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'Stand Your Ground’ Bill Teed Up In Senate

Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida senators could vote as soon as Wednesday to approve a bill (SB 128) that would shift a key burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases.

The Senate took up the measure Thursday and positioned it for a vote. The proposal stems 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, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, would shift that burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors.

"This is the most serious and solemn power that our state government exercises ... and the burden should be high on the government from the beginning of the case to the end," Bradley said Thursday.

A House version (HB 245), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka, and Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.