Florida Supreme Court rules on 'stand your ground' cases

BRENDAN FARRINGTON

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court granted a new “stand your ground” hearing to one defendant and denied the claim of another Thursday as it settled questions on whether a 2017 law should apply retroactively.

The law shifted the burden of proof in stand your ground pretrial immunity hearings from defendants to prosecutors. The court ruled that the law can't be retroactively applied to hearings that took place before it went into effect. But the new burden of proof standard applies to defendants charged before the law took effect whose stand your ground claims still hadn't been heard once it was in the books.

That means Tashara Love will be given a new hearing on her stand your ground claim after being charged with attempted murder. Love said she shot a man outside a Miami nightclub in 2015 because he was about to hit her daughter.

Florida first enacted a stand your ground law in 2005, giving immunity to people who use deadly force to protect themselves or others if they feel at risk of great bodily harm or death. Defendants had the burden of proof, meaning they had to prove to a judge that they should be granted immunity.

But former Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2017 bill changing the law.

A lower-court judge ruled that the changes in the law didn't apply to Love because she was charged before the new law took effect, and she was forced to carry the burden of proof at her hearing. The judge didn't grant her immunity.

Thursday's ruling means she will get a new hearing and prosecutors will have to prove she shouldn't be granted immunity.

The court also ruled that Tymothy Martin should not be granted a new immunity hearing because his original hearing took place before the law took effect. Martin was later convicted of felony battery during an altercation with his girlfriend. He claimed she threatened him with a gun and he was attempting to disarm her.