HB 169 NOTE 4: STAFF REPORT PAGES 4-5

The staff reports that in Florida when a defendant raises an affirmative defense at trial before a jury, he must make a prima facie showing of the defense and then the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove BRD that the defense is invalid. First, what happens at trial is very different from what happens in a pretrial hearing. Second, they are wrong about what happens at trial. Before a jury the defense normally has no burden of making a prima facie showing of an affirmative defense. All they have to do is raise a reasonable doubt, which can be accomplished through skillful cross-examination. And they are very wrong about the affirmative defense of insanity when they say the prosecution has the burden of disproving it BRD. There is a special statute requiring the defense to prove insanity by clear and convincing evidence. [Staff Report Pages 4-5].