|DATE:||March 26, 2017|
|TO:||USF & NRA Members and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|Past NRA President|
Two baffling and very troubling things happened during testimony on HB-245, the Burden of Proof bill, in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, March 23, 2017.
ONE: The Florida representative of NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Moms Demand Action (MDA) gave testimony that sounded like it was written by the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA).
In testimony she claimed, "State prosecutors stand with us asserting that this bill will make it harder to prosecute gun crimes."
She went on to claim that Florida's prosecutors are already overworked and overburdened and that they have high case loads and low budgets.
Sounding more and more like State Attorney Phil Archer's mantra, she echoed Archer's previous testimony complaining about the workloads and funding of prosecutors.
All of that is troubling because according to data from the Justice Administrative Commission, State Attorneys/prosecutors had a cash surplus of over $50 million at the end of BOTH of their last two fiscal years and their case load is down over 30% for the last 5 years.
That doesn't sound like they're underfunded and overworked. They clearly have adequate staff and funding to do their jobs.
The most curious and subsequently telling thing the Bloomberg Moms leader said was, "All 20 of Florida's State Attorneys oppose this bill." That was something new that had been not reported before. It begged the question, "How could she know that?"
TWO: That question was answered pretty quickly when State Attorney Phil Archer, representing the Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said the same thing. Archer said, "I appreciate the reduction in the standard of proof. I think that makes it a little better but all 20 State Attorneys are still very much opposed to this bill."
Bingo! it looks like the prosecutors association is feeding testimony to Bloomberg's Moms Group.
But more importantly, the statement -- made by both the Bloomberg Group and State Attorney Phil Archer -- is false.
A text message from a State Attorney received shortly after the statement was made said the statement was false. So at least one State Attorney, if not more, have not taken a position against the bill.
We expect people to be truthful, particularly when they testify before committees. It is especially troubling when a State Attorney representing the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association is untruthful. Further troubling is the lack of respect for justice and innocent people who act in self-defense.
In some cases, by not doing proper investigations and by not objectively evaluating cases before charging innocent citizens in self defense cases, some prosecutors end up trying to extort plea bargains from frightened citizens to cover their lack of evidence and send innocent people to prison.
That may save prosecutors money on a trial, but it imposes an enormous financial burden and is devastating to innocent people and their families.
You need to know when the people who are elected to protect the rights of law-abiding people are willfully working to subvert those rights. Under our nation's judicial system, you are innocent until proven guilty. A prosecutor who thinks you should be guilty until you can prove yourself innocent is not looking out for you or justice.