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Discussion in 'In the News' started by Malum Prohibitum, Aug 24, 2006.
Link: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/st ... 8903.shtml
What's described in the story is the way it should work. If the defendant believes his situation qualifies, he should file an immunity motion. The court must hear and decide that motion before anything else happens, because, if the defendant is immune from prosecution, he should not be required to undergo an arraignment, a trial, etc.
I did not know the law affected a charge from before the law was passed? But if the Judge decides it does, then the jury should not hear the case at all since that would mean he is immune from the charges the Prosecutors want to charge him with.
That makes no sense to me. It is like they are saying that if the jury finds him not guilty, then he is immune. If the judge decides that SB 396 applies, then it does not matter what the jury thinks as it is not up to them. I am sure if the prosecutors could prove the defense was not justified, they can tell the judge and he can rule that the defense was or was not valid, without the jury present.
Now if he was in a church function and shot someone. Immunity is not availible so the jury would decide if the shooting was justified.
The reason for the law is to make sure people are not put on criminal or civil trial (at great cost) who were justified in defending themselves.
I am sure the prosecutors have the same rule for police officers.
In all seriousness, that is what immunity means. Immunity from what? Immunity from trial, that is what. There should be a hearing as soon as the lawyer files a motion to determine the immunity issue.
Do these prosecutors really not understand this or are they playing ignorant because they do not like the law?
The same thing happens in civil trials. A motion for summary judgment is filed based on immunity. Case law is clear that immunity should be determined at the earliest time possible.
Benefit of the doubt: They probably don't understand it (they also may have made a "tough on crime" statement to the press just to appease the masses in an election year). How many immunity statutes are there? They just can't run into very often. If they never had a case where somebody filed an immunity motion (which happens very rarely), they wouldn't know what to do with it until they researched it. Their initial reaction might very well be, "BS, just let the jury decide." In other words, they equate statutory immunity with affirmative defense. But, as we have discussed here quite a bit, there is a big, big difference.