Florida prisoner Ronald Thompson, serving a 20-year mandatory minimum sentencing for firing a gun into the ground to protect a threatened friend, is going to get a new trial. This article provides details, and you can read FAMM's response here. From the article:
The judge found that the jury instructions in Thompson's original trial were misleading regarding the justifiable use of deadly and non-deadly force.
A new trial is the latest twist in a saga that has wrapped Thompson in controversy over the state's "10-20-Life" statutes. A jury convicted Thompson of four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm in a September 2009 shooting that occurred at a neighbor's home.
Clay County authorities said he fired at least two shots into the ground in the vicinity of a teenager and his friends after the boy got into a quarrel with his grandmother.
Prosecutors said he faced no serious threat when he fired the gun.
Thompson was originally sentenced to three years in jail by Circuit Judge John Skinner, who declared the "10-20-Life" statutes unconstitutional. Under that law, the judge was required to sentence Thompson to at least 20 years.
The State Attorney's Office appealed the sentence successfully, with the 1st District Court of Appeal ordering Skinner to resentence Thompson. The appellate court then removed Skinner and assigned Lester to the case.
Lester did sentence Thompson to the 20 years in March, but vacated that decision by throwing out the case this week.
Thompson's case has drawn the support of organizations like Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which argues that minimum sentences of 20 years are inhumane.
Newburn called on State Attorney Angela Corey to free Thompson.
"Ronald Thompson has already served three years in prison," Newburn said. "He has been punished enough.