‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Ruled Unconstitutional

On Monday, a judge ruled that the “Stand Your Ground” law is unconstitutional. The “Stand Your Ground” law requires prosecutors to deny a defendant’s self-defense case at preceding hearings, is considered unconstitutional, e.g. the George Zimmerman case back in 2013. This decision is surely going to stir the pot with politicians in Florida and the issue will likely be taken to the state’s court.

Fox News reports that Judge Milton Hirsch, Miami-Dade Circuit, believed that the recent amendment to this law gave lawmakers much more authority than they should have. Hirsch added that the Florida Supreme Court should have drafted the amendment initially, which is alignment with proper protocol.

Urban Intellectuals reported that Hirsch wrote, “as a matter of constitutional separation of powers, that procedure cannot be legislatively modified.” The Florida Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling transferred the pressure to defendants, now requiring them to prove in pretrial conferences that they were indeed defending themselves to evade prosecution on more violent acts.

Prosecutors were totally against the amended law because they believed it made it easier for defendants to get away with murder. It also gave Florida judges the right to expel charges against the defendant if they believed that self-defense was reasonably used.

Prosecutors were also required to provide “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant was not using force as an act of self-defense.

The Florida law states, “A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.”

This ruling is an example of why it is essential for civilians to go and vote and to urge others too. As you read stories such as these, remember Trayvon Martin who was the victim of an individual who shot first and claimed self-defense in court. Laws are meant to protect the lives of civilians and law enforcement, not to blur the lines of what is right and what is wrong.

 – Contributed by Amaya Starkey

WHUR Contributor


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