Two Pieces of Very Good Legal News From Florida

He was once known as “Chain Gang Charlie” Crist for his tough law and order stands, but in the face of strong troglodyte opposition from Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has pushed through a set of reforms to Flordia's felon disenfranchisement rules. Now, instead of making it virtually impossible for felons to get their right to vote (and to hold state licensees for a wide variety of trades), it will merely be slow (15 years!) for non-violent offenders, and slow and difficult for violent offenders. This is a major issue as the state has almost a million persons who have been found guilty of felonies, and about half of them are black (although blacks are about 14% of our total population). That a Republican governor would do this, because it's the right thing, is amazing. Florida still remains well behind states with more civilized penal policies, but this is a huge step in the right direction. Details at the Miami Herald, Felon rights on faster track.

Also in today's news, a welcome and very powerful ruling by our Supreme Court. In Re: Amendments To Florida Rule Of Judicial Administration 2.420—Sealing Of Court Records And Dockets. (April 5, 2007) says in the strongest terms that state courts must not “superseal” civil cases in trial courts — ever. “Supersealing” was a procedure that removed any trace of a matter from the public docket, even its docket number and title. As the court notes, it was a set of practices “that, however unintentional, were clearly offensive to the spirit of laws and rules that ultimately rest on Florida’s well-established public policy of government in the sunshine.” The Court's decision does not prevent the sealing of substantive civil case records in appropriate cases after appropriate process. Also, the issue of criminal and appellate cases is left for another day, pending study by the appropriate committees (in criminal cases there are additional issues relating to protecting informants, for example).

A great day for the State of Florida! (And if the last election were held today, I'd vote for Crist.)

[Bonus good news: Condo tenant wins fight to keep mezuzah.]

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4 Responses to Two Pieces of Very Good Legal News From Florida

  1. adam says:

    “That a Republican governor would do this, because it’s the right thing, is amazing.” Can you explain this statement further? It seems that you are saying no Republican would do something because it is the right thing to do . . .

  2. Michael says:

    I’m saying that in the history of this state no Republican governor has ever taken anywhere near such a strong stand in favor of convicted persons’ rights, and certainly not when it is politically controversial. The strategy has, for a very long time at least, been to run as super-tough on crime and to be at worst vicious and at best negligently unconcerned about the rights of both prisoners and former convicts.

    So, yes, in the convicts’ rights area that is exactly what I mean.

  3. CB says:

    “the state has almost a million persons who have been found guilty of felonies”

    that is a crazy high number. I imagine the percentage of felons that would vote if they could is only a fraction, but a fraction of 1 million is still a lot of voters….

  4. Jason says:

    As I am unable to respond to a previous post re: degree mills, I felt I had to contact you this way. Please accept my apology.

    Please do not confuse with Concordia University in Montreal Canada. Concordia University (Canada) is a well respected and accredited university. It is not a “degree mill” as you put it. As it happens, there are a great number of degree mills out there that will print anything you pay them for including degrees and transcripts for major universities in North America and around the world. The idiot you refer to in the article (Toledo Blade, not Toronto) tried to side-step 3 to 4 years of hard work and studying by purchasing one of them. Many of these degrees are so well done they are virtually undetectable unless a trained eye assess them. They are often only found out when they are cross referenced with actual university data.

    The published testimonial you provide a link for is not affiliated with Concordia University in Montreal Canada. The Actual website for Concordia University is . $499 wont get you a degree at Concordia University. They have a lot of overhead such as paying some of the brightest Phds in North America to teach. I believe the cost is more approaching $1000 a course (for Canadian students). You will need twenty of them to graduate.



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