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FL Lawmakers Seek to Make Self-Defenders Vulnerable to Lawsuits

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FL Lawmakers Seek to Make Self-Defenders Vulnerable to Lawsuits

A panel of Florida legislators is contriving to gut the law that provides criminal and civil immunity to citizens who lawfully defend themselves against lethal attack.

Drawn together in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial with the claimed mission of “improving” Florida’s Stand Your Ground law (§776.013(3). Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm), these lawmakers instead have set their sights on Florida’s Self-Defense Immunity law (§776.032. Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.)

Florida’s Self-Defense Immunity statute provides that a person who lawfully uses force in self-defense shall be immune from criminal and civil liability. This immunity can be determined either pre-trial in a self-defense immunity hearing (often mistakenly referred to as a “Stand Your Ground” hearing) or during the trial itself. To win on this issue the person seeking immunity must be found to have acted in lawful self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning, more likely than not).

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