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Self-defense law needs change

Charge is ruled out in killing | Dec. 23 article

Self-defense law needs change

Accolades for Times staff writer Molly Moorhead for her analysis of the NRA's self-defense law that isn't about self-defense.

Shooting and knifings with no witnesses that cause death or serious injury are being dismissed, several in the bay area, and many more all over Florida. Why? The NRA and our Legislature have now decreed only the NRA can make these decisions and not a jury. Makes sense since our Legislature has decreed for the NRA where guns are allowed that they should also allow the NRA to decide legality of use.

Despite the fact our previous common law of self-defense was working just fine, it sent shooters to court and a jury decided if the act was justified, the NRA felt the man with the gun deserved special treatment and got it.

The problem with this new law: if there are no witnesses, the statement by the shooter that he/she felt threatened and had to defend himself can't be challenged in court! This leaves a prosecution with no case and this is why the prosecutor in the case of Lillian Fahrer simply dropped the charges as a defense attorney could tear him to pieces quoting the jury Stand Your Ground statutes. Under our old law this would have been sent to a jury and most likely she would have been acquitted.

The NRA claims juries are just out to convict gun owners who defended themselves with a gun and that's why the NRA wanted the Legislature to eliminate the jury. It's turned into a defense attorney's dream and a prosecutor's nightmare. In a self-defense case in Florida without witnesses, all charges are dropped.

You should Google "University of Miami law 2008 stand your ground law" for the first page of a professional study of the first three years of this disastrous law in Florida by the University of Miami.

We will forge ahead to get his law amended based on the University of Miami law study.

Arthur C. Hayhoe, Wesley Chapel

Red-light cameras are extortion

Well, here we go again with people wanting the Pasco County Commission to install red-light cameras.

Masquerading as a Republican commissioner, Ann Hilde­brand, who in three decades as a commissioner has never once seen a tax or fee she has not supported, is "intrigued, the concept sounded like a cool deal" to install red-light cameras to raise money for redistribution.

I no longer patronize any type of business in Port Richey. This is a loss of business to their restaurants of at least five meals a week and one or two trips to the mall.

I am a safe and attentive driver, but a short yellow can catch you in the middle of a $150 revenue-raising intersection. This is nothing but extortion.

John Altken, New Port Richey

Would like to help those who help us

Is there a fund account (hopefully a nonprofit, tax-deductible account) to which people can donate to help the firefighters in Pasco? My family would be happy to help them out since they are not getting raises next year. We would also like to know if there is a fund for the police, who I know often use their own money to help citizens they run across in their day-to-day dealings with the public in Pasco County.

I am not talking about funds they can use to give themselves parties, but money that actually helps the firefighter or police officer in their life or they can use to help truly needy people they would otherwise use their own money to help.

We gave $2,000 to Suncoast Animal League earlier this year to purchase the face masks to fit animals in Pasco County, that are caught in house fires.

Carmen Blakely, Lutz

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Self-defense law needs change 12/29/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 6:41pm]
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