Stand Your Ground Applies to Police Officers.

Stand Your Ground Immunity fro Cops

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Stand Your Ground applies to police officers. Before this decision, a police officer charged in a police shooting could only claim self-defense.

How are police shootings investigated?

In South Florida, The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates most police shootings. However, a police department does have the authority to investigate their officer’s use of force in a police shooting. Due to the recent outcry from the community and calls for transparency, most departments turn such investigations over to the F.D.L.E.

Prior to the ruling, the State Attorney’s Office is also involved in the investigation and will decide if criminal acts took place. After that, an inquest or a Grand Jury can review the case. If the police officer is charged the case enters the criminal justice system. The officer will claim the use of deadly force was in self-defense, and if a trial occurs, a jury will decide if the shooting was justified. The officer and his police department face potential civil liability.

If Stand Your Ground applies to police officers, how does that change anything?

Now that Stand Your Ground applies to police officers, that is likely to change. An officer will claim immunity from criminal prosecution and civil actions under the Stand Your Ground Law. A successful Stand Your Ground motion in a criminal or civil case would end the battle at that point. The officer could not be sued or prosecuted from that point forward.

This ruling is a big win for Florida’s law enforcement officers and the lawyers that represent them.

Previously, a police officer charged with a crime related to a police shooting, such as manslaughter, would find themselves out of work when formally charged. The process of going to trial in these cases could extend for a year or more. The officer would have to find other means to support themselves during this process. Now, the process can be cut short by a successful Stand Your Ground assertion avoiding or at least limiting the chances of the officer facing financial ruin. Also, the emotional toll on the officer and the officer’s family will, hopefully, be shorter.

Please see our YouTube channel, “Your South Florida Lawyer, Patrick J. McGeehan,” for more videos explaining legal concepts in easy to understand terms.

Return to our blog!

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE