State courts say civil, criminal "stand your ground" cases can be separate

Published: Sep. 28, 2017 at 4:24 PM EDT
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By: Associated Press

September 28, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Winning a "stand your ground" hearing to avoid criminal prosecution in Florida doesn't automatically grant immunity from civil suits.

That's what the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a case involving a Tampa bar fight in which one patron smashed a cocktail glass into the face of another, causing him to lose sight in one eye.

Court documents say Ketan Kumar attacked Nirav Patel without provocation and Patel responded by hitting him with the glass. Patel was charged with felony battery, but was granted immunity from prosecution under Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law.

Kumar sued Patel, and Patel claimed the state law protects people found to be acting in self-defense from civil liability.

An appeals court agreed, but the Supreme Court ruled a separate immunity process is required for civil cases.