PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Stand Your Ground. Three words. One controversial defense that will be put to the test here in Palm Beach County.
The officer accused of killing of a local drummer along the side of an I-95 ramp, now plans to use “Stand Your Ground” to fight the charges.
Officer Nouman Raja’s attorneys filed the ten-page motion claiming this is a "classic case
Now, because of a change in state law, it’s up to the state to prove it wasn’t.
For CJ Jones, there is yet another detour on the long road to justice.
The former police officer charged with killing his brother, Corey Jones, is trying to get a judge to dismiss the charges more than two years after shooting.
According to the motion filed late Thursday, Raja’s attorney’s claim this was a “classic case” of self- defense and they’re using Florida’s controversial "Stand Your Ground" law to prove their point.
“The generic "Stand Your Ground" law is there. Is no duty to retreat,” said criminal Defense Attorney Gregg Lerman.
“If you are in fear that that your life or the lives of others are in danger you can use force to defend yourself."
Lerman explained Raja's defense is trying to benefit from recent changes to the law that requires the other side, the prosecutor, to prove it wasn’t self-defense before the trial.
“Is there enough evidence for the government to establish by clear and convincing evidence that officer Raja was the aggressor and that Corey Jones was acting in self-defense?”
The law has been intertwined in some of the state’s highest profile cases.
One of those cases included Civil Rights Attorney John Phillips. He represented the family of Jordan Davis, who was shot and killed by Michael Dunn in Jacksonville over a loud music argument.
Dunn tried twice to use the "Stand Your Ground" law as a defense.
It took two trials to get Michael Dunn convicted for the murder of Jordan Davis, largely because it’s a confusing statute,” said Phillips.
The facts of that case are much different from that of the Norman Raja’s.
“That will be the ultimately question at the hearing. Did Raja have a reasonable belief that deadly force was going to be used against him?”
The other question, "what did Corey Jones think and the problem is, Corey Jones can’t answer that question."
Phillips says the recent changes to the law have made it even harder for prosecutors to seek justice.
“Stand Your Ground has created burdens on the prosecution to keep proving their cae the entire way.”
This latest motion could drag out this case even longer.
Both sides will have to argue this first. And depending on who wins, it could lead to either an appellate court or continue on to trial.