This past week the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-0 to advance SB 448, commonly referred to as the “warning shot” bill. I address the substance of this bill (and its House counterpart, HB 89) in some detail over at Legal Insurrection: Florida “Warning Shot” Bill Advances.)
So far I’ve posted up rough transcripts and video of:
Florida Representative Neil Combee, the sponsor of the parallel bill in the House, HN 89: VIDEO: On “Warning Shot” Bill, Addresses Verbal Defensive Threats, Marissa Alexander Scenarios.
In this post I’m highlighting the testimony of Stacey Scott, speaking on behalf of the Florida Public Defenders Association. Like every other speaker, she supports the bill (State Prosecutor Cervone is ambivalent about the bill, but supportive of excluding defensive use of force from “10-20-Life,” the bill’s goal).
Sen. Evers: Stacey Scott, with the public defenders, 8th circuit. Hey Stacey, how you doing?
Scott: I’m doing well. Good morning members of the committee and thank you for having us. I’m here representing the Public Defenders Association, the 19 circuits in the state of Florida.
I was also one of the others on the Governor’s task force for citizen’s safety, I was on that commission and enjoyed the opportunity to serve in that capacity.
We’re here to speak in favor of this bill. We think that it’s an important clarification of the existing self-defense laws, that someone could be justified in threatening to use force and not have to actually use force in order to enjoy the protections of the self-defense laws and Stand-Your-Ground.
The statute aren’t clear on that, there is some case law that supports the idea that threatened use of force is the same thing as use of force, but it’s not that clear, so it’s an important clarification that we support.
We also think it’s good public policy to help right some of the wrongs that have occurred unintentionally under the “10-20-Life laws.”
And also, if a person who is reasonably acting in self-defense can deter an attack through a threatened use of force instead of a use of force, they should be encouraged to do so.
So the public defenders are in support of this bill, and we thank you.
Sen. Evers: OK, than you Ms. Scott
Keep your eyes right here, folks, for more videos and rough transcripts from this week’s Florida Senate “warning shot” bill hearings. There’s more good stuff to come!
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.
In addition to the book, Andrew also conducts Law of Self Defense Seminars all around the country. Seminars for 2014 are currently being scheduled, if you’d like to see one held in your area fill out the comment box on the LOSD Seminar review page, where you can also see reviews of recently completed seminars in New Hampshire, Maine, Texas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and elsewhere.
Andrew is also a contributing author on self defense law topics to Combat Handguns, Ammoland.com, Legal Insurrection, and others.