The Ohio legislature recently passed gun legislation that initially was billed as a “stand your ground” law. The stand your ground portion addressed the duty to retreat prior to using deadly force, however this portion of the bill was stricken from the final bill passed by the Ohio Senate. While the bill contains numerous positions, those facing criminal charges in self-defense situations are particularly interested in the shifting of the burden from the defendant to the State. Under prior Ohio law, a defendant must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he acted in self-defense. Under the newly passed law, the State will be required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant did not act in self-defense. This shift is monumental from a charging standpoint and even more so from a trial standpoint.
On December 19, 2018, Governor John Kasich vetoed HB 228. Today (12/27/2018), the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate each voted to override the veto, causing HB 228 to pass over the Governor’s veto. The new law will go into effect 90 days from today.