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Stand your ground criminal charges before Florida Supreme Court

The concept of "stand your ground" law in the state of Florida has received a great deal of media attention in recent years. Courts have differed in their interpretation of an individual's right to use force or the threat of force when one feels threatened or in danger. An example lies in a recent case in front of the Florida Supreme Court, in which criminal charges followed a road rage incident.

The case centers on an incident in 2011, in which two cars stopped on U.S. 192 in Kissimmee. There is no mention of what led up to the confrontation, but the driver of an SUV allegedly stopped in front of another vehicle and got out to confront the occupants. At that point, the driver of the second car called 911 to report the incident.

The man's son pulled out a weapon and held the driver of the SUV at gunpoint while his father communicated with emergency dispatchers. When police arrived, however, the son was arrested and subsequently charged with aggravated assault by use of a firearm. His legal counsel tried to use "stand your ground" law as a defense, but the trial court did not agree. The matter is now before the Florida Supreme Court.

The appeal is focused on asking Florida's higher court to alter the burden of proof in such cases. As it stands, the accused is tasked with proving that he or she was acting in self defense when a threat or act of aggression was undertaken. In this case, the argument is being made that it should be the prosecution's burden to prove that an individual was not acting in self defense before criminal charges can be filed.

Source: www.wftv.com, "'Stand your ground' case goes before Florida high court", Dec. 2, 2014

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