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Stand Your Ground and Self Defense in Florida by Charnele Tate: Burden of Proof

Fowler v. State, 921 So.2d 708 (Fla.2d DCA 2006)

"The State has offered no understandable theory of evidence that contradicts Fowler's explanation of self-defense. In fact, in responding to the motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's case, the prosecutor acknowledged that “there's no indication of a reason for this happening.” Fowler presented a prima facie case of self-defense, and the State simply did not carry its burden to rebut the claim of self-defense and to prove Fowler's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

Source: Westlaw

Falwell v. State, 88 So.3d 970 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012)

Where the challenged jury instruction involves an affirmative defense, as opposed to an element of the crime, fundamental error only occurs where a jury instruction is ‘so flawed as to deprive defendants claiming the defense of a fair trial. 


Source: Westlaw

Behanna v. State, 985 So.2d 550 (2007)

When a defendant presents a prima facie case of self-defense, the state has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt tha tthe defendant did not act in self-defense. The state must overcome the self-defense claim by rebuttal or by interference in its case in chief. The question of whether a defendant acted in justifiable self-defense is generally one for a jury. 


Exerpt from Westlaw

Darling v. State, 81 So.3d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 2012)

Under Florida law, “[a] person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” § 776.013(3), Fla. Stat. (2007). Additionally, the person is immune from criminal prosecution under these circumstances. § 776.032(1), Fla. Stat. (2007). When the defendant invokes the statutory immunity, the trial court must hold a pre-trial evidentiary hearing to determine if the preponderance of the evidence warrants immunity.
Source: Westlaw

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