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Florida court may relieve gun owners of burden of proof in ‘Stand Your Ground’ cases

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An appeal before the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday could shift the burden of proof for the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, relieving gun owners of a legal duty to prove self-defense when they brandish weapons in violent confrontations.

If the high court sides with Jared Bretherick, who was charged with aggravated assault for pointing a pistol at a man in a road-rage incident, the burden of proof would be shifted to prosecutors to show that a defendant claiming the law’s protection did not act in self-defense.

The 2005 law allows citizens to use deadly force when they reasonably perceive that their lives or the lives of others are in danger.

Court records indicate Bretherick was riding with his family on Dec. 29, 2011, when a passing vehicle driven by Derek Dunning nearly sideswiped their SUV near Orlando.

The Indiana family said Dunning cut them off and stopped his own SUV in front of them, jumping out, and that driver Ronald Bretherick called 911 and showed his holstered gun to warn the man away.

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The Brethericks said Dunning returned to his vehicle but backed it up toward them. Jared Bretherick then took his father’s gun and stood beside their vehicle. Deputies said the younger man was pointing the gun at Dunning’s SUV when they arrived.

No shots were fired. Jared Bretherick said he heard Dunning say he had a gun, although none was found, and he was charged with aggravated assault. He said he stayed by the SUV to protect his father, a disabled veteran, until police arrived.

Judge Scott Polodna denied “Stand Your Ground” immunity at a hearing in June 2012, saying Dunning was not committing a violent crime, and had retreated by returning to his own SUV.Faced with a mandatory three-year sentence if convicted, Bretherick appealed and a district appellate court asked the state Supreme Court to decide the proof issue.

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The National Rifle Association has filed a brief supporting Bretherick.

The NRA-backed “Stand Your Ground” law drew nationwide attention in the 2012 fatal shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was acquitted in 2013.

This year’s Florida legislative session produced a new law permitting gun owners to display their weapons, or even fire warning shots, to ward off attackers without facing assault charges if they fear death or injury.

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(Reporting by Bill Cotterell; Editing by David Adams and Mohammad Zargham)


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Former Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris flees the US as he faces two dozen lawsuits

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Facing more than two-dozen lawsuits alleging he committed real estate fraud, former "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Clayton Morris has reportedly fled the United States, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Morris, who previously resided in a $1.4 million home in New Jersey, moved his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal, the newspaper reported, citing a Facebook post from his wife.

Morris's wife and business partner, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, told the IndyStar that she and her husband plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad.

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Trump defenders argued his latest tweets weren’t really racist — but he just completely undercut their arguments

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If you try to defend President Donald Trump, you will always end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It's a law of nature.

And yet, so many of the president's allies have failed to learn this simple lesson. So when Trump launched a new attack at progressive Democratic lawmakers that was one of his most obviously racist smears, inevitably, some of his defenders tried to deny the obvious truth.

His screed attacked a group of women who have come to define the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Talib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA). Though only Omar is an immigrant (she was a refugee from Somalia as a child), Trump seemed to assume all four women of color weren't born in the United States, and most egregiously, he suggested they should "go back" to other countries:

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Trump is facing massive criticism for his attacks on young women of color in Congress

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US President Donald Trump came under fire from Democrats and even some members of his own Republican Party on Monday after launching an extraordinary xenophobic attack on four progressive Democratic congresswomen.

"All they do is complain," Trump told reporters at a White House event featuring products "Made in America."

"These are people that hate our country," he said of the four lawmakers. "If you're not happy here, you can leave."

Trump also accused the four first-term congresswomen -- who are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African American origin -- of having "love" for US "enemies like Al-Qaeda."

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