Florida Supreme Court Resolves Conflict, Extends Stand Your Ground' Immunity to LEOs

By: J. David Marsey

01.19.19

Originally published by PoliceOne.com on January 19, 2019, David Marsey discusses Florida’s statutory immunity from criminal and civil liability, commonly referred to as the “stand your ground” law, and the Florida Supreme Court’s holding that the clear and unambiguous statutory language affords law enforcement officers the same immunity provisions available to the public at large.

“One area of frequent disagreement involves the application of the immunity to law enforcement officers acting within the course and scope of their employment,” states Marsey. “The Florida Supreme Court has finally spoken, and in doing so, resolved the conflict between Florida District Courts of Appeal.”

In the article, Marsey discusses the two statues at the core of the dispute: Section 776.05, Florida Statutes which authorizes an officer to use any reasonably necessary force to defend himself or herself, and Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, which provides that a person who uses or threatens to use lawful force is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use or threatened use of force if enumerated circumstances exist. He also highlights District Courts’ conflicting decisions on the matter in State v. Caamano and State v. Peraza.

Marsey explains that the Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that “officers are people too” and are entitled to the full use of the “stand your ground” immunity defense that is applicable to the public at large.

He shares, “The importance of this decision cannot be overstated, because it provides officers a viable legal defense to prevent lengthy and costly criminal proceedings if they are able to show an entitlement to immunity at a pre-trial hearing.”

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