The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments March 6 in a dispute about whether a controversial 2017 change to the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law should apply to older cases. The 2017 change shifted a key burden of proof in “stand your ground” cases — a shift that can play a role in determining whether people claiming self-defense should be shielded from prosecution.
But appellate courts have split about whether the change should apply to defendants who were arrested before the 2017 law took effect but whose cases were pending. Justices on Friday issued an order scheduling March 6 oral arguments in the case of Tashara Love, who sought to use the self-defense law to be shielded from prosecution in a November 2015 shooting incident outside a Miami-Dade County nightclub.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that the 2017 burden-of-proof change should not apply retroactively to Love’s case. In a separate case, a panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal said the burden-of-proof change should apply retroactively to Tymothy Ray Martin, who was convicted of felony battery in a 2016 altercation involving his girlfriend. Martin appealed his conviction, and the appeal was pending when the 2017 burden-of-proof change took effect.