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Martin v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

May 4, 2018

TYMOTHY RAY MARTIN, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Chet A. Tharpe, Judge.

          Howard L. Dimmig, II, Public Defender and Kevin Briggs, Assistant Public Defender, Bartow, for Appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee and Jonathan A. Hurley, Assistant Attorney General, Tampa, for Appellee.

          LUCAS, JUDGE.

         Tymothy Martin appeals his judgment and sentence for one count of felony battery. Mr. Martin raises several issues on appeal. Because we hold that section 776.032, Florida Statutes (2016), applies retroactively to his case, we reverse and remand for the circuit court to convene a new "Stand Your Ground" hearing under the statute as amended. Mr. Martin's remaining issues are without merit.

         I.

         One evening in February of 2016, Mr. Martin and his girlfriend, Kathryn Lawson, went out for a night on the town that ended in an altercation in a McDonald's parking lot over who should drive to their next destination. According to Ms. Lawson, Mr. Martin punched her twice in the face after she refused to get into the vehicle. According to Mr. Martin, it was he who refused to get in the car, which prompted Ms. Lawson to threaten him with a firearm; he attempted to disarm her, and in the ensuing scuffle, elbowed her in the face (and, at some point, somehow got himself shot in the arm).

         The State charged Mr. Martin with one count of felony battery causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement under section 784.041(1), Florida Statutes (2016). Mr. Martin filed a motion to establish immunity under section 776.032. The trial court held a hearing on the motion and ultimately denied it, ruling that "[a]fter hearing the testimony of the witnesses, the review of the evidence that has been offered as exhibits, the court finds that the defense has not met their burden and I'll deny the motion." (Emphasis added.) Mr. Martin's case proceeded to a jury trial, and he was convicted as charged.

         Mr. Martin filed the present appeal, but while this appeal was pending, the Florida Legislature amended section 776.032 to modify which party bears the burden of proof in a self-defense immunity hearing. See ch. 2017-72, § 1, at 898-99, Laws of Fla. (2017).[1] The Florida Legislature's amendment to section 776.032 added the following provision:

(4) In a criminal prosecution, once a prima facie claim of self-defense immunity from criminal prosecution has been raised by the defendant at a pretrial immunity hearing, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the party seeking to overcome the immunity from criminal prosecution provided in subsection (1).

         Thus, as it now stands, the State bears the burden of disproving, by clear and convincing evidence, a facially sufficient claim of self-defense immunity in a criminal prosecution. On appeal, Mr. Martin argues that this amendment is retroactive in its application, that it applies to his case, and that he is entitled to a new immunity hearing. We agree.

         II.

...


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