No flame, but a brief (?) discussion.
Originally Posted by deadeyedick
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use or threatened use of force.—
(1) A person who uses or threatens to use force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use or threatened use of such force by the person, personal representative, or heirs of the person against whom the force was used or threatened, unless the person against whom force was used or threatened is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use or threatened use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using or threatening to use force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used or threatened was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
Nothing in that statute calls for an "immunity hearing". The immunity hearing was invented by prosecutors and judges, and when they invented it they also set the rules and set them such that the accused had to prove they were justified by a preponderance of the evidence.
But the law stipulates that "[a] person who uses or threatens to use force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in such conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action". I may be wrong but I believe that before one gets to an "immunity hearing" they have already been charged with some crime (criminal prosecution). In my mind the legislature worded the statute the way they did in order to prevent the filing of criminal charges at all unless it appears that the use (or threatened use) of force was unjustified. And if the state feels that the use or threatened use was unjustified and wishes to overcome the prohibition on arrest and prosecution, then they should have to prove it. Otherwise the state can just arrest and prosecute anybody they feel like (as they have done for so long) and nothing really changes other than the state is punished by having to cover all of your fees and opportunity costs if you ultimately prevail. That money isn't coming out of the prosecutor's or police officer's pocket, so I'd say that's little deterrent.
Now as to the standard of evidence, I might be open to whether the standard should have to be beyond a reasonable doubt, or if it should be preponderance of the evidence. That said, if it's simply preponderance of the evidence, you may have very little evidence to preponder (I used that word incorrectly on purpose). The state has a dead body and a warm gun as their evidence. You have your word that he reached for his waistband. It may be tough for you to win that one on a "preponderance of the evidence" basis.
If the state can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force was not justifiable then they cannot win a conviction at trial so you should never be put in that jeopardy in the first place. Nobody gets convicted at the outcome of an immunity hearing, so that's the perfect place for the state to make their case and if you fail there then you can suffer the insane expenses to prepare to defend your entire life in a criminal trial - instead of the state being allowed to proceed to trial (where you are at peril) with a case that they are unable to prove your conduct was not justifiable beyond a reasonable doubt. Once it goes to trial you can't take the chance on them not being able to sway a stupid jury and you have to pull out all the stops. They should never be able to make it that far if they can't prove it was unjustified beyond a reasonable doubt.
That's my opinion on the matter at present - but I'm open to arguments to the contrary.