DADE CITY, Fla. - A judge said Friday the trial for a former police captain -- accused of shooting and killing a man during an argument in a Wesley Chapel movie theater -- will not move forward until the Florida Supreme Court rules whether the changes to Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law are retroactive.
Last year, a judge rejected the Stand Your Ground defense for Curtis Reeves after he fatally shot Chad Oulson during an argument over texting inside a Pasco County movie theater.
Earlier this year, Reeves' attorneys filed a motion saying they deserve a second chance, which was rejected by an appeals court.
Lawmakers recently changed the Stand Your Ground rules by shifting the burden of proof from the defense to the prosecution. This means the state must prove that someone claiming Stand Your Ground was not in fear for their life before harming or killing another person. Before, it was up to the defendant prove they were in fear for their life.
The problem is that it’s unclear whether the law is retroactive to old cases. Two Florida courts ruled differently on the matter, so it will be up to the Florida Supreme Court to decide.
Friday, the judge ruled the trial date would be delayed until the Supreme Court’s makes a decision, a move that the lawyer for Oulson's widow, Nicole, said was devastating to her.
"We understand that the system is what it is," said her attorney, TJ Grimaldi, "but again, he gets to stay home with his family, he gets to see his grandkids, he gets to stay with his wife," said Grimaldi.
"It's the right decision," countered Reeves' attorney, Richard Escobar. "Justice doesn't have a time stamp. This is not about how quickly we can get somebody through the system, but more importantly, how can we get someone through the system correctly."