Introduce, Support, and Pass the Back the Blue Act! Police officers face deadly threats all the time, and often need to engage in lawful self-defense.
And any time their assailant is black and the officer is white, race grifters called "Black Lives Matter" petition rogue prosecutors to bring charges against the officers, destroying their lives even if acquitted.
It's time to change this equation. It's time to compel prosecutors to have skin in the game, to have something to lose if they bring a laughably weak, yet horribly destructive, felony prosecution in a case of self-defense. And it's time to provide a path for the wrongfully prosecuted defender to get compensation for his monetary, reputational, and emotional damages.
Text of Petition
We, the undersigned, call upon you to protect Michigan's police and all individuals who need to engage in lawful self-defense.
We propose the Back the Blue Act:
To find a suspect "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" requires a very high evidentiary threshold. Maybe 90%.
But what if the prosecutor at trial can't even disprove self-defense by a mere 50%? Not even by that mere majority of the evidence? That's not a little bit short of beyond a reasonable doubt, that's enormously short. That looks like a self-defense prosecution brought in the full knowledge that it lacks anything close to the legal merit needed for a conviction—in other words, like a prosecution brought for political purposes despite its obvious lack of legal merit.
What we propose is that in every self-defense case the jury instruction on self-defense includes a special question to the jury—if you the jury are acquitting this defendant on the grounds of self-defense, do you also find that the prosecution failed to disprove self-defense by a majority of the evidence?
If the jury agrees the prosecution failed to meet even this very low threshold, the defendant is immediately entitled to compensation for any losses resulting from this unfounded prosecution.
And that compensation shall be made both by the state generally and by the prosecutor personally.
First, the state generally: A self-defense defendant who qualifies under the Back the Blue Act would be entitled to monetary compensation from the state for legal expenses, lost wages, and all other economic costs associated with the unjust prosecution. (Washington state already has a statute that does precisely this, §9A.16.110, but it is the only state that does. This needs to expand to every state.)
Second, the prosecutor personally: A self-defense defendant who qualifies under the Back the Blue Act would be entitled to monetary compensation from the prosecutor personally for mental distress, emotional pain & suffering, lost economic/ business/educational opportunities, reputational damage, and so forth, plus any legal costs incurred to secure this compensation—and that means the suffering of both the defendant himself AND his immediate family.
Third, the charging officer: Too often, charging documents sworn out by law enforcement officers and containing claims for which there is purportedly probable cause on which to base an arrest and prosecution, but which later turn out to be utterly non-existent. Officers who swear out nonsense to facilitate a wrongful prosecution ought to be held accountable, but never are. Let's change that. Mere threat of perjury charge is not enough, because the prosecutor who induced the false claim is not then going to charge perjury over that very claim. What's needed is a private cause of action the wrongfully accused themselves can pursue against lying officer.
Fourth: The probable cause hearing is supposed to act as a screen to make sure that cases lacking substantive evidence don't make it to trial, to prevent unethical prosecutors from using the process itself as a punishment for those they dislike. Today's probable cause hearing is a joke, little more than a rubber stamp for a prosecutor, and no protection for the innocent defender at all. Let's make ALL probable cause hearings in self-defense cases into something akin to self-defense immunity hearings--if the prosecution can't disprove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence at this pre-trial hearing, the matter is dismissed with prejudice, with such dismissal also triggering the other provisions of the Back the Blue Act.
Further, if the State seeks to reimburse the prosecutor for this damage award, that reimbursement also becomes the property of the self-defense defendant.
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