|DATE:||February 17, 2017|
|TO:||USF & NRA Members & Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|Past NRA President|
We urgently need your help. Our critically important self-defense bill will be heard by the House Criminal Justice Committee on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, between 8:30-10:30am.
HB-245 by Rep. Bobby Payne restores the presumption of innocence in self-defense cases by putting the burden of proof BACK ON THE STATE where it belongs.
CONTRARY to what some of the media and antigun legislators have tried to claim, this bill is NOT an expansion of the Stand Your Ground law. This bill only puts the burden of proof back on the state where it belongs and where it was before some antigun prosecutors and activist judges reversed it.
Go to this link and watch the powerful 1 minute 38 second testimony of the elected Public Defender from the 8th Judicial Circuit, Stacy Scott representing the Florida Public Defenders Association. Then PLEASE Email Legislators immediately.
Please EMAIL the following House members IMMEDIATELY and URGE them to SUPPORT HB-245
IN THE SUBJECT LINE PUT: SUPPORT HB-245 in House Criminal Justice Committee
(To send your message to all just Block and Copy All email addresses into the "Send To" box)
These House Committee members need to hear from you. Please email them IMMEDIATELY.
BACKGROUND ON BURDEN OF PROOF:
In 2005, people who exercised self-defense were being prosecuted like criminals and courts – with no legislative authority – were imposing a "duty to retreat" in self-defense cases.
Courts were instructing juries to find victims guilty if the victim had not tried to run away before fighting back against a criminal attack.
So the Legislature took action to restore the constitutional right of self-defense and created a specific, statutory right of immunity for people who defend themselves from attack.
That law prohibits arresting, detaining in custody, charging and prosecuting unless and until an investigation reveals there is probable cause to believe the act was not lawful self-defense.
But some prosecutors and judges didn't like it so they found a way to usurp the law and bypass the intent of the Legislature.
With no legislative authority, they created a special "Stand Your Ground" hearing and reversed the burden of proof from the state to the victim. Through case law, they changed a legislative law they didn't like.
They effectively created the presumption of guilt for the exercise of self-defense.
After conspiring to create an extra hearing in self-defense cases, prosecutors are now arguing that it would be ‘too much work for them' if the State has the burden of proof in this additional hearing and they actually have to prove their cases.
And in July, 2015, the majority of the Florida Supreme Court found that victims SHOULD have the burden of proof and prove they are "entitled to immunity provided by the Legislature." It is an outrageous opinion.
Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Poltson strongly objected and in dissenting opinion, Canady wrote that the majority opinion, "substantially curtails the benefit of the immunity from trial conferred by the Legislature under the Stand Your Ground law."
Further, he wrote that the majority "cannot justify curtailing the immunity ..." And that this problem is a matter for the Legislature to resolve.
In other words it's up to the Legislature to put it back. This bill fixes it. It places the burden of proof back on the state where it belongs. And it restores the right of the presumption of innocence and the right of self-defense.
Just in case you haven't seen it, go here to watch the video of Senate President Joe Negron explaining why this bill is important.