The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that “Stand Your Ground” immunity granted in criminal cases cannot be automatically transferred to civil cases filed in response to the same incident.
The standard of proof in a criminal case – beyond a reasonable doubt – differs from that in a civil case – the preponderance of the evidence (which basically means it was more likely than not something occurred in a certain way). That’s why a person can be found not guilty in a criminal trial, but still be found liable for damages in a civil case.
Many civil injury lawsuits are predicated on wrongdoing based on negligence. That is, someone owed a duty of care, that duty of care was breached and injuries resulted. However, some civil cases involve intentional torts. These can include things like assault and battery, false imprisonment or intentional infliction of emotional distress. A single incident can be the subject of both a criminal case and a civil case, but the two are entirely separate, and the outcome of one should not influence the outcome of the other, though much of the same evidence may be presented. Continue reading →