The Supreme Court of Florida has ruled that in addition to established police self-defense laws, Law Enforcement Officers can now as well rely on the immunity from prosecution protections of the ‘Stand Your Ground’ doctrine that had previously only been available to civilians.
In a 7-0 decision, the Justices stated that “Law enforcement officers are eligible to assert Stand Your Ground immunity, even when the use of force occurred in the course of making a lawful arrest.”
The immunity is a key feature: “Stand your ground” lets judges declare someone immune from prosecution if they find certain facts in favor of the killer in pretrial hearings, avoiding trial altogether in a disputed shooting.
Police officers already had been able to claim justification through a police-specific self-defense law, but in a disputed killing, those arguments had to be carried to trial.
One officer’s attorney said the decision is groundbreaking and will let Florida law enforcement officers work with less fear of wrongful prosecution. An opposing attorney in the case called the result a travesty and warned it gives a judge too much power to dismiss even cases where grand juries decide an officer should be charged.
The full opinion from the Supreme Court of Florida can be found HERE.
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