Tag Archives: kissimmee

Florida Supreme Court Examines Stand Your Ground Procedure

The Florida Supreme Court heard a case on Tuesday that takes a novel look at the Stand Your Ground Law. The current status of the law is that a defendant can file a motion for immunity, and will be entitled to a hearing on it. At that hearing, the burden is on the Defendant to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he was justified and therefore immune from prosecution. It’s an evidentiary hearing, with witnesses subject to cross examination, evidence, and argument. It very much resembles a trial without a jury.

The law currently places the burden on the Defendant to demonstrate his immunity. Jared Bretherick’s attorneys argued this week that the burden should not be on the Defendant, rather it should be up to the state to demonstrate that the Defendant is not immune from prosecution. It’s an interesting procedural argument. For comparison, when a Defendant raises a motion to suppress based on an illegal sesarch or seizure, the burden is on the state to prove that there was legal justification for the intrusion. However, the current procedure has been in effect for a few years now, and the court may choose not to disturb it. It may be several weeks before the court issues a ruling. Bretherick faces prison for the Aggravated Assault charge, but still has a right to fight the case at trial if the appeal is unsuccessful. Ironically, it appears the alleged victim has previously served a prison sentence for a road rage incident.

The lower, District Court ruling can be found here: http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2013/102813/5D12-3840.op.pdf

 

Catch him if you can conviction

Matthew Scheidt

A Florida teen was just found guilty of impersonating a physician’s assistant for two weeks.  Always in Florida.  Matthew Scheidt gave a full confession (never talk to the cops) and was found guilty of 4 out of 5 charges.  I’m guessing that the case went to trial to preserve the issue for appeal of whether or not the confessional was admissible; his attorneys had attempted to exclude his statements from the trial.  The only way to preserve that issue of appeal would be to go to trial (and lose).  If the appellate court finds the statements were improperly taken, it could be remanded for another trial.  The young man is facing up to 20 years in prison when he gets sentenced.

He was only 17 at the time.  I wonder if this case was initially charged in juvenile court.  The state would likely have moved the case to adult court when he got arrested for additional charges, anyway.  The judge can take his age into consideration when he hands down sentence.  I can’t help but think of DiCaprio’s character in Catch Me if You Can, though this kid clearly doesn’t have the knack for pulling things off.