A judge Wednesday morning set aside two days in March to address former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja's "stand your ground" defense, which was filed last week.
Raja is charged in the shooting death of 31-year-old Corey Jones of Boynton Beach in 2015.
A judge will hear hear the stand your ground motion on March 28 and 29.
This will now move Raja's trial date, which was scheduled for April 2, to July 16.
"We still believe we will get justice for our son, Corey, and we will not stop fighting. We will continue to keep the beat alive for our son," said Corey Jones' father Clinton Jones.
"It's a complicated case. The issues of 'stand your ground' are complicated, so there will be a hearing. That will be resolved, and we'll be ready for trial," said Raja's attorney Richard Lubin.
Raja is charged with manslaughter and attempted murder after a grand jury found his use of force was unjustified.
The incident happened overnight at the off-ramp of Interstate 95 and PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens on Oct. 18, 2015.
The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office told WPTV they’ve seen a recent increase in the number of "stand your ground" defenses.
The cause could be the recent change to the law.
Attorney Michael Salnick admits that he’s one of the many criminal defense attorneys now looking into whether the latest version of "Stand Your Ground" could apply to a few of his cases.
“You’re going to see more and more defendants explore the possibility of using it because now the burden is on the prosecution,” said Salnick.
The state law was changed last year and shifted the burden of proof from the defense to the prosecution.
“They have to show that deadly force was not necessary. They’ve got to show it beyond a reasonable doubt."
Salnick says it means criminal defense attorneys can use the law without putting their case in jeopardy, like having putting their client on the stand.
He says ultimately the bigger challenge is now on the prosecutor to prove it wasn’t self defense, instead of the defendant having to prove it was.
“Sometimes it’s a lot harder for the State to overcome their burden and that’s just our law, same with a jury trial. If the State can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, than
a person should be acquitted."
Judge pushes trial date back to July 16 @WPTV pre trial at 7/6
— Alyssa Hyman (@AlyssaHymanWPTV) January 24, 2018