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One of the most important bills in the last decade, SB 1145, which restores "innocent until proven guilty" in self-defense situations, is in jeopardy of being gutted of the floor of the House. Information on SB 1145 can be found here:
SB 1145 (self-defense; home protection) restores the presumption of innocence in cases of self-defense. On February 13, 2006, amendments adopted by the Senate Judiciary Committee changed this "castle doctrine" bill into the most significant legislation ever introduced affecting anyone faced with a self-defense situation in Arizona.
The text of SB 1145 as amended can be found here:
Present law, passed in 1997 without proper discussion or debate, places the burden of proof on the VICTIM in self-defense cases. You are now in effect guilty unless you can prove your own innocence. You must admit to the underlying criminal conduct, and then demonstrate that the guilt you admitted is false by proving you were justified to a jury – at your expense. It is a prosecutor's dream and the public's worst nightmare. A criminal now has better legal protection than a person who claims self-defense after an attack: http://tinyurl.com/bn5ks
SB 1145 passed the Senate by a unanimous bipartisan (28-0) vote. On March 16, 2006, SB 1145 passed the House Judiciary committee by a vote of 6-3 and was referred to the Rules committee where, after an uncommon delay, it passed 7-0-2 on April 6, 2006. It is now, finally, headed to the House Committee of the Whole (COW).
The delay in the House Rules committee gave the Arizona Association of Prosecuting Attorneys extra time to lobby for an amendment to gut the provisions that would restore YOUR right to be "innocent until proven guilty" in a self-defense situation.
We must not let this critical legislation become the victim of political shenanigans and back-room deals!
You must contact your Representatives and let them know that they must support SB 1145 without any hostile amendments.
To find out who your Representatives are, follow this link:
If you want to email all Representatives, following the sample letter below are two lists that you can cut-and-paste. One uses semi-colon separation. The other uses comma separation. Choose the one that is compatible with your email program.
Below is a sample letter to cut-and-paste into an email message.
The Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) has informed me that SB 1145 will soon be heard by the House Committee of the Whole (COW). I strongly urge you to vote for this critical legislation without any damaging amendments. In its current form, SB 1145 passed the Senate by a unanimous 28-0 vote.
SB 1145, a "Castle Doctrine" bill, is modeled after legislation recently passed in Florida and introduced this year in many states. It bolsters the right of self-defense against violent criminal attack. However, the most critical component of this legislation was adopted as a Senate committee amendment. SB 1145 also restores the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the state, where it appropriately rested from Arizona's territorial days until a change was quietly inserted into the Omnibus Criminal Code Bill of 1997. This change in the law runs contrary to one of the basic tenets of the American justice system – a citizen is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a belief held dear for centuries.
The current burden of proof in self-defense cases is unjust by every objective measure. Current law favors the conviction of an innocent citizen. This is contrary to the foundation of the American justice system. It is wrong to deny Arizona citizens fundamental rights enjoyed by citizens in 48 other states.
As a law-abiding citizen of Arizona, I am requesting in the strongest possible terms that you support SB 1145 and vote for passage of this critical legislation, without any damaging amendments, in the COW and during the Third Read.
City, AZ zip-code
Please forward this alert to anyone on your contact list that would be concerned about their right to defend themselves and their families. We may never again have the opportunity to pass this legislation with such a strong bipartisan majority, but any hostile amendments must be defeated first!
Below are semi-colon and comma separated lists of all House members:
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