|DATE:||March 7, 2017|
|TO:||USF & NRA Member and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|NRA Past President|
The critical self-defense bill/burden of proof bill will be heard by the full Senate on the floor Thursday, March 9, 2017. Your ACTION is needed now.
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.
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 judges reversed it.
In order to nullify parts of the Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law they didn't like, some antigun prosecutors/state attorneys and judges conspired to circumvent the law.
Through court action, prosecutors and judges reversed key provisions of the "Castle Doctrine self-defense law. They created a special "Stand Your Ground" court hearing that forces the person who acted in self-defense to prove innocence rather than the state prove guilt. In other words, victims who defend themselves against an attacker are now being treated like criminals.
Too many prosecutors are willing to put law-abiding citizens at a disadvantage to make their jobs easier. Some have become more interested in convictions than a fair application of the law.
This bill stops that and puts the law back to the original intent of the Legislature and protections they put in law.
Please EMAIL the following Senate members IMMEDIATELY and URGE them to SUPPORT SB-128
IN THE SUBJECT LINE PUT: SUPPORT SB-128 Burden of Proof
(To send your message to all just Block and Copy All email addresses into the "Send To" box)
These Senate members need to hear from you. Please email them IMMEDIATELY.
MORE DETAILED 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.
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