Washington, D.C., October 31, 2018 - This week, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Safety jointly filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Florida in Love v. State of Florida, a case involving the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The case involves a woman who raised a Stand Your Ground defense to a charge of attempted second degree murder with a firearm. The full amicus brief can be found here.
In the brief, Brady and Everytown challenge the constitutionality of the Florida legislature’s decision to place the burden of proof on the State, rather than the defendant, when a defendant claims he or she is entitled to Stand Your Ground immunity. The Florida Supreme Court previously placed the burden of proof on the defendant, until the legislature changed the law in 2017, forcing prosecutors to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant was not acting in self-defense. The brief states that “the Florida Legislature has foisted onto the courts a procedure that makes pretrial invocation of Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute easier, makes it harder to prosecute those who perpetrate gun violence, and ultimately encourages the unlawful and reckless use of firearms.”
“The Florida legislature overstepped its bounds in an effort to make an ill-conceived law even worse,” stated Josh Scharff, an attorney at the Brady Center. “The State Supreme Court has an opportunity with this case to restore balance to the separation of powers in Florida. As we have seen, Stand Your Ground has repercussions that ripple throughout the nation. This is an important case, and we hope the Court gets it right.”
“Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is an unconstitutional attempt to shield people from the consequences of their actions,” added Eric Tirschwell, litigation director for Everytown. “We’re hopeful the Court will see this legislative overreach for what it is.”
The Brady Center and Everytown for Gun Safety were represented by Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and Santini Law.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is dedicated to reducing gun injuries and deaths in America by stemming all of the causes of gun violence. For more than 25 years, the Brady Center’s legal team has fought in and out of the courts to obtain justice for victims of gun violence, to reform dangerous industry practices, and to defend reasonable gun violence prevention laws.The Brady Center routinely files amicus briefs in state and federal cases involving the constitutionality and interpretation of firearms laws, including the Brady Act.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it – by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public. Everytown’s Litigation and Enforcement team fights for the right of every American to be free from gun violence. It is the largest team of litigators in the country dedicated full-time to advocating in the courts and through the criminal and civil justice systems to advance gun safety. Learn more about the team at https://everytownresearch.org/issue/litigation/.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is headquartered in New York with offices in Silicon Valley and Paris. Pro bono and community service are integral to the firm’s practice and culture. Kramer Levin routinely ranks high in the annual Am Law 200 pro bono survey, and its pro bono achievements have been recognized with awards from the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, Her Justice, Legal Services NYC, the National Law Journal, New York’s Legal Aid Society and others. For more information, visit www.kramerlevin.com.
Santini Law is a Miami-based boutique law firm that represents a multinational clientele in complex state and federal court litigation, and international arbitrations.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.