Florida Senate - 2016                                     SB 344
       By Senator Bradley
       7-00299-16                                             2016344__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to justifiable use or threatened use
    3         of defensive force; amending s. 776.032, F.S.;
    4         providing legislative findings and intent; providing
    5         for retroactive application; specifying that once a
    6         prima facie claim of self-defense immunity has been
    7         raised, the burden of proof shall be on the party
    8         seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal
    9         prosecution; providing a directive to the Division of
   10         Law Revision and Information; creating s. 939.061,
   11         F.S.; entitling criminal defendants who successfully
   12         claim immunity under s. 776.032, F.S., to an award of
   13         specified costs, attorney fees, and related expenses;
   14         specifying a procedure for submitting reimbursement
   15         requests; requiring the Justice Administrative
   16         Commission to review and approve the reimbursement
   17         request if the requested costs, fees, and related
   18         expenses are reasonable and supported by valid
   19         documentation; requiring reimbursements to be paid
   20         from the operating trust fund of the state attorney
   21         who prosecuted the defendant; limiting the amount of
   22         the award; providing an effective date.
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26         Section 1. Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   27  read:
   28         776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action
   29  for justifiable use or threatened use of force.—
   30         (1) The Legislature finds that imposing the burden of proof
   31  on a person who uses or threatens to use defensive force as
   32  permitted by general law at a pretrial evidentiary hearing
   33  substantially curtails the benefit of the immunity from trial
   34  provided by this section. The Legislature intends to make it
   35  explicit that the state shall bear the burden of proof in
   36  establishing beyond a reasonable doubt whether a defendant is
   37  entitled to a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity at a
   38  pretrial evidentiary hearing. The Legislature has never intended
   39  that a person who acts in defense of self, others, or property
   40  be denied immunity and subjected to trial when that person would
   41  be entitled to acquittal at trial. The amendments to this
   42  section made by this act are intended to correct
   43  misinterpretations of legislative intent made by the courts and
   44  shall apply retroactively to proceedings pending at the time
   45  this act becomes a law.
   46         (2)(1) A person who uses or threatens to use force as
   47  permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified
   48  in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and
   49  civil action for the use or threatened use of such force by the
   50  person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against
   51  whom the force was used or threatened, unless the person against
   52  whom force was used or threatened is a law enforcement officer,
   53  as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance
   54  of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself
   55  or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person
   56  using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should have
   57  known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in
   58  this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes
   59  arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the
   60  defendant.
   61         (3)(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures
   62  for investigating the use or threatened use of force as
   63  described in subsection (2)(1), but the agency may not arrest
   64  the person for using or threatening to use force unless it
   65  determines that there is probable cause that the force that was
   66  used or threatened was unlawful.
   67         (4)(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney attorney’s
   68  fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all
   69  expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil
   70  action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the
   71  defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection
   72  (2)(1).
   73         (5) Once a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity from
   74  criminal prosecution has been raised, the burden of proof shall
   75  be on the party seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal
   76  prosecution provided in subsection (2).
   77         Section 2. The Division of Law Revision and Information is
   78  directed to replace the phrase “this act” wherever it occurs in
   79  the amendments to s. 776.032, Florida Statutes, made by this
   80  act, with the chapter law number of this act, if it becomes a
   81  law.
   82         Section 3. Section 939.061, Florida Statutes, is created to
   83  read:
   84         939.061 Motion to dismiss; costs.—
   85         (1) If a defendant files a motion to dismiss claiming
   86  immunity from criminal prosecution under s. 776.032 and the
   87  court grants the motion, the defendant shall be reimbursed for
   88  court costs, reasonable private attorney fees, and related
   89  expenses incurred in defending the criminal prosecution, up to
   90  the limit specified in subsection (4).
   91         (2) To receive reimbursement under this section, a
   92  defendant must submit a written request for reimbursement to the
   93  Justice Administrative Commission within 6 months after the
   94  issuance of the order granting the motion to dismiss. The
   95  defendant must include with the reimbursement request an order
   96  from the court granting the motion to dismiss and documentation
   97  of any court costs or private attorney fees and related expenses
   98  paid or owed.
   99         (3) The Justice Administrative Commission shall review each
  100  request and make a determination within 30 days after receiving
  101  the request. If the requested court costs are supported by valid
  102  documentation and the requested private attorney fees and
  103  related expenses are reasonable and supported by valid
  104  documentation, the commission must approve the reimbursement
  105  request. Approved reimbursement requests must be paid to the
  106  defendant from the operating trust fund of the state attorney
  107  who prosecuted the defendant within 60 days after receipt of the
  108  approved reimbursement request.
  109         (4) A reimbursement request under this section may not
  110  exceed $200,000.
  111         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.