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Courts in conflict on 'stand your ground' immunity

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The question of whether a finding of immunity from criminal prosecution under the state's self-defense laws also applies to a subsequent civil lawsuit could soon make its way to the Florida Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that a man who smashed a glass into the face of an attacker was entitled to have a civil case against him thrown out without a second hearing on his self-defense claim under the state's "stand your ground" law.

A trial court had already granted the man, Nirav Patel, immunity from criminal prosecution under the law following a hearing. Because the 2nd DCA's ruling conflicts with the decision in a similar case by the 3rd District Court of Appeal, the matter could be taken up by the Supreme Court, which is tasked with sorting out conflicts.

The judges in Wednesday's ruling said the civil trial court that ordered another stand your ground hearing for Patel and the 3rd DCA "necessarily contemplated that a person who uses lawful force in a single incident may be immune from one proceeding but not immune from another. The immunity statute does not permit such inconsistency."