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Florida Stand Your Ground Immunity Applies to Correctional Officers As Well

After a few well publicized cases in Florida, many people are aware of the Stand Your Ground law in Florida. It really is not any sort of groundbreaking law. It is a derivation of self defense, which has been around forever. It addresses the fact that a person does not have a duty to retreat in the face of a reasonable threat and also allows a criminal defense lawyer to file a motion to have the case thrown out before it ever gets to a jury if the judge finds the defendant had a right to use reasonable force under the circumstances. But generally, it is applied as a fairly standard self defense law- a person has a right to use reasonable force to defend against someone else’s use of force or the reasonable threat of force.

In a recent Florida case not far from Jacksonville, Florida, the Florida Stand Your Ground law was asserted by a defendant who worked as a corrections officer. The defendant worked at a jail in Lake County, Florida. Apparently, he got into a fight with an inmate that resulted in multiple fractures to the inmate. He was subsequently charged with aggravated battery.

The criminal defense lawyer asserted a self defense/stand your ground claim. The court questioned whether correctional officers could use the Florida Stand Your Ground law because there are specific statutes already in place that deal with correctional facilities. Those laws have provisions that authorize the use of force by correctional officers against inmates. The higher court ruled that correctional officers can use the Florida Stand Your Ground law. The Florida statutes that deal with correctional officers do not nullify the Florida Stand Your Ground law and vice versa as the Stand Your Ground law apply to correctional officers. The higher court did not decide whether the defendant had a legitimate Stand Your Ground claim; they just ruled that a correctional officer has a right to pursue one.