The case of the retired Tampa police captain accused of shooting a man in a Pasco County movie theater will return to court Friday as defense lawyers seek a new stand your ground hearing.
Attorneys for Curtis Reeves have renewed their call for a judge to grant him immunity from prosecution under the controversial self-defense law, citing a recent change in the law, which shifted the burden of proof in such cases to prosecutors.
If the judge declines, Reeves' lawyers want a February trial date postponed until after the Florida Supreme Court decides whether the new law can apply retroactively.
The state filed a written response Tuesday, arguing that the judge is not required to grant a new hearing or delay the trial.
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Susan Barthle will hear the matter at 1 p.m. Friday.
Reeves, 75, is not expected to attend.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 'Stand your ground' decision raises prospect of new hearing in Pasco theater shooting (May 9, 2018)
He is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 13, 2014, shooting of Chad Oulson in the Cobb Grove 16 theaters. The men argued after Reeves told Oulson to stop using his cell phone during movie previews. Oulson approached Reeves, grabbed a bag of popcorn and threw it at him. An instant later, Reeves drew a handgun and shot Oulson in the chest.
Lawyers for Reeves asked for the case to be dismissed based on the stand your ground law, which says a person has no duty to retreat and can use deadly force if in fear of great bodily harm or death.
In a two-week hearing in the spring of 2017, the burden was on the defense to prove that Reeves feared Oulson was about to start beating him when he made the decision to shoot.
The judge ultimately didn't buy it, clearing the way for a trial.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Appeals court denies challenge to 'stand your ground' ruling in Pasco theater shooting (May 11, 2018)
But weeks after the judge denied Reeves immunity from prosecution, the state Legislature passed an amended version of stand your ground. The new law puts the burden on prosecutors to prove that a defendant was not in fear when he or she used deadly force.
Appeals courts have issued conflicting decisions about whether the new law can apply to cases that were ongoing when it was passed.
The issue is now at the center of a case before the Florida Supreme Court.