Florida Senate - 2016                              CS for SB 344
       By the Committee on Criminal Justice; and Senator Bradley
       591-00896-16                                           2016344c1
    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         if a court makes specified determinations; specifying
   15         a procedure for submitting reimbursement requests;
   16         requiring the Justice Administrative Commission to
   17         review and approve the reimbursement request if the
   18         requested costs, fees, and related expenses are
   19         reasonable and supported by valid documentation;
   20         requiring reimbursements to be paid from the operating
   21         trust fund of the state attorney who prosecuted the
   22         defendant; limiting the amount of the award; providing
   23         an effective date.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   27         Section 1. Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   28  read:
   29         776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action
   30  for justifiable use or threatened use of force.—
   31         (1) The Legislature finds that imposing the burden of proof
   32  on a person who uses or threatens to use defensive force as
   33  permitted by general law at a pretrial evidentiary hearing
   34  substantially curtails the benefit of the immunity from trial
   35  provided by this section. The Legislature intends to make it
   36  explicit that the state shall bear the burden of proof in
   37  establishing beyond a reasonable doubt whether a defendant is
   38  entitled to a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity at a
   39  pretrial evidentiary hearing. The Legislature has never intended
   40  that a person who acts in defense of self, others, or property
   41  be denied immunity and subjected to trial when that person would
   42  be entitled to acquittal at trial. The amendments to this
   43  section made by this act are intended to correct
   44  misinterpretations of legislative intent made by the courts and
   45  shall apply retroactively to proceedings pending at the time
   46  this act becomes a law.
   47         (2)(1) A person who uses or threatens to use force as
   48  permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified
   49  in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and
   50  civil action for the use or threatened use of such force by the
   51  person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against
   52  whom the force was used or threatened, unless the person against
   53  whom force was used or threatened is a law enforcement officer,
   54  as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance
   55  of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself
   56  or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person
   57  using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should have
   58  known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in
   59  this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes
   60  arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the
   61  defendant.
   62         (3)(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures
   63  for investigating the use or threatened use of force as
   64  described in subsection (2)(1), but the agency may not arrest
   65  the person for using or threatening to use force unless it
   66  determines that there is probable cause that the force that was
   67  used or threatened was unlawful.
   68         (4)(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney attorney’s
   69  fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all
   70  expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil
   71  action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the
   72  defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection
   73  (2)(1).
   74         (5) Once a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity from
   75  criminal prosecution has been raised, the burden of proof shall
   76  be on the party seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal
   77  prosecution provided in subsection (2).
   78         Section 2. The Division of Law Revision and Information is
   79  directed to replace the phrase “this act” wherever it occurs in
   80  the amendments to s. 776.032, Florida Statutes, made by this
   81  act, with the chapter law number of this act, if it becomes a
   82  law.
   83         Section 3. Section 939.061, Florida Statutes, is created to
   84  read:
   85         939.061 Motion to dismiss; costs.—
   86         (1) If a defendant files, and the court grants, a motion to
   87  dismiss claiming immunity from criminal prosecution under s.
   88  776.032, and the court determines that the state willfully or
   89  substantially violated the rules of discovery or that the
   90  state’s filing of an information violates the court’s sense of
   91  fundamental fairness, the defendant shall be reimbursed for
   92  court costs, reasonable private attorney fees, and related
   93  expenses incurred in defending the criminal prosecution, up to
   94  the limit specified in subsection (4).
   95         (2) To receive reimbursement under this section, a
   96  defendant must submit a written request for reimbursement to the
   97  Justice Administrative Commission within 6 months after the
   98  issuance of the order granting the motion to dismiss. The
   99  defendant must include with the reimbursement request an order
  100  from the court granting the motion to dismiss and documentation
  101  of any court costs or private attorney fees and related expenses
  102  paid or owed.
  103         (3) The Justice Administrative Commission shall review each
  104  request and make a determination within 30 days after receiving
  105  the request. If the requested court costs are supported by valid
  106  documentation and the requested private attorney fees and
  107  related expenses are reasonable and supported by valid
  108  documentation, the commission must approve the reimbursement
  109  request. Approved reimbursement requests must be paid to the
  110  defendant from the operating trust fund of the state attorney
  111  who prosecuted the defendant within 60 days after receipt of the
  112  approved reimbursement request.
  113         (4) A reimbursement request under this section may not
  114  exceed $200,000.
  115         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.