunity hearing would have been almost certain.

      Keep this in mind. In a (most typically pre-trial) immunity hearing, the defendant needs to prove self defense by a preponderance of the evidence. He has both the burden of proof, and the burden of going forward – if he does nothing, presents no evidence, nothing happens. If he loses the immunity hearing, or doesn’t request one, he then goes to trial, where he continues to have the burden of going forward with a self defense claim. But if he does present evidence of self defense, meeting his burden of going forward, the burden of proof is now on the prosecution to overcome his claim of self defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Think of it this way, with both the immunity hearing and trial, the defendant has to present some evidence of self defense. Call this a 1% hurdle. Then at the immunity hearing, he has the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence. Call this the 51% hurdle. And at trial, the prosecution has to disprove self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. Call that a 80% hurdle for the prosecution, which works out to a 20% hurdle for the defendant. If the defendant can meet or exceed the 51% hurdle for immunity, then why is the prosecution trying him for the crime, since his >50% likelihood pre trial greatly exceeds the 80% that the prosecution is going to need at trial? The answer is that they are punishing him with the process of defending himself against charges that the prosecution cannot expect to get a guilty verdict on. Punishing him disrupting his life for months, if not years, and probably costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars, all for legally protecting his own life. This is, of course, something that they aren’t ethically supposed to do. But they do all the time anyway, and hence the statute, and hence why they are trying to get it thrown out.

      1. avatar Bruce says:

        I tried to update my previous post, with the following, but it didn’t show. So apologies in advance if it does show.

        Putting the above in a more tabular form, looking at things from a defendant’s point of view:
        0-1%: Defendant fails its burden of going forward.
        1-20% – Prosecution proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial
        20-50%- Prosecution wins at immunity hearing, but loses in criminal trial
        50-100% – Defendant wins both immunity hearing and at trial.

        The purpose of the immunity statute was to protect defendants in the 50-100% category from punitive trials by vendictive prosecutors, who have no reasonable chance at winning, based on the evidence available that the Defendant was legally justified in his actions as self defense.

  19. avatar Geoff says:

    Declaration of Independence
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    2nd. Amendment
    “the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”
    So self defense is unconstitutional?

  20. avatar sound awake says:

    file this under “empowering violent criminals against law abiding citizens in america initiative”

  21. avatar possum says:

    It’s “Your Life” but it’s not your ground. You are only using it for a little while.

  22. avatar little horn says:

    the judge not a jury part is about all that holds water. and even that is iffy because judges do have that ability.

  23. avatar John Colvin says:

    Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six. – unless you live in a state run by ‘”Sociocratlibs”.

  24. avatar Icabod says:

    This also explains why so many gun crimes get plea bargains or dismissed. Prosecutors like simple, easily won cases. Were all gun crimes sent to trial, the courts would be clogged.

  25. avatar Jim Misaros says:

    Prosecutors love no case at all, pleas are their mainstay. They HATE when a good person lives, and scumbag dies. They have no one to slap on the wrist, put in prison, that can get out in a few years to continue their scourge on society. SAFETY OF THE CITIZENS, is their last priority.

  26. avatar Truckman says:

    you know there is alway more than one way to skin a cat

  27. avatar Michael says:

    Doesn’t really change a thing; do it right on the street, keep my mouth shut, exercise my right to a judicial hearing and let my paid attorney win it on the points of law in front of an educated judge, not 12 people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty. -30-

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