Learn the dirty truth about self-defense in Florida through one man’s journey through the dark underbelly of Florida’s criminal justice system, where your lawyer will be incompetent, know nothing about self-defense law and doesn't care if you win or lose; your jury will have only six jurors; your prosecutor will have no interest whatsoever in the truth of what happened; and then you, a law-abiding citizen with a concealed weapons permit, will be sent away to prison for 20 years for just firing a warning shot into your sofa inside of your own home in self-defense, even though the alleged victim outside kicking your front door down in the middle of the night during a hurricane not only was unharmed, but in fact testified that he never saw you or a gun.
NEWS FLASH: J.J. DAIAK IS NOW OUT AND FREE !
His conviction was vacated and reversed on June 20, 2014 and he was ordered released from prison pending a re-trial. He was then held in the county jail on $400,000 bond as he tried to get the case dismissed and his name cleared. But as the State Attorney continued to prosecute J.J. and knowing he would again face a 20-year mandatory prison sentence if he lost at a second trial, he pled to the charges on July 1, 2016, and was released from custody (without probation or parole) on Time-Served (the ten years he spent in prison).
All this time in prison for firing a warning shot inside his home into his sofa and one of his bookcases after first repeatedly yelling out "Get out of my house!" as unknown and unseen intruders were breaking into his home in Florida in the middle of the night during Hurricane Frances on September 5, 2004.
The alleged victims outside his home all admitted that they never even saw JJ or a gun, yet JJ was charged with and convicted (by a jury with only six jurors) of a so-called "aggravated assault,” which in Florida is only a "threat" to do violence with a firearm, rather than any actual act of violence, and sentenced to 20 mandatory years in prison in Florida under Florida's notorious 10-20-Life law.
But after years of relentless pursuit of vindication, working alone from the prison law libraries, JJ is finally free. He researched and wrote all of his motions and appeals himself, while also lobbying the Florida Legislature, successfully in part, to improve the self-defense laws in Florida. JJ also directly contributed to significant changes and improvements in Florida's standard self-defense jury instructions. He is now working on updating this Self Defense Florida website (which was put together by his sister Judi, bless her) to bring to all readers the dirty truth about the dark underbelly of the Florida criminal justice system, for anyone with an interest in self-defense with a gun and Second Amendment issues.
If this ordeal could happen to JJ, who at the time of the incident was a well-educated (B.A. and J.D.) law-abiding citizen who had had a Concealed Weapons Permit since 1987, it can happen to anyone in Florida.
Contact JJ at SelfDefenseFlorida@gmail.com, as he updates this website.
3 October 2016
As I begin to learn how to run this website, having not touched a computer for the last ten years nor ever seen or used a smartphone before, I will start updating this SelfDefenseFlorida.com site by adding on to this home page.
To those of you not yet familiar with JJ's case, below are excerpts and links to:
The Tampa Bay Times articles on JJ:
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"One night 10 years ago, J.J. Daiak stood in his dark living room with a hurricane howling outside and a .357-caliber magnum in his hand. Hearing voices and thinking looters were about to break in, he fired two shots, hitting a sofa and a wall. But the voices outside his front door weren't looters. They were Pasco County deputies. Daiak was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He got 20 years. After relentlessly campaigning from prison, Daiak, 62, was granted a new trial last month. It could happen as soon as September. What's different now: His first trial, in 2006, was before Florida's notorious "stand your ground" law fundamentally altered how the public views self-defense cases. It was before we became captivated — and polarized — by people like George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville woman sentenced to 20 years for firing her gun during a fight with her estranged husband. "The climate is very much in favor of people defending themselves," Tampa defense attorney John Fitzgibbons said. Daiak was once an economist and a lawyer. For a time he ran a craft and frame shop in downtown New Port Richey. Before Labor Day 2004, he'd never been in trouble with the law. . ." Tampa Bay Times, July 17, 2014;
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"A 62-year-old man who is eight years into a 20-year sentence for shooting at Pasco sheriff's deputies he mistook for hurricane looters won a chance at freedom Friday when a judge agreed to set bail ahead of his new trial. But J.J. Daiak, a former attorney with no previous criminal history, won't be leaving jail any time soon. Circuit Judge William Webb set bail at $400,000 . . ." Tampa Bay Times, August 1, 2014;
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"Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa on Wednesday rejected a defendant's bid to dismiss 2004 charges of aggravated assault against law enforcement officers. But the judge did set a new trial date for J.J. Daiak, whose conviction was overturned in 2014 but has already served almost half of his 20-year prison sentence. Daiak, now 63, was asleep in his Holiday house on Sept. 5, Labor Day, when Hurricane Frances hit the region. He said he heard voices outside and, fearing they were looters, fired two shots toward the door to scare them away. . . ." Tampa Bay Times, December 2, 2015;
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"For 12 years, J.J. Daiak maintained his innocence. In 2006 he was convicted of aggravated assault on law enforcement officers after he fired two gunshots inside his home two years earlier while Pasco County sheriff's deputies stood at his door. But after his conviction was overturned for ineffective assistance of counsel — and after nearly 10 years of incarceration — Daiak of Holiday admitted guilt Friday. He accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecution. In exchange, he'll get to go home within a week or two, once the Department of Corrections finalizes the paperwork. . . ." Tampa Bay Times, July 1, 2016.
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23 OCTOBER 2016
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AND THE NEWLY AMENDED 10-20-LIFE LAW
IMPORTANT INFORMATION about the new law, SB228/HB135, deleting the offense of "aggravated assault" from Florida's notorious 10-20-Life mandatory-minimum sentencing scheme as of July 1, 2016. Pasco County Circuit Court Judge Pat Siracusa on July 1, 2016, agreed with JJ's own Memorandum of Law on this and held that the new 10-20-Life law, section 775.087 of the Florida Statutes, applied to anyone charged with aggravated assault, regardless of the date of the alleged offense (even if it was prior to July 1, 2016), if the conviction is on or after July 1, 2016. This has huge implications (i.e., the 20-year mandatory-minimum prison sentence under 10-20-Life will no longer apply) for those with pending charges of aggravated assault, and for those in prison already convicted of aggravated assault if they can get a new trial now either on direct appeal or on a post-conviction motion such as a Rule 3.850. Anyone in such a situation must read JJ's Memorandum of Law to understand this issue thoroughly. Click below to read a copy of JJ's self-written Memorandum of Law on this, including:
"While at first glance the so-called Savings Clause of the Florida Constitution (Article X, section 9) which states “[r]epeal or amendment of a criminal statute shall not affect prosecution or punishment for a crime previously committed” may suggest that the recent amendment to section 775.087 would not apply to offenses committed prior to July 1, 2016, the prevailing case law that has applied the Savings Clause since its enactment in 1885 indicates just the opposite. That result arises from the fact that the 2016 amendment to section 775.087 is not to the substantive criminal statute defining and creating the crime of an aggravated assault, s. 784.021, but rather, is only an amendment to a separate sentencing enhancement statute. As discussed in greater detail below, amendments to other separate sentencing statutes in Florida have long been applied to crimes committed prior to the amendment date with no Savings Clause problems. Just the same, the newly amended 10-20-Life statute (which no longer applies to any aggravated assault "conviction" on/after July 1, 2016) should apply in the instant case as of July 1, 2016. Because this is a question of first impression, it is discussed in some length and detail below:"
JJ's 2016 Memorandum of Law
Use the search box below to search this website, including the 1,000 page trial transcripts: