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Stand Your Ground

Miami judge: New stand-your-ground law is unconstitutional

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A judge ruled Monday that Florida’s lawmakers overstepped their authority in updating the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law. In ruling the law unconstitutional, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch said Monday that the changes should have been crafted by the Florida Supreme Court instead of by the Legislature. The Miami Herald reports that the 14-page order is a victory for prosecutors who have firmly opposed the law. Critics have said the law makes it easier for defendants to get away with murder and…

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Joe Henderson: After GOP gives NRA another ‘gun rights’ victory, what’s next?

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This was a pretty famous case. You might remember it. On Nov. 23, 2012, Michael David Dunn was at a gas station in Jacksonville when he got into an argument with 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was there with some friends. It seems the music coming from Davis’ car was too way loud for Dunn’s taste. There was an argument, which ended with Dunn going back to his car to retrieve a loaded handgun. He had a concealed-weapons permit for the…

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Florida law shifts burden of proof in ‘Stand Your Ground’

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Florida became the first state with a law that spells out that prosecutors, and not defendants, have the burden of proof in pretrial “stand your ground” hearings when Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday. The measure was among 16 bills that Scott signed, including a bill that gives students and school employees a broader right to express their religious viewpoint in schools. The “stand your ground” bill was fought by prosecutors who say it will make their job…

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Legislative fix to ‘Stand Your Ground’ law goes to Rick Scott

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self defense

The Senate blinked in a fight over a standard of evidence, sending a fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law to Gov. Rick Scott. The House on Friday voted to “insist” that the Senate accept its amendment to Sen. Rob Bradley‘s bill (SB 128), which aims to streamline claims of self-defense. Last month, it OK’d the bill but changed the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” a lower threshold than the Senate’s “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to overcome self-defense. By Friday…

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Joe Henderson: Democrats may finally get the message that they need, well, a message

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Florida Democrats have become such a non-factor in state politics that the real drama frequently becomes which faction of the Republican party will prevail on a given issue. Think about it. We have had knockdown, drag-outs between the GOP-controlled House and Senate. This year the main event has been the ongoing feud between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran. It’s almost like Democrats don’t exist. Republicans have long had a consistent message of tough on crime, lower…

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House sends back Senate’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill

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self defense

The House on Wednesday OK’d the Senate’s fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law to streamline claims of self-defense—with one change. The House version changes the measure (SB 128) to switch the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” a lower threshold than the Senate’s “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to overcome self-defense. Members voted 74-39 for the amended bill, sending it back across the rotunda. The Republican majority in the Legislature wants to shift the burden to prosecutors, making them disprove a claim…

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Democrats decry change to ‘stand your ground’ law

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Perry Thurston

A critic of the state’s “stand your ground” law Wednesday said a change to the law now moving through the Legislature will “make it easier for people to murder other human beings.” Lawmakers now are considering shifting the burden to prosecutors, making them disprove a claim of self-defense. Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, called that making “a bad law worse.” He appeared with several fellow Democrats at a morning press conference in the Capitol. The stand your ground…

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