Florida Changes Burden of Proof on Self-Defense Immunity


I see from Miguel Gonzalez' excellent blog, Gun Free Zone, that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the legislation recently passed changing the burden of persuasion on self-defense immunity. In effect, instead of the claimant (defender) having to now prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence (typically at a pre-trial hearing) in order to secure criminal and civil immunity for his use of defensive force, now once the claimant has made a prima facie claim of self-defense the burden is on the State to disprove the claim by clear and convincing evidence, or immunity attaches.

"Clear and convincing evidence" can be thought of as more than a preponderance of the evidence, but less than beyond a reasonable doubt.

The law change takes effective immediately.

The relevant statute, CS/SB 128, can be found here.