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On October 12, 2012, John Horner (a nonviolent first-time offender) was sentenced to 25 years for trafficking a controlled substance (hydrocodone / Vicodin) and a separate charge of one count of morphine. The problem? He wasn't trafficking any controlled substances. You see, what his defense team and the courts failed to realize is this was not a case of trafficking, this was entrapment. Plain and simple.
Let's backtrack to March 9th of 2009:
Joseph ******* (redacted), a repeat offender with past criminal violence was charged with 4 different sale/trafficking charges of Oxycodone and Lorcet (a variation of Vicodin). Joseph took a plea deal of 3 years under the condition he would become an informant and turn people in. At the end of it all, Joseph served less than 2 years.
Informant, meet John Horner. A father of 3, an assistant restaurant manager, and then-husband to Kathi. Back in early 2000s John lost one of his eyes in a mechanics accident, afterward also having colon surgery twice. He's had an accumulation of pain pills, with a prescription. When Joseph met John he was talking about being in pain constantly. "Bad back this, next excuse that." Joseph and John started molding a friendship around John Horner helping Joseph from time to time. He paid motel fees for Joseph, gave him rides in his car, paid for Joseph's alleged girlfriend's gas, filled his fridge with groceries. What John didn't know is Joseph was an Informant and his only interest was putting John Horner in jail. Soon Joseph started asking about the pills John keeps around in his briefcase, he started complaining about medical issues and pain. Of course, this struck home with Mr. Horner because of his own pain. After the informant explained that he can't afford his own prescription, John was more than willing to give him his own. John never considered selling them nor did he agree to do so. On different occasions, Joseph approached John with money, and "what he could afford to pay back for everything John has done for him". John accepted the money and was immediately arrested with it in hand at Racetrac in Kissimmee, Florida on April 13th, 2010. He was charged with three counts and had a hefty sentence of 25 years looming over his head. His youngest daughter, then only 9 years old, would be almost 35 years old. A life sentence…
When faced with the same deal as Joseph, John thought he had no other option but to become an informant himself. If he worked alongside Detective ***** (redacted) (the same detective who worked with Joseph) and caught real bad guys, his time could be reduced. The problem? Detective ***** didn’t give him any resources and told Horner he was only interested in pill doctors. John spent over a year attempting to work alongside Detective *****, not landing a single arrest. You’re probably asking yourself how, but the answer is so simple.
He isn’t a drug dealer. He isn’t a drug trafficker. He doesn’t know the people, and he doesn’t know the environment. How do you expect a middle-aged family man to conduct a drug sting with zero resources? He tried, over and over, failing each time. Fifth Circuit Judge Jon B. Morgan sentenced him to a minimum/mandatory of 25 years.
Since then John Horner has put in countless appeals, and recently as of March 12th, 2018 went back to court for his post-conviction relief grounds, which as of March 14th, 2018 were denied on all 6 grounds. Judge Morgan called him into court for an evidentiary hearing on grounds 3 and 5, which describe a prescription defense and his entrapment case. Judge Morgan still denied these grounds. In cases like Wagner vs State, a prescription defense is a complete defense. James Wagner was convicted of trafficking in Oxycodone, Xanax possession, and withholding information from a practitioner and two separate counts of obtaining oxycodone and Xanax by fraud. Wagner lied his way from doctor to doctor getting these prescriptions. Wagner was arrested after allegedly setting up a deal to sell certain prescription drugs to a confidential police informant. Under Section 893.13(6)(a) Florida Statutes (2007), a person is not guilty of possession, nor trafficking of a controlled substance where the substance was lawfully obtained from a practitioner. After some appeals later, the Fourth District decided Wagner had a valid and complete prescription defense. Yet Circuit Judge Jon B. Morgan does not think John Horner had a valid prescription defense? Circuit Judge Jon B. Morgan doesn’t think he had a valid entrapment defense as well?
Well, what do you guys think?
Use your voice, we all have one. Please take the time to read this unjust case of Florida’s pathetic “war on drugs”. As one of his eldest daughters, I’m begging you to sign this petition so we can all use our voice and bring my dad home.
BBC Podcast that talks about my dad: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-21939453
Local News Interview I did about min/man laws: https://www.wftv.com/news/local/florida-lawmakers-could-decide-on-reducing-number-of-non-violent-offenders-in-prison/468458427
The Atlantic also wrote about my dad: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/04/a-heartbreaking-drug-sentence-of-staggering-idiocy/274607/
I have just created a YouCaring Fundraiser at my dad's request to help with legal fees so we can take this all the way to the supreme court and fight it. Thank you.
Quoted below is the Florida State Statutes that defend John Horner’s case. Thank you for taking the time to read our story, please spread the word and be sure to use our hashtags so I can send you a personalized thank you and you will receive an invite to his welcome home party.
(1) A law enforcement officer, a person engaged in cooperation with a law enforcement officer, or a person acting as an agent of a law enforcement officer perpetrates an entrapment if, for the purpose of obtaining evidence of the commission of a crime, he or she induces or encourages and, as a direct result, causes another person to engage in conduct constituting such crime by employing methods of persuasion or inducement which create a substantial risk that such crime will be committed by a person other than one who is ready to commit it.
(2) A person prosecuted for a crime shall be acquitted if the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her criminal conduct occurred as a result of an entrapment. The issue of entrapment shall be tried by the trier of fact.
“499.03 Possession of certain drugs without prescriptions unlawful; exemptions and exceptions.—
(1) A person may not possess, or possess with intent to sell, dispense, or deliver, any habit-forming, toxic, harmful, or new drug subject to s. 499.003(32), or prescription drug as defined in s.499.003(40), unless the possession of the drug has been obtained by a valid prescription of a practitioner licensed by law to prescribe the drug.
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