Anti-domestic violence advocates warn against Stand Your Ground law change

Advocate: change has 'unintended consequence'
Posted at 11:26 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 23:34:25-04

If signed by the Governor, Florida would become the first state to place the burden of proof in Stand Your Ground cases on the prosecution, instead of the defense. 

Some fear this change will have a dangerous impact on domestic violence victims. 

Mindy Murphy is C.E.O. of The Spring of Tampa Bay, a dedicated to preventing domestic violence and protecting victims. 

"The reality is a domestic violence batterer or abuser has nothing to lose now by filing for a Stand Your Ground immunity claim," said Murphy. 

Advocates warn the change in Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law will have the unintended consequence of protecting abusers. 

RELATED: Former Judge warns of dire consequences of Stand Your Ground changes

"It's going to be, potentially, a really great tool for an abuser to say 'hey, I was defending myself,'" said Murphy. 

Murphy says that in many cases, victims are too frightened to come forward, taking a crucial piece of evidence away from the prosecution. 

"Put her life at risk by testifying, then there's no way for the state to prove that it wasn't stand your ground."

Advocates want Gov. Rick Scott to help protect victims by vetoing the change. 

"It happens behind closed doors and too often the only witness to the domestic violence is the perpetrator and the victim," said Murphy. 

Lawmakers who support the change believe in strengthening the Stand Your Ground law is necessary because state prosecutors should always have to prove defendants acted outside the law, in any case.