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Ronald Thompson is a disabled 14-year Army vet. After his service, he acted as a Deputy Representative for AMVETS. Thompson accumulated more than 5,000 hours volunteering at the VA hospital in Lake City, Florida helping other retired vets with their rehabilitation. Julie Stewart at HuffPo: “Thompson was 62 years old in September 2009 when he visited a friend of his, an elderly woman in Keystone Heights, Florida, at the woman’s daughter’s home. During his visit, his friend’s 17-year-old grandson, who had been violent toward her in the past, came by with three friends and wanted to go into his mother’s home.” Then . . .

Having been instructed by her daughter not to let him into the house, Thompson’s friend refused them entry. Her grandson began yelling and cursing at his grandmother. Events escalated to the point where Mr. Thompson felt his friend was in danger. He grabbed his pistol (for which he had a conceal-carry license) and fired two warning shots into the ground to scare off the 17-year-old.

In any jurisdiction where common sense prevails, Thompson would have been hailed as a hero for aiding a friend in need. But common sense apparently has no place in Florida law.

Florida has a strict mandatory minimum sentencing law for crimes committed with a gun. Called the 10-20-Life law, people, even first offenders, who commit crimes while carrying a gun get an automatic 10 years in prison. If they discharge the gun, they get 20. And if their shot hits and harms a victim, they get a sentence of 25 years to life.

Okay, maybe a little harsh, but not so bad on its face, assuming that it is applied in the spirit in which it was intended. Even the law’s author agrees:

Former Florida state legislator, Victor Crist, who wrote the 10-20-Life law in 1999, recently said, “We were trying to get at the thug who was robbing a liquor store who had a gun in his possession or pulled out the gun and threatened someone or shot someone during the commission of the crime.”

Enter one Angela Corey (of the Zimmerman “I don’t need no stinkin’ facts” case fame):

Placing simple-minded consistency over common sense, State Prosecutor Angela Corey charged Ronald Thompson with four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, each carrying a mandatory minimum of 20 years under the 10-20-Life gun law.

Simple-minded sums it up pretty well.

…A jury convicted Thompson. The 17-year-old belligerent said he felt threatened and Thompson discharged a gun. Case closed. The jury, however, did not know that Thompson faced a minimum of 20 years, and at sentencing, the judge’s integrity asserted itself. Having sat through the trial and heard all the facts, the judge announced that to send Ronald Thompson to prison for two decades would be a “crime in itself.” The judge sentenced him to three years instead.

Hallelujah! Some common sense prevails. But Ms. Corey would have none of that.

On behalf of the state of Florida, Ms. Corey appealed and the appeals court imposed the 20-year mandatory prison sentence.

From all appearances, Ms. Corey is more concerned only with her prosecution stats and gives not a rat’s ass about justice or Florida’s citizens. Remove Angela Corey indeed.

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    • This.

      Also: If you think firing a pistol as a ‘warning shot’ is a good idea, then you need to ask whether you have the knowledge and/or common sense necessary to carry a firearm.

  1. Angela is good friends with my dad, and its so weird seeing her all over the place. She carries…

        • Let’s say your best friend is a child molester. Does that not reflect on your character in any way? I didn’t say he was guilty of anything, I said he was scumbag, I think that is valid.

        • The one thing I know about him-he is a friend of Angela Corey, is a dealbreaker. If you can’t see that you are either stupid or evil. What if he was friends with Ted Bundy? Or Pol Pot? Or Carrot Top?

      • I don’t know about SomeGuy’s dad, never had any interaction with him. You, however, have demonstrated the value of your character.


    • So sorry for you and your Dad. The more I read about her, the more I feel my gut instinct was right–she’s despicable.

      • Bill F, the more I hear about her the less I like her. With what I know now about the Zimmerman case I think she was totally wrong on her decision to charge him.

  2. Angela Corey did not convict Ronald Thompson. Angela Corey prosecuted Ronald Thompson. A jury of his peers convicted Ronald Thompson. Corey set the table, but nobody forced the jury to eat the dog’s lunch.

    So do you really think that George Zimmerman is going to walk? Do you really think that Corey can’t find another jury just like Thompson’s? Pardon me while I laugh derisively.

    • Ralph, as you well know all the prosecutor has to show is that the defendent violated the letter of the law and if she does then the jury must convict. The outline of the facts of this case show that the letter of the law was violated hence the conviction. She had the facts, if not justice on her side. She has no facts with which to convict Zimmerman. I also think that now that she has threatened Alan Dershowitz he is going to end up on the defendent’s table. He will have her for lunch.

      • She has a body, which is dead. The has the weapon, which was Zimmerman’s. I’d say she’s established a prima facia case, wouldn’t you?

        • She has a victim with a history of drugs and violence, a witness who place Martin on top of Zimmerman, a wounded defendent and a dead guy with damaged knuckles.

        • tdiinva, those might be defenses. It will be up to Zimmerman to prove them. Yes, defenses must be proven.

      • And cases like Thompson are why prosecutors have discretion. So Corey really is the bad actor here.

  3. Another reason why you shouldn’t fire warning shots, put enough rounds in them to make sure they stay down, say you were in fear of your life, and make sure everyone else knows to STFU.

    • if your gona go to jail with a effective life sentence, you might as well make it worth it, and make society a bit better at the same time

    • “Another reason why you shouldn’t fire warning shots,”

      I can’t remember ever reading of a case where firing warning shots turned out well for the shooter.

      • Ever. Not once.

        I will never fire a warning shot, probably won’t brandish, and might not even say anything. Lest I get charged with criminal menacing or some such.

        • Loud verbal warnings are a great defensive strategy and often are all that’s needed. On top of which, they show your frightened state of mind and the fact that the attack continued after the warning goes a long way to establish that the shooting was reasonable.

          If you have time, yell. And make it loud.

        • Ralph, circa 1978, I went to a party at a friends house on Morton St. in Dorchester. Today, and then, it would be characterized as a “rough” neighborhood. After a couple of hours at the party I went out for a stroll around the block for some “air”, maybe 11PM. While on my stroll, two guys happened to pass me on the opposite side of the street and “asked” if I was “lost”. I very politely said that, “no, but thanks just the same, I was just heading back to a friend’s house”. They took it upon themselves to see that I would be “rolled” for being in the wrong place, of the wrong color and at the wrong time; an easy mark, alone in the wilderness. When they started to get rough (not being prey, I don’t generally run), I yelled at the top of my very loud lungs for assistance; not a light went on, not a door or a window was opened, not a single solitary soul came to my aid. I got thumped pretty good and I gave as good, perhaps better, than I got. They didn’t get anything from me other than my retribution for their violating my citizenship, my humanity and my dignity.

          Loud, verbal warnings do indeed have their place in the preliminaries. Be prepared to back it up with more violence that they can handle should your civil protests fall on deaf ears.

        • Greg, the loud verbal warnings I had in mind were more along the line of “stop or I’ll shoot.”

  4. Sometimes it seems like spending seven years getting higher education can cause brain damage.

    • The court did it’s best to make that impossible by not informing the jury of what the potential penalties were.

      I wonder if the jury instructions forbid them from reading the laws in question?

  5. Can’t someone provoke this bitch into drawing or firing a warning shot so she can spend 20 years in jail?

  6. ” … all the prosecutor has to show is that the defendent (sic) violated the letter of the law and if she does then the jury must convict.”

    Wrong! In the United States of America the jury has the right and responsibility to judge not only the testimony but also the law. Judges and lawyers don’t like, and will not inform juries, of this fact. But, it does exist.

    Juries are NOT required to rubber stamp the prosecution nor to blindly follow the judges’ instructions.


    • WWW, where did you get that cockamamie idea? Juries are not a legislature. Juries don’t make law. They are required to follow the law and the judge’s instructions. They are the triers of fact, and fact only.

      • 1794, the Supreme Court conducted a jury trial in the case of the State of Georgia vs. Brailsford1. The instructions to the jury in the first jury trial before the Supreme Court of the United States illustrate the true power of the jury.

        Chief Justice John Jay said: “It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision.” “…you have a right to take it upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy”.

        US vs Dougherty, 473 F 2d 1113, 1139 (1972) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said that the jury has an ” unreviewable and irreversible power… to acquit in disregard of the instructions on the law given by the trial judge

        You now have options. You may argue with The First Chief Justice John Jay and The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, or you may check in on and read up on jury nullification, or you may count me as a damn fool and disregard your rights.


    • Not in California. Juries are explicitly told that they must vote based on the law, whether or not they agree with it, and without consideration of punishment.

  7. Everyone seems to blame either the DA or the people that wrote this law. The bottem line is that you’re either in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or death and use deady force to prevent the offense or you’re not and don’t fire warning shots. Based on this article, which never mentioned whether or not the suspects had weapons, Mr Thompson used very poor judgement.

  8. This is what you get when legislators pass laws of the form “today’s bogeyman” + “mandatory minimum sentence”. The trial judge wanted to exercise, you know, judgement, but the law didn’t allow for it and so he was overruled by the appeals court. I wonder how many hunters (or poachers) have ended up with 20-year jail sentences for taking a shot too close to a dwelling, or after the close of the season, or too close to a road, etc.?

    • The irony here is: shoot in the ground = 20 years. Kill the kid and say you feared for your life = no charges.

  9. I have to wonder though why laws are so proscriptive regarding warning shots. It certainly seems like warning shots, in this case and others, save lives. Shouldn’t that be encouraged?
    In the Military, we are certainly trained to fire warning shots as part of the process of Escalation of Force, (Shout, Show/Charge your weapon, Shove [if close enough], fire a warning shot, shoot to kill) as a way of determining hostile intent on the part of Iraqi/Afghani civilians. From personal experience there are many, many Iraqi civilians who are alive today because of this training. In all of these instances, the warning shot is supposed to be used only if lethal force is also justified, but might not necessarily the best or right solution for many political/tactical/strategic reasons. So, understanding the laws I know I will never fire a warning shot on this side of the pond while not in uniform, but I have to wonder if laws shouldn’t be amended to protect people who prevented an incident such as this one from escalating to one which was deadly. This punk 17yr old kid should be thankful he fired warning shots, instead of testifying against him.

  10. “From all appearances, Ms. Corey is more concerned only with her prosecution stats and gives not a rat’s ass about justice[…]”

    That’s all that pretty much any prosecutor is worried about. They charge people with crimes because they can. And the more charges you throw at someone, the more likely it is that at least one of them will stick.

    Justice? You honestly think the concept of justice has any place in our court system any more?

    • “And the more charges you throw at someone, the more likely it is that at least one of them will stick.”
      Or that the defendant will be intimidated enough to take a plea bargin. PBS Frontline recently did a documentary on plea bargains, apparently ~95% of all federal cases are plea bargained, primarily due to stacking charges so high that it is a effective life sentence.

    • “Justice? You honestly think the concept of justice has any place in our court system any more?”

      Yes! Yes I do. I work in the court system and I see the efforts made by the judges to keep the attorneys on track, to avoid having the jury see or hear anything unduly prejudicial one way or the other, to see that each side gets a fair and impartial hearing, and that the juries are properly instructed.

      From what I see, the problems are the attorneys, whose goal is to win at any cost, and the legislature, which passes stupid and ambiguous laws. In CA the judges have little discretion when it comes to sentencing and none in deciding which cases actually go to trial.

  11. I am firmly convinced that the rest of the union should secede from florida.

    we know what we have in places like the peoples republic of CA. and those lovely places in the north east, only Florida gives us the hanging chad and something dumber every year.

    • If you want to see disgraceful, try going to a VA hospital sometime, especially the buildings which are not part of the main building. A school I worked for leased buildings 124 and 125 from the VA at Great Lakes Naval Base, they were both infested with carcinogenic mold, water damage, and one had a pool of gasoline in the basement. One, I don’t remember which, but one housed mental patients, or so I was told by a secretary who claims to have witnessed them. I still have pictures.

  12. An acquaintance literally bumped into her the other day while he was carrying two concealed handguns. She’s a POS. I hope her career is ruined after this.

  13. You ever see any of the “gremlins” movies from 80’s? She totally looks like the female gremlin in “gremlins 2.” Which is perfect look considering she’s such an evil c#&*. Some one must have fed her after mid night.

  14. Mandatory minimums should probably be replaced with
    ‘up to” clauses so judges have leeway, but then again a judge could give bad actors short time. It’s what started the MM rule among legislators. If judges would do the right thing and judge the convicted person properly there would be leeway permitted.

    This poor old man made a mistake by pulling the trigger, no question about it. Killing crabgrass is a bad idea anyway since you are depleting bullets you might need on bad guys.

  15. The problem was the Old Mans legal team. He should have claimed fear and simply say he missed.

  16. You all need to contact Florida governor Rick Scott about removing this woman prosecutor. She is out of control.

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