Activist “judge” Milton Hirsch has overturned a new version of Stand Your Ground in Florida in Miami-Dade circuit court. This new ruling doesn’t overturn the entire concept of Stand Your Ground, only the new provisions recently passed by the Florida state legislature. The new version requires the prosecution to disprove self defense claims during pre trial hearings.
As quoted from Hirch’s 14 page ruling:
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The legislative changes at issue here purport to alter in two ways the burden of proof at a “Stand Your Ground” hearing. The burden of persuasion is shifted from the movant – the criminal defendant calming immunity – to the State. And the quantum of proof is altered from mere preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing evidence. Because the questions of burden of proof are procedural rather than substantive, however, I necessarily find the demised legislative changes to be unconstitutional.
And he concludes with:
The statutory alterations in the burden and standard of proof in “Stand Your Ground” cases are, as set forth hereinable, unconstitutional. The hearing in the case at bar will be conducted according the procedural law propounded by the Florida Supreme Court, viz., the burden of both production and persuasion will be on the claimant to establish by a preponderance of the evidence her entitlement to “Stand Your Ground” immunity.
So, essentially what this means, is anyone who intends on raising the issue of self defense and Stand Your Ground can only do so during the actual trial, and the burden of proof remains on them to prove self defense. The defendant’s would be dragged through the mud through full trial, and drained of money to pay attorney fees and other costs, meanwhile the state and county would be footing the bill for the court costs and would be on the hook for any malicious prosecution lawsuits, when it all could have been avoided by implementing the updated version of the law.
The Miami Herald adds:
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The judge ruled that under Florida’s constitution, that change should have been crafted by the Florida Supreme Court, not the Legislature.
“As a matter of constitutional separation of powers, that procedure cannot be legislatively modified,” Hirsch wrote in a 14-page order.
The ruling is a victory for prosecutors who have firmly opposed a law they believe makes it easier for defendants to get away with murder and other violent crime.
Hirsch’s ruling isn’t binding – other trial courts across Florida can follow the law if they choose. But it does get the ball rolling on the appeals process, and possibly getting the law reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court.
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told the Miami Herald he believes the Legislature acted lawfully.
“I would be surprised if this decision were upheld at the appellate level,” said Bradley, a former prosecutor who championed the modification of the already controversial “Stand Your Ground” statute passed over a decade ago. The change was pushed by the politically powerful National Rifle Association. Gov. Rick Scott signed the new law into effect in last month.
The Herald also summarizes some of Judge Hirsch’s previous controversial decisions:
Last year, Hirsch also ruled that the a new death-penalty sentencing structure was unconstitutional, a decision that later proved prescient — the Florida Supreme Court ruled the same months later.
In 2012, Hirsch ruled that prosecutors could not say a fingerprint found at a crime scene was a controversial match, a decision later overturned by an appeals court.
When a Tampa federal judge ruled in 2011 that Florida’s drug law was unconstitutional, Hirsch was the only local state judge to follow suit. He tossed out more than two dozen cases, but Miami’s appeals court later reversed Hirsch’s decision.
Ironically, the defendant raising the issue, Liletha Rutherford, is a BLACK FEMALE, the very same demographic that the anti gun crowd claims is unfairly “targeted” by Stand Your Ground. She now finds herself targeted by an ANTI Stand Your Ground ruling. So remind us again who the real racists are?
You can reach “judge” Milton Hirsch’s office at (305) 548-5728.