HB 89, a reform of the "Stand Your Ground" law, passed the Florida House on 20 March with a vote of 93-24. The law extends the same immunity given to people who actually shoot someone in self defense to those who only threaten force or fire warning shots in self defense.
The bill was given impetus by the Marissa Alexander case where the defendant claimed to have fired a warning shot, but was sentenced to 20 years in prison under Florida's mandatory sentencing laws.
The bill has brought together a coalition of diverse supporters, including the Florida Public Defender Association and the NRA.
“We see, routinely, clients that we believe shouldn’t be prosecuted because they did act in lawful self-defense,” said Stacy Scott, the Gainesville-based public defender for the 8th Judicial Circuit. “We’re fighting those cases in court every day.”The reform bill also provides for the expungement of records in self defense cases. From bradenton.com, Representative Matt Gaetz:
“The point is to make sure that someone who appropriately uses the ‘stand your ground’ defense doesn’t have their life ruined by the use of that defense,” Gaetz said.This site shows the recorded vote of 93 to 24. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support.
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