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NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

Florida Urgent! Stand Your Ground Bill on Senate Floor Thursday 1/21/16

DATE:

January 19, 2016

TO:

USF & NRA Members and Friends

FROM:

Marion P. Hammer

 

USF Executive Director

 

NRA Past President

 

SB-344 Burden of Proof  by Sen. Rob Bradley is on the Special Order Calendar to be heard on the Senate Floor Thursday, January 21, 2016, between 1:00-4:00pm.

 

SB-344 restores the Stand Your Ground law to the original intent of the Legislature by putting the burden of proof BACK ON THE STATE where it belongs. 

 

Through court action, prosecutors and courts have reversed the self-defense law that gives immunity from arrest, detaining in custody, charging and prosecuting until and unless an investigation reveals there is probable cause to believe the act was not lawful self-defense.  They created a special "Stand Your Ground" that forces the victim to prove innocence rather than the state prove guilt.  This bill stops that.

 

Please EMAIL the following Senate members IMMEDIATELY and ask them to SUPPORT SB-344

 

IN THE SUBJECT LINE PUT:  SUPPORT SB-344 on Special Order Thursday

 

(To send your message to all just Block and Copy All email addresses into the "Send To" box)

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These Senate members need to hear from you.  Please email them IMMEDIATELY.

 

BACKGROUND:

 

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 prosecutors and the courts 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, 1915, the majority of the Florida Supreme Court recently found that victims SHOULD have the burden of proof and prove they are "entitled to immunity provided by the Legislature."  

 

Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady and Justice Ricky Poltson strongly dissented writing 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. 

 

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. 

 

NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

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© 2015 National Rifle Association of America, Institute For Legislative Action. To contact NRA-ILA call 800-392-8683. Address: 11250 Waples Mill Road Fairfax, Virginia 22030.

 

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