FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida Governor Rick Scott signed amended "stand your ground" legislation, making it easier for defendants in the state to successfully claim they were protecting themselves when they commit violence.
Previously, the law required defendants to prove that they were using force in self-defense. The new law shifts the burden of proof in pretrial hearings to prosecutors, rather than defendants, to prove whether force was used lawfully.
Supporters of stand your ground laws, including the National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby, see the legislation as bolstering civilians' right to protect themselves.
Florida's self-defense law was initially passed in 2005, and inspired similar laws in other states. It removes the legal responsibility to retreat from a dangerous situation and allows the use of deadly force when a person feels greatly threatened.
Opponents have said the amended law will embolden gun owners to shoot first, citing the 2012 death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the Orlando area, which spurred national protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The neighborhood watchman who killed him, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder after the state's stand your ground law was included in jury instructions.
Scott, a Republican, signed the amended legislation into law along with a spate of other measures passed this week in a special session of the state's legislature. The measure was largely passed by party-line vote in the legislature.
Hancock & Berlin, P.A. is excited to announce our new office. We've moved to the penthouse of the Courthouse Square Plaza right across from the Broward Judicial Complex! Our new address is 200 SE 6th Street, Suite 603, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.
By Dan Sweeney of the Sun-Sentinel
Medical marijuana is on the way, but just how people can get it — and how much they can get — is a hot topic for the Florida Legislature.
Florida’s Amendment 2, passed by voters in November, expanded the very limited Florida medical marijuana law, which previously allowed for non-euphoric strains of pot for cancer, epilepsy and severe muscle spasms, as well as full-strength pot for people with less than a year to live due to terminal illness.
There are six plans: five in the state Senate and one in the House. One thing they all have in common: Not a single plan has a committee hearing in the other chamber. The House and Senate are far apart on a solution.
Florida's new medical marijuana amendment will allow doctors to order medical marijuana for people suffering from certain medical conditions. Click through to see which conditions make a patient eligible for treatment.
In addition, the ballot language gives doctors the power to order marijuana for "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."
Read the complete story here.
(Selima Hussain, Associated Press)Here’s a brief summary of the plans:
The Bradley Plan
The department has already signaled that it would likely keep much of the current state law in place, resulting in a regulatory scheme potentially even more restrictive than anything offered by the Legislature.
In Florida, and a few other states, the courts permit a disposition of Adjudication Withheld. The Withholding of Adjudication is a sort of legal fiction that allows a court in a criminal case to find a Defendant to have committed the offense, but the court is not making a formal conviction. This does not seem to make much sense logically. How can you be found to have committed a crime, but you are not convicted of the crime? Prosecutors and Judges generally reserve Adjudication Withheld (or Withhold, for short) for first time offenders or for less egregious crimes. If the disposition reads Adjudcated Guilty, Adjudicated, or Convicted, then the Defendant has been formally convicted.
Florida Statute 775.08435 outlines the rules for when the court may Withhold Adjudication. Generally, a court may withhold if the offense is a:
The fact that Florida's Criminal Justice System allows for the Withholding of Adjudication is a great benefit to a Defendant. A disposition of Adjudication Withheld may often be sealed from public record. If you receive Adjudication Withheld on an offense, you will still have a criminal record, but you will not be considered convicted. This can have enormous implications for keeping your right to vote, right to bear arms, or your job. Adjudication Withheld does not mean that the case was dropped or dismissed; and it is often considered a conviction in Federal Court. Every person accused of a crime has unique circumstances. The information above should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney about your case and your rights before entering into any plea agreement or agreeing to simply pay "court costs." These are decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Hancock & Berlin
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls and emails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
Copyright 2023 © Hancock & Berlin, P.A.