Miami Judge Rules Updated 'Stand Your Ground' Law Unconstitutional

  • Miami Judge Rules Updated 'Stand Your Ground' Law Unconstitutional

Miami Judge Rules Updated 'Stand Your Ground' Law Unconstitutional

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled Monday that Florida's changes to its existing "Stand Your Ground" law violate the Florida Constitution.

The ruling only applies to the case in question, but could open the doors for challenges to be made in other courts and could eventually land the issue in front of the Florida Supreme Court.

Hirsch's ruling won't affect how "stand your ground" is implemented in other cases. She initially received a sentence of 20 years, of which she served three.

Let's hope it will get rid of this sickening law once and for all.

As passed in 2005, the law gave people in Florida the right to use lethal force to defend themselves if they felt their lives were under threat. In "stand your ground" cases, pre-trial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution.

Under the law, prosecutors must prove by "clear and convincing" evidence that a defendant was not acting in self-defense.

Now, the new law requires prosecutors to shoulder the burden of disproving a self-defense claim. It was up to the defendants to prove they were acting in self defense.

Hirsch's ruling likely sets up legal wrangling in the appellate courts, and the Florida Supreme Court. States that now have "stand your ground" laws are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. However, according to Hirsch, the problem with the changes to the law were "procedural", meaning only the Supreme Court should make them.

Florida recently updated its "stand your ground" law but a judge has declared it as unconstitutional.

The statewide impacts of this is unclear, as Hirsch made this decision Monday based on two cases before him.