“Innocent Until Proven Guilty”, or at Least it Should be!

“One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged.”

For a second time, a Florida Judge has ruled that the recent change to the Florida “Use of Force Statue” is unconstitutional. Florida is well known for its original use of force statute that was errantly called “Stand Your Ground” even though the law that was talked about is much more than those three words. The actual title of the law is “Use or threatened use of force in defense of person.
When the law passed, the Florida Courts made a change to the law in procedural law, by requiring a person who uses self-defense to prove in a hearing before any criminal trial, that they used force in self-defense. So, in other words, you had to have a hearing and prove to the court that you used force in self-defense, BEFORE you are charged with criminal charges, and the burden of proof rested on the defendant, not the State. Now I am not a lawyer, nor am I a Judge, but even I know that the US judicial system was set up so that the State must prove you are guilty of a crime and not the other way around.
I never heard anyone say the court system was supposed to be set up so that a person when accused of a crime by the State, had to prove their innocence. I have a little bit of experience in being in court, having arrested several thousand people over the last 35 years. But one thing That I always knew was that it was my job, and the job of the State Attorney to prove a person I had arrested was guilty of what I charged them with “beyond a reasonable doubt.”. It has always been the government’s job to prove guilt and not the citizen’s job to prove their innocence. The 6th Amendment in the American Constitution guarantees an individual the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial. The 6th Amendment also enables an individual to have legal assistance, regardless of the charge, and the right to confront adverse witnesses and notice of accusations. These rights are given to all men or women under trial for any wrongdoing. They establish the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra that is present in the United States legal system. It is a corner stone of our legal system. Cornell’s Law School defines this principle as this;

“One of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, holding that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. In other words, the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, each essential element of the crime charged.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.”

So when the Florida Courts mandated a hearing where the citizen had to prove their innocence, you can imagine that it did not sit well with the men and women that wrote the laws of the state of Florida. And many have said that it was a violation of the very basic principles of our Constitution. So the law makers in Florida decided to right what they saw as a wrong by the COUrts and wrote a change to the current law that simply requires that instead of the citizen having to prove their innocence that the State has to prove they did not use force in self-defense. This is as it should have been all along. In fact many think the hearing that you have to have to claim self-defense in and of itself is not right and a violation of the 6th Amendment. So the lawmakers changed it.
Well, it seems that the Judges and Courts in Florida do not like to be corrected or told they are doing something wrong. So in two recent cases, local Judges in the Miami area (this should not surprise anyone coming from that area of the state) have ruled that the new procedure that follows the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution is unconstitutional. Now you try to figure that one out.
While I am sure that these cases will ultimately end up before the Florida Supreme Court for a final ruling, until then maybe we should just follow the current laws and US Constitutional Amendments? Wouldn’t that be a novel idea?
I know from talking to many people in the legal field, including Assistant U.S. Attorney’s, State Prosecutors and Public Defenders, they are all for following the 6th Amendment. Many have expressed a desire to do away completely with the pretrial hearing as it strikes them as being almost a double jeopardy issue, having to prove the guilt or innocence more than once.
So I offer my layman’s solution to this entire ordeal. If someone uses force and claims self-defense, then if the state thinks that they did not have a legal self-defense use or violated a law, they charge them and put them on trial for that crime. If they cannot prove the citizen committed a crime, then they do not charge the person, and they are free. That is the way it has been for a couple of hundred years now and seems to work just fine. Why are we adding more trials and hearings to a criminal proceeding?
If you use force in self-defense in Florida, it is still currently the law that the State must prove you did not use it legally in self-defense, not your responsibility to prove you did. As it should have been and should always be. The Use of Force law is very easy to understand if you simply read them and try to understand them. They are not overly wordy, easy to understand, and quite clear. Here is a previous article of mine that helps to explain it a bit.
All I can say is good luck to those Judges in Miami who think following the US Constitution is Unconstitutional. But then again they are Judges in Miami of all places.

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“Everytown for Gun Safety” Group is Misleading the Public With Bogus Stats!

“So the next time you hear someone say what an “epidemic” we are having of shootings you tell them they are full of it and being misled by the media and groups who are spending millions on propaganda and not facts.”

I spend a lot of time reading and researching. Many of the things I read are studies on death and injuries in the United States. My sources are usually federally based, since relying on private groups often leads to getting information that is slanted to fit their agenda.

So it is not surprising that information derived from the “Everytown for Gun Safety” group, and others like it, tend to bend and misstate numbers to suit their agendas. My agenda is simple. I believe every American has a right to freedom, to choose how to live, how to express themselves and the right to defend themselves. When you go to Everytown’s website you are immediately hit with numbers and graphics that make several bold, anti-gun claims.

Read the rest here…

City of Ferguson Caves, Agrees to Pay Settlement to Parents of Michael Brown Despite Lawful Police Shooting

Only in today’s lefty courts of America can an attempted murderer’s parents profit from their adult son’s criminal actions and death.

I have seen and heard many things in my three decades as a cop, plus my military time. However, I recently heard that Michael Brown’s parents settled a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson for their son’s death.

These are the same parents of an 18-year-old adult who attacked and arguably tried to seriously injure or kill a police officer. The police officer was cleared in the shooting, as it was ruled justified. Yet even though justified and found lawful, the officer had to quit and move out of town for the safety of his own family. These are the same parents who, after the shooting incited violence, said, “Let’s burn this m——- down.”

Read the rest here.

It Takes a Good Guy With a Gun to Stop a Bad Guy With a Gun

“Law enforcement is reactionary by its very nature — remember, they come when you call, but you have to be able to call them.”

As news unfolded last week in this country, many things got splashed across our television screens and repeated over and over again. If the story is one of death or terror, it usually gets plenty of airtime and lots of print. A perfect example is the very newsworthy shooting at the Republican softball practice. A lunatic, left wing fringe ‘wanna-be killer’ tried to target unarmed and defenseless Congress members. It got the press time it deserved.

The attempted murder of our Congress members was stopped by two armed plain clothes police officers assigned as dignitary protection to one of the present members. Even after being wounded, they continued to engage the gunman. They were both transported to the hospital, and the gunman later died from his injuries. The other present members of Congress were fortunate the police officers had been assigned as protection.

Read the rest here.

The Media Creates the Hatred that is Directed at Law Enforcement…

“Having been stabbed with a knife and spent a month in the hospital during my service time I can tell you knives can and do kill people all the time.”

With all of the talk and media coverage of the recent shooting in Virginia on how a lunatic lefty targeted Republican Congress members, this may have gone unnoticed but for the fact that I try to read any press, positive or negative, about the profession I have worked in all of my life.

I recently caught a headline on my Twitter feed (@downrangewithcw) that jumped out at me. “Pregnant Mother Shot Dead by Cops Whom She Called for Help.” If I was an average citizen who saw that and took it as truthful news, I would be outraged. How dare the cops gun down a pregnant female who called them for help without any justification? My anger and outrage would be justified, if that was the “whole story.”

Read the rest of the story here…

Righting a Wrong Created by the Courts and Over Zealous Prosecutors…

“If the state of Florida is going to accuse a citizen of committing a crime, the state of Florida should have the burden of proof at each and every part of the proceedings.”

Yesterday was a huge step in the right direction for Constitutional believers and concealed carry license holders in Florida. The ripple effect could be felt nationwide.

Gov. Scott (R) of Florida signed SB-128 into law, correcting what many, especially the legislators in Florida who wrote the original “Justifiable Use of Force”, thought was a travesty of the courts.

What many people who are unfamiliar with self-defense laws do not know is that in Florida if you used a firearm or any other weapon in self-defense, before this Bill was signed into law, you had to have a hearing before a Judge and the prosecution to prove you used it in self-defense. This was the only way to be able to claim self-defense immunity. Yes, you read that correctly, you had to prove in a court of law that you were innocent.

 

Read the rest of the story here…

Americans Are Sick of the Negative Coverage of the President.

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“Rather than give the American people something to smile about, the media tried to bash the Commander-in-Chief.”

Having been a public servant for my entire adult life, I find it tiring to listen to the constant negative media coverage about our President and his family.

When President Obama was in office, I do not remember this type of negativity from the media. I don’t remember Hollywood crying. But what speaks more about anything the media does cover, is what it does not. Sometimes omission is as bad as overdoing something.

Did you hear about the Memorial Day meeting between 6-year-old Christian Jacobs, his mother Brittany, President Trump and Vice President Pence? Of course you didn’t. It would not play well into the negativity that we get bombarded with daily. It would show the President and Vice President in a positive light, and that can not be allowed according to the mainstream media.

Read the rest of the story here…