|DATE:||January 25, 2017|
|TO:||USF & NRA Member and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|NRA Past President|
The critically important self-defense bill, SB-128, was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Tuesday, January 24, 2017 and PASSED 5-4.
SB-128 Burden of Proof by Sen. Rob Bradley restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases by putting the burden of proof BACK ON THE STATE where it belongs. That is all the bill does.
In 2008, Prosecutors and judges – NOT THE LEGISLATURE – created a special "Stand Your Ground" hearing for self-defense cases and then reversed the burden of proof from the state to the victim in those hearings. They turned justice and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty upside down. This bill simply puts the burden of proof back on the state where it belongs.
REPUBLICAN Senators Lizbeth Benacquisto, Anitere Flores, Rene Garcia, Debbie Mayfield and Greg Steube voted YES on the bill.
DEMOCRAT Senators Randolph Bracy, Audrey Gibson, Bobby Powell and Perry Thurston voted NO on the bill.
RECAP OF THE MEETING:
The hearing was a full house -- full of women wearing red t-shirts emblazoned with Bloomberg's EVERYTOWN logo (who didn't appear to know anything about the bill, the law or the process). It also appeared they were being herded around by representatives of the League of Women Voters who walked around wearing League of Women Voters buttons on their lapels. The League's lobbyist also testified against the bill, but didn't appear to know what the bill actually does.
State Attorney from the 18th Circuit, Phil Archer testified representing the anti-gun anti-self-defense Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA). Archer railed against the bill. This is yet another case of a State Attorney sworn to uphold the constitutional rights of the taxpayers who pay his salary, violating that oath by coming to Tallahassee to testify AGAINST the rights of the people he is supposed to represent.
The presumption of innocence until proven guilty by the state is a fundamental canon of justice.
From the time you are charged with a crime all the way to the jury room, you are presumed innocent until the state proves you guilty and State Attorney Phil Archer and the Association of prosecutors and state attorneys in Florida oppose those fundamental rights.
AGAIN, if you haven't already watched it, watch this video of Senate President Joe Negron explaining why this bill is important.