Posts

Which Presidential Candidate Sides With You?

Charles Schelle and Mark Maley in their Sarasota Patch column “Online Tool Matches Voters with Ideal Presidential Candidate” note that “Floridians’ presidential preference leans more Libertarian in this online free quiz that takes an in-depth look at your stance on a range of issues, then compares them to candidates’ responses … A new website launched earlier this year to help voters match up with their ideal candidate, and it’s quickly gaining popularity through social media channels. In fact, according to iSideWith.com’s homepage, more than a million people have taken the free quiz to determine their ideal candidate since it launched in March.”

The free quiz may be taken by going to iSideWith.com.

According to Schelle and Maley, “The selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate has put presidential race into overdrive now that we know who all the players are.”

“But do you really know which presidential candidate best matches your stance on those issues? It may surprise you to find out who Floridians’ beliefs support,” note Schelle and Maley.

According to the iSideWith.com’s website Florida goes with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on domestic policy, healthcare and immigration issues. Who Florida sides with by party are: 51% are Democrat, 41% Green,  39% Republican and 37% Libertarian. This non-scientific survey shows Florida’s favorites in order: Libertarian Gary Johnson, Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Ron Paul and Republican Mitt Romney. Note that the three conservatives are most in line with how Floridians stand.

The question is will the Libertarian and Ron Paul vote go for Romney in November? Ideology may trump candidate support once inside the voting booth.

 

CFO Jeff Atwater Endorses Five for Florida Plan

Americans for Properity – Florida (AFP-FL) announces that Florida CFO Jeff Atwater endorsed Five for Florida plan.

“I am pleased to announce my endorsement of Five for Florida. The most important issue facing the State of Florida currently is creating and maintaining jobs, and the Five for Florida plan will create a better economic environment and spur job creation,” said Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

He continued, “Candidates, regardless of party, should be supporting this plan because it speaks to government accountability, transparency and job creation. I am confident that if the policies outlined in Five for Florida are implemented by the Legislature, we will save the taxpayers money while encouraging economic development in our state.”

CFO Atwater joins 90 other Florida elected officials and candidates in endorsing Five for Florida and showing their commitment to a better Florida. Citizens all around the state have been endorsing the plan as well, supporting government transparency, financial accountability, the end of cronyism, increased school choice, and the elimination of barriers to entry for entrepreneurs.

A recent poll shows Florida voters across party lines support the reforms in Five for Florida. A recent poll of “likely” voters showed that there is broad-based support for the reforms in the Five for Florida plan amongst Floridians.

SEE SUMMARY OF THE POLL HERE

The poll shows a majority of Floridians, regardless of party affiliation or cultural background, think that Florida’s government can do better and that the reforms proposed in our Five for Florida plan have broad based public support and should be enacted in the next legislative session.

“Candidate’s who ignore these survey results are doing so at their own peril,” said Slade O’Brien, Execitive Director of Americans for Prosperity in Florida. “They have a choice, they can continue to serve the special interests and those that feed at the public trough or they can side with a public that clearly wants more economic opportunity, transparency, accountability and educational choice,” O’Brien noted.

Sixty-Five Percent of Floridians Purchased “Red” Books

Amazon.com released a “Heat Map” showing purchases of political books by state. The map breaks down all purchases into “blue” or “red” book categories. According to the map nation wide 44% of purchases are “Blue” Books and 56% of purchases are “Red” Books. In Florida 65% purchased red books.

Minnesota and Maryland came in even with 50% blue and 50% red. Mississippi has the distinction of having the highest number of red book buyers at 73%. Only four states and the District of Columbia have a majority of blue book buyers. These blue book buyer states are: New York (54%), Massachusetts (58%), Rhode Island (52%)  and Vermont (61%). The District of Columbia has the highest number of blue book buyers at 68%. California may be in the political tossup column with 51% buying red books.

Amazon.com website did this because, “[G]iven the high interest we’ve seen in political books during election years, we thought our customers would like to see what general book buying patterns emerge across the country, and how they change over time.”

According to their website here is how Amazon.com created the Heat Map:

Amazon customers, as we know, read widely and often buy books that don’t necessarily fit their own views. Books aren’t votes, and a map of book purchases can reflect curiosity as much as commitment, but we hope our 2012 Election Heat Map will provide one way to follow the changing political conversation across the country during this election season.

How do we calculate the red and blue percentages on our Heat Map?

Our 2012 Election Heat Map colors each state according to the percentage of red and blue book purchases, based on shipping address, that have been made on Amazon.com during the past 30 days. We take the top-selling political books on Amazon.com and categorize them as “red,” “blue,” or neutral. We classify books as red or blue if they have a political leaning made evident in book promotion material and/or customer classification, such as tags. We compute percentages, updated daily, for each state and the US by comparing the 250 best-selling blue books during the time period against the 250 best-selling red books during the same time period, including new book launches. If the same book title has multiple formats (paperback, Kindle books and Audible Audio), each format has a separate sales calculation. The list only includes paid, not free Kindle books. All orders during the period are given equal weighting in the calculation. States with higher percentages of red or blue purchases are colored more darkly, and states with an even 50-50 split are colored neutral.

What is the definition of a “red state” and a “blue state” in the US?

In recent years, thanks to the color-coded maps the networks use on election night, “red state” has come to represent a state favoring the Republican Party, while “blue state” represents one that favors the Democratic Party. We know that states are not all red or all blue, and readers aren’t either. And books are often too complex to fit into such neat categories. But given the high interest we’ve seen in political books during election years, we thought our customers would like to see what general book buying patterns emerge across the country, and how they change over time.

Will the Amazon Heat Map be factored in by pundits and Real Clear Politics? We shall see.

BRICKS, PIPES AND ANARCHIST GRAFFITI FOUND NEAR RNC CONVENTION CENTER

Tampa Bay Online is reporting that graffiti (pictured right) was found on a downtown rooftop at Florida Avenue and Tyler Street, along with bricks and pipes. The building is just one mile from the Tampa Bay Forum where the Republican National Convention is being held. The potential weapons were accidentally found by local chiropractor Joseph Papilla. His offices are in the building where the potential weapons were found. “It was quite disturbing,” Papilla said.

A National Terror Alert was issued stating, “Federal authorities are urging law enforcement agencies across the country to watch out for signs that extremists might be planning to wreak havoc at the upcoming political conventions — by blocking roads, shutting down transit systems and even employing what were described as acid-filled eggs.”

Tampa Bay Online notes, “The graffiti included the numeral ’99’ and an image of a person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, similar to those worn by Occupy protesters last year. Fawkes was an Englishman who tried to bomb Parliament in the early 1600s. The masks became symbols for the Occupy protesters after the film ‘V for Vendetta,’ in which an anarchist models himself as a modern Fawkes and rebels against a fascist government.” An attempt to bomb the Republican National Convention was foiled in 2008.

The Occupy The RNC official website states, “Security will be concentrated in the Green Zone which will establish a legalized police state up to a 5 mile radius around downtown Tampa. This leaves the rest of the city and Bay area open and available for decentralized actions. People that require the law enforcement to be everywhere, ensure law enforcement cannot be effective anywhere.” [My emphasis]

Bricks, pipes or acid filled eggs thrown from roof tops could be aimed at either law enforcement providing protection for convention attendees or the attendees and the press. Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor notes, “Finding those items for us was not a surprise. This is historically how these things proceed before a large political event such as the RNC.” Not very comforting to attendees.

The recent case of vandalism in nearby Sarasota, Florida has locals nervous and on edge. The placement of potential weapons before the security cordon is enforced could be a sign of future violence against police and convention attendees. It is difficult to determine how many caches of potential weapons have been placed already by the anarchists on surrounding roof tops, in alleys and even within local buildings. This discovery bodes ill for a peaceful time next week during the Republican National Convention and at the Democrat National Convention in September.

The Occupy The RNC official website Action page has warlike phrases and quotes from Sun Tsu’s the Art of War. This quote appears:  ”Those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.” -Sun Tzu, Art of War.

The Occupy The RNC official logo (below) is dark and foreboding with a raised fist coming out of a  dead GOP elephant with red letters announcing a “counter RNC protests”. It reminds one of the “Dark Knight” movie that ended in tragedy. Among the organizations endorsing Occupy the RNC include groups that have caused violence and death both in the United States and overseas such as: CODEPINK, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and Occupy Wall Street.

Tampa gird your loins for history tells us that vandalism always precedes violence.

RELATED COLUMN:

Feds warn anarchists could blockade roads, use acid-filled eggs to protest conventions

DHS Stonewalls Florida on access to SAVE Database

Nearly a month has passed since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agreed to grant Florida access to the federal citizenship database (also known as the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database, or SAVE). Florida still cannot access the SAVE system to identify and remove non-citizens from the voting rolls, and we are now less than three months away from the 2012 general election.

Given the Department of Homeland Security’s failure to execute an agreement over the last month, after agreeing to provide Florida access to SAVE, attorneys representing the State of Florida and its citizens are now preparing all appropriate legal options to ensure that an agreement is executed in a timely manner and prevent the irreparable harm that will result if non-citizens are not removed from the voting rolls.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is releasing an obsolete list of potential non-citizens registered as voters that was generated months ago. Governor Scott supports the decision to release the list. However, as the Department of State has said, the list is a preliminary and unverified former working document that is being provided upon request. The data has not been verified or vetted for credibility or reliability by the Florida Department of State. This information is now outdated, should be considered obsolete, and will not be used as the basis for any action by the Florida Department of State. Accordingly, removing non-citizens from the voting rolls requires additional analysis and specific procedures governed by state law to accurately determine voter eligibility.

Given the sensitivity of this information and citizens’ right to privacy, as well as the proximity to a major primary election next week, anyone who obtains these public records must handle them with the utmost caution. Some have rightly raised concerns about the irresponsible use of these names and other accompanying personal information for political and other purposes. The Governor shares these concerns and further cautions all recipients of this list to act responsibly.

Higher Gas Prices Add to Economic Slump

Courtesy of the Heritage Foundation:

Unemployment is at 8.3 percent. The economy is sputtering at 1.5 percent growth. Food prices are rising due to drought conditions across the country. And gas prices are up again, pinching Americans’ summer budgets. It is past time for the President and Congress to pursue smart policies that would put us on a path to relief.

According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for regular is $3.66 per gallon. That’s up 28 cents per gallon from a month ago, and July had its biggest price jump since AAA started tracking prices in 2000. To see the average for Florida click here.

There are many factors affecting prices that we cannot control—worldwide tensions, especially in the Middle East, can drive up oil prices. Global demand, especially from China and India’s rapidly growing economies, continues upward.

But after three years of adding regulatory hurdles and blocking exploratory access and development, President Obama’s policies are helping keep prices higher than necessary.

If the President truly wanted to lower gas prices, he would work to increase supply. But when given the opportunity, he has done the opposite. He turned down the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada. His Administration has made it even harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy resources by canceling, delaying, or withdrawing a number of lease sales for exploration and development. Meanwhile, huge swaths of federal lands have been put off limits for energy exploration.

Domestic refinery outages have had a recent impact on gas prices. Two of the factors holding back domestic energy production are regulatory red tape and litigation—and these, we can do something about. As Heritage’s Nicolas Loris notes:

Environmental activists delay new energy projects by filing endless administrative appeals and lawsuits. Creating a manageable time frame for permitting and for groups or individuals to contest energy plans would keep potentially cost-effective ventures from being tied up for years in litigation while allowing the public and interested parties to voice opposition or support for these projects.

We don’t have to stand still. Congress could alleviate the energy crunch in 10 different ways by taking action on things we can control, like restrictions on oil shale development and offshore drilling.

One of the most common objections is that increasing domestic oil production takes too long and would not impact the market for at least a decade. The longer people make this argument, however, the longer it will take. The sooner we make investments in domestic energy, the sooner those benefits will be realized. And with some serious reforms, some of this oil can reach the market in much less than a decade.

Gas prices aren’t under the control of any one President. But Americans shouldn’t settle for policies that restrict oil exploration, refining, and production and artificially drive prices higher.

MORE FROM THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION:

High Gas Prices: Obama’s Half-Truths vs. Reality

President Obama’s 10 Worst Energy Policies

Florida Group Reaches Out to Evangelicals

The United West (TUW), a group of academic activists, is now reaching out to Evangelicals in Florida. The outreach is focused on educating Evangelicals on national security issues, Israel and threats against freedom of religion. Tom Trento, President of TUW states, “We will ask Evangelicals to register and vote in the primaries on August 14 and general election on November 6, 2012. We do not tell them how to vote but encourage them to vote.”

Tom Trento notes, “In the 2008 Presidential election one million Florida Evangelicals either did not register or did not vote. This is a travesty and must be addressed. We are addressing this issue in the swing state of Florida.

NewsMax reports, “Some 17 million Evangelicals failed to vote in 2008 when Democrat Barack Obama beat the GOP’s John McCain — and now the fight is on to get them there this November,” Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed says.

November’s election is critical, Reed said, because President Barack Obama is “somebody who’s called for more government, more spending, more bureaucracy. He seems to think the answer to everything that ails America is more government and bigger government.” Reed also said he believes the Obama administration is engaged in an attack on religious freedom.

According to The United West, Florida accounts for nearly 6% of the national Evangelical vote and they are concentrated in a key state. President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have visited Florida numerous times, underlining the importance of the state in November. It was the Florida primary that helped propel Governor Romney to become the presumptive Republican nominee. Governor Romney spent over $15 million to win the Florida Republican presidential primary. Over 8.1 million Floridians voted on the 2008 Presidential ballot; had the aforementioned one million evangelicals voted they would have made up 12.5% of the electorate.

Trento states, “President Obama won Florida in 2008 by 204,577 votes. He took key areas, such as Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties by a plus 47,000 votes. It is important to insure the faith based community is well informed, registers and votes. That is what we do as academic activists – inform the public on important issues. If Evangelicals register and vote it can make a huge difference in who takes Florida in November.”

Faith-based issues are becoming a more important part of the national dialogue, including President Obama’s recent announcement that he supports gay marriage. Florida Proposition 2–“The Marriage Amendment“–was passed in 2008 by a margin of 61% to 39% and is now in the state Constitution. As more information is revealed about the Affordable Health Law and its impact on businesses, organizations and churches providing health services more are becoming engaged. Evangelicals are now paying attention.

According to NewsMax, “Conservative Christians and Evangelical conservatives will play a big role in the upcoming election,” Reed said, “and they support Romney by about 60 percent, compared to previous support for John McCain (73 percent) and George W. Bush (78 percent) … the Evangelical vote, which has historically been between 20 and 23 percent of the electorate, turns out in the largest numbers ever seen in a presidential election.”

With long lines at Chick-Fil-A last week will Florida see long lines at the polls in November? Only time will tell what the faith based value voters will do in Florida.

RELATED COLUMNS:

Rasmussen: 87% Oppose Letting Government Officials Play Politics In the Marketplace

Rasmussen: 61% Hold Favorable Opinion of Chick-fil-A

Rubio vs Rooney on Muslim Brotherhood

Senator Marco Rubio appears to be following the lead of Senator John McCain on national security issues. From Egypt to Libya to Syria to the Muslim Brotherhood, Rubio parrots McCain.

Those who expected Senator Rubio to be an independent thinker on national security issues such as the defense of Israel and the threat of shari’ah Islam are having second thoughts. Some are questioning his national security credentials, which appear to be: follow the lead of Senator McCain.

While Senator Rubio during his campaign stated he supports Israel recent comments fly in the face of that support.

Senator Rubio has attacked fellow Florida member of Congress and Iraq war veteran Tom Rooney (FL-16) who in a letter called for an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the CIA.

Alex Seitz-Wald’s column “Rubio Condemns Bachmann” on Salon.com states, “Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star in the party and a potential vice-presidential pick for Mitt Romney, said this morning that he disagreed with Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s baseless call to investigate Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government.” The Muslim Brotherhood has gained control of Libya and Egypt. Shariah Islamists appear to be leading the rebellion in Syria. HAMAS and al Qaeda are Muslim Brotherhood terrorist entities.

Seitz-Wald reports, “I am not a signatory to that letter,” Rubio said of Bachmann’s [and Rooney’s] letters to the inspectors general of several national security agencies demanding investigations. “I don’t share the feelings that are in that letter.”

The Center for Security Policy responded to comments made on the Senate floor by McCain. According to their website, “Sen. McCain made clear [during his Senate floor speech] that he: had not actually reviewed the curriculum; was unfamiliar with its extensive documentation of a stealthy ‘civilization jihad’ being mounted against this country, its civil society institutions and government; and misrepresented its findings.  By contrast, with the benefit of that resource and their own extensive research, the [five] Representatives wrote the State Department Inspector General, Amb. Harold Geisel, making the factual observation that his agency has recently adopted a number of policies that are ‘enormously favorable to the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests’.”

Representative Rooney in the letter went on to characterize those policies as ones that are “deeply problematic and may even pose security risks for this nation, its people and interests.”

Florida was mentioned 56 times in the 9/11 Commission report. Eleven of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were in Florida and three of the pilots, including Mohammed Atta the leader of the 9/11 plot, were trained in Venice, Florida. Many former members of the defense and intelligence community are concerned that Senator Rubio does not have a firm grasp of the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations to the United States.

Center for Security Policy President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. said, “Congresswoman Bachmann and her colleagues have rendered a tremendous public service by raising an alarm about the dangers posed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘civilization jihad.’  Far from being chastised for doing so, by Sen. McCain or others, they should be applauded and aided in their efforts to have the extent of Brotherhood influence operations properly investigated by Inspectors General and/or congressional committees.”

Related report from the Center for Security Policy:

Report Reveals Radical Islamist Views and Agenda of Senior State Department Official Huma Abedin’s Mother

Florida has lowest crime rate in 41 years

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey joined local and state criminal justice officials today to announce the 2011 Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida’s crime rate dropped 0.8 percent compared to 2010.

In the past few years the Florida has passed legislation that allows citizens to defend themselves under the “Stand Your Ground” laws. Floridians may carry concealed weapons and the use of a firearm in the conduct of a crime carries stiff penalties.

“While it is good news that Florida’s crime rate is at a 41-year low, we must continue to remember that each crime represents a victim whose rights must be protected,” said Governor Rick Scott. “On behalf of all Floridians and visitors to our state, I applaud the dedication and hard work of our law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to make our state safer and our communities more secure.”

The total number of crimes dropped 0.1 percent last year. The number of violent crimes (murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault) was down by 3.7 percent.

“Florida’s crime rate is the lowest it has been in 41 years,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “We are blessed to live in a state with such dedicated law enforcement officers and prosecutors, and we must always remember the great sacrifices they make for our safety.”

“Overall, the 2011 Uniform Crime Report is good news,” said Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “Since FDLE began tracking crime statistics in 1971, citizens are safer today than any time in the last four decades.”

The report showed a 0.2 percent decrease in the number of murders, a 0.1 percent decrease in forcible sex offenses, a 1.8 percent decrease in robberies and a 5 percent drop in aggravated assault.

Non-violent crime (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) increased 0.4 percent. Burglary and larceny each rose 0.7 percent. The number of motor vehicle thefts decreased by 4.4 percent.

“Florida’s Sheriffs and Deputies are willing to give their lives to protect Florida, and we are grateful for their sacrifice and for another year of reduced crime,” said Steve Casey, executive director of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “The 2011 Uniform Crime Report demonstrates our collaborative work is paying off and that we are maintaining our quality of life.”

“The continued decline in Florida’s overall crime rate is a positive reflection of the hard work being done by law enforcement officers around the state in cooperation with the citizens they serve,” said Florida Police Chief’s Association First Vice President and Tallahassee Police Department Chief Dennis Jones. “Without the support of our community partners, our efforts to reduce and prevent crime would not be possible.”

Domestic violence offenses continued to decline in 2011, showing a 1.5 percent drop from 2010 numbers. Cohabitants continue to be the largest group of victims in this category, with spouses remaining the second largest group.

“We appreciate the hard work and partnerships with law enforcement to keep domestic violence survivors and their children safe and hold perpetrators accountable,” said Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence President and CEO Tiffany Carr. “While we are certainly pleased to see that overall domestic violence crimes continued to decline slightly in 2011, we are committed to work with our law enforcement partners to address the significant increase in stalking.”

Violent crimes committed by firearms continued to drop from 25,184 in 2010 to 24,737 in 2011. The number of justifiable homicides increased in 2011. Seventy felons were killed by police officers, compared to 56 in 2010. The number of felons killed by private citizens increased to 48, compared to 40 in 2010.

The report also contains information on officers killed feloniously. Seven law enforcement officers and one correctional officer died from criminal causes while on duty during 2011. In addition, three law enforcement officers died accidently during the course of duty.

The complete 2011 Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website at www.fdle.state.fl.us/fsac/ucr/.

George Zimmerman and the Inalienable Right to Self-Defense

George Zimmerman was released from custody on Friday after posting a $1 million bond. Mr. Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges. He has invoked Florida Statue 776.012, known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, as the basis of his justification to shoot Trayvon Martin.

A stand-your-ground law states that a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. In some cases, a person may use deadly force in public areas without a duty to retreat. Under these legal concepts, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations and the “stand your ground” law would be a defense or immunity to criminal charges and civil suit. Florida statute 776.012 states:

Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

The right to self-defense has been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)) the SCOTUS found that a man who was “on his premises” when he came under attack and “…did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm…was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground.”

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. declared in Brown v. United States (256 U.S. 335, 343 (16 May 1921)), a case that upheld the “no duty to retreat” maxim, that “detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife”.

The question is: Did Mr. Zimmerman use the necessary force to “prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself”?

The fact that Trayvon Martin was unarmed does not prevent the use of deadly force. The determination of “imminent death or great bodily harm” is determined by the person being attacked, not the attacker.

In a Fox News interview noted trial attorney Alan Dershotitz stated, “This affidavit submitted by the prosecutor in the Florida case is a crime. It’s a crime.”

“If she [Angela Cory, the Florida state attorney and special prosecutor who Gov. Rick Scott appointed to handle the case] in fact knew about ABC News’ pictures of the bloody head of Zimmerman and failed to include that in the affidavit, this affidavit is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Dershowitz said. “It’s a perjurious affidavit.”

Even worse, Dershowitz warned that by overcharging Zimmerman, Cory may have planted the seed for riots if he is acquitted, as Dershowitz predicted will happen.

“If there are riots, it will be the prosecutor’s fault because she overcharged, raised expectations,” Dershowitz said. “This prosecutor not only may have suborned perjury, she may be responsible, if there are going to be riots here, for raising expectations to unreasonable levels.”

He said it is quite possible Zimmerman was guilty of a lesser charge, but the affidavit does not support a second-degree murder charge.

Florida Statute 776.012 allows defendants to make their self-defense case at a hearing presided over by a judge and without the use of a jury. If the judge deems self-defense was justified, the case can be dismissed without going to trial.

Florida Stand Your Ground Law:

2011 Florida Statutes CHAPTER 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

(5) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

FL Primary Voting Registration Ends July 16, 2012

With a primary election approaching, here is voter information from the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections office:

In order to register to vote in Florida, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of America
  • Be a Florida resident
  • Be 18 years old (A person who is otherwise qualified may preregister on or after his/her 16th birthday and may vote in any election on or after his/her 18th birthday.)
  • Not now be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state
  • Not have been convicted of a felony without your right to vote having been restored
  • Provide your current and valid Florida driver license number or Florida identification card number. You must provide the last four of your Social Security number if you do not have a Florida driver license number or a Florida identification card number. If you have not been issued any of these items, you must write “NONE” in the box indicated on the Voter Registration Application.

How to Apply to Register to Vote

  • Fill in the Voter Registration Application online. If you wish, you can print the application and write your information in with a black ballpoint pen.
  • For the Voter Registration Online Application in Spanish select this link.
  • Print the application out.
  • Verify that all the information on your application is complete. The office where you register, your decision not to register, your Social Security number, Florida driver license number and Florida ID card number will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes.
  • Sign your application. The application requires an original signature because you are swearing to or affirming an oath.
  • Mail your application to your county supervisor of elections. (Requires first class postage stamp.) You may also hand-deliver the application to any supervisor of elections office in the state, a driver license office, a voter registration agency or armed forces recruitment office, or to the Division of Elections.
  • If your application is complete and you qualify as a voter, the supervisor of elections will mail you a voter information letter as official notification that you are registered to vote. Make sure all of the information in your letter is correct. If you do not receive a confirmation letter within 8 weeks, or if you have any questions, call your supervisor of elections.

NOTE: You must be registered for at least 29 days before you can vote in an election.

If the information on the application is not true, the applicant can be convicted of a felony of the third degree and fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 5 years.

English WINS in Florida Court

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an earlier ruling from the U.S. District Court that product manufacturers and distributors are not obligated to provide warnings in languages other than English. The ruling applies to both assembly instructions and manuals for consumer products. This is the second victory for English in the courts in the past few months. The Arizona Supreme Court recently defended English proficiency as a requirement to run for public office.

This new ruling stems from a 2009 incident when a Florida resident who understands only Spanish bought two propane heaters from Home Depot in Miami. The woman mistakenly used the heaters indoors, even though they were outdoor-only heaters, and the resulting fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to her home.

The woman sued both the manufacturers of the heaters as well as Home Depot claiming they were liable since the safety and assembly instructions on the heaters were provided not in Spanish, but only in English.

Subsequently in 2010, the U.S. District Court ruled that the woman exhibited “willful ignorance” in assembling the products without understanding the instructions and neglecting to seek additional assistance, and just last week, the Eleventh Circuit concurred that the English-only safety warnings were adequate and noted that even though the woman did not speak English, the pictures on the instructions were perfectly clear.

The English Language Unity (ELU) act has been introduced in Congress – S. 503 and H.R. 997. The English language advocacy group Pro-English supports the ELU act.