“Gang Members Protection Act,” as dubbed by State Attorney Aronberg of West Palm Beach, is just another term used for something that places the burden of proof in stand your ground cases squarely on the shoulder of the prosecutors. “Prosecutors never like having the burden shifted to them–it creates more work,” stated Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr.”It creates less funding, less appreciation, less staff, and by shifting the burden to the prosecutor, it creates more work. The 2017 Florida House Bill 245 (previously CS/HB 128) is building on the Stand Your Ground (SYG) history of this great State, which clearly moves the burden of proof to the State Attorney. Such a shift in the burden will most likely create more cases and more SYG filings.
Attorney Don Pumphrey went on to say, “this is just the beginning of proving when the use of force is an issue, and this is a very good thing for due process of law.” Any time force is used, whether it is with simple battery (touch or strike), impact weapons, or a taser, it will require the stand your ground analysis (as it has since its inception) and the criminal defense attorney will be responsible for hiring a use of force expert. Ideally, an experienced attorney would hire someone to assist the trier of fact, someone who had training and experience in use of force at all levels up to, and including, deadly force.
A use of force expert will come in and assist not only the Tallahassee criminal defense attorney but also to assist the trier of fact (a jury, grand jury, judge) by reconstructing the timeline and explaining the areas force was used and why. The why is the answer that always has an effect on Stand Your Ground cases. Sadly, many law enforcement officers (who have their own “use of force continuum”), prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys do not understand how force is utilized in a continuum.
Use of force has a specific application in specific and unique circumstances. Changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground SYG Law by shifting the burden to the State will create a new atmosphere for criminal defense attorneys in Tallahassee, Florida, but will do little to change the perceptions of those who need the training the most, law enforcement officers having to make decisions based upon the new law.
Don Pumphrey Jr., is a hometown criminal defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida, and a lifetime member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys in Tallahassee states. Pumphrey Law takes cases throughout Leon County, and the surrounding areas of Jefferson County, Wakulla County, Gadsden County and Liberty County. Call Pumphrey Law at (850) 681-7777 today for a free consultation about your case.
This Article Was Last Updated on March 3/27/2017
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.
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