A state Senate panel held off on a vote Thursday to expand South Carolina’s “Stand Your Ground” legal defense.
According to the Associated Press, a Senate judiciary panel put off any action on a measure that would have required prosecutors to prove an individual claiming self-defense on their property under the law was not actually in danger. The move came after more than an hour of public testimony Thursday from some who say the bill would lead to a shoot first, ask questions later attitude.
The proposal would have shifted the burden from defense attorneys to prosecutors and would give expanded appeal rights should the trial judge rule against the defense. Third Circuit Solicitor Chip Finney argued the change could clog the court system and delay justice through years of appeals. The bill’s sponsor State Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, said it should be the government’s burden to prove an individual was not defending their own home or property.
The state Supreme Court had asked lawmakers to help clarify the state’s law Wednesday in a ruling that a Charleston County woman could claim “Stand Your Ground” in her abusive boyfriend’s fatal stabbing because she was cohabiting the apartment with him at the time.
Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, said that lawmakers will need to carefully consider any changes to the legislation.