Extensive expert testimony at a hearing last week did not lead to a ruling about whether Mark Deffendall can walk free in the killing of his brother under the provisions of Florida’s revised Stand Your Ground law. After testimony was complete, the prosecutor and defense attorney elected to file written closing arguments, instead of making their final arguments in court, and Judge Cynthia Cox said she will rule on the matter after receiving the written filings.
The 2014 homicide was revisited after Deffendall and his attorney sought immunity under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ statute for the second time. Deffendall previously was denied the defense, but Cox granted him a new hearing this year after Florida lawmakers reversed the burden of proof in Stand Your Ground cases.
Before, defendants had to prove they had good reason to be in fear for their life. Now, prosecutors are required to demonstrate a defendant is not entitled to immunity under the statue by proving that he or she was not acting out of fear for their life. The revised law also eliminates a mandate to retreat before shooting.
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