Florida can’t stop poor felons from voting, federal judge says

The decision, which likely will be appealed and could reach the U.S. Supreme Court, comes less than six months before a presidential election, in a crucial swing state where contests often are decided by paper-thin margins.


In his decision Sunday, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled that the procedures put in place by the law amounted to an “unconstitutional pay-to-vote system.”

He said “the State can condition voting on payment of fines and restitution that a person is able to pay but cannot condition voting on payment of amounts a person is unable to pay or on payment of taxes, even those labeled fees or costs.”

A 2018 constitutional amendment approved by nearly 65 percent of Florida voters ended the state’s permanent disenfranchisement of felons. The measure restored voting rights to those who completed all terms of their sentences, including parole or probation, but excluded people convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses.

After it took effect, the Republican-led legislature last year passed a bill, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a fellow Republican, that supporters said was needed to clarify the amendment’s language. The bill’s provisions included a requirement that to fulfill all terms of their sentences, felons must pay any fees, fines or restitution they owe.Opponents of the bill said the measure undercut the amendment.

An analysis by Daniel Smith, a University of Florida professor hired as an expert by amendment backers, found that 77 percent of more than 1 million Floridians with felony convictions who were released had outstanding financial obligations. About 146,000 of them owed more than $10,000.

Such debts include court-imposed fees, fines for certain crimes and restitution due to victims.The state has no centralized source that people can consult to find out whether they owe fees, fines or restitution. So, they usually have to inquire with clerks of court, whose record-keeping varies by county and who may not have decades-old documents easily retrievable.

A group of 17 plaintiffs with felony convictions represented by organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Brennan Center for Justice, sued last year to challenge the law.

TAGS: Florida can’t stop poor felons from voting federal judge says

25 May 2020 13:10   |    119

Source: www.foxnews.com

Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith Fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto Allah when ye know (the truth).  (The Cow   22)


Steve Hilton: Reopen our schools or give me my school money back
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Goya CEO right not to give in to paranoia after backlash
SI Swimsuit models Olivia Culpo, Jasmine Sanders and Kate Bock share 2020 cover
Flynn could reprise Trump campaign role, as he fights to clear legal cloud
RNC chairwoman touts GOP voter registration amid coronavirus
Helen Raleigh: Trump admin on China’s human rights abuses — tough stance deserves credit
Poland reelects President Andrzej Duda in narrow victory over liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski
Deroy Murdock: Failure of leadership — Pelosi shrugs at statue vandals, ignores this in her own party
Dr. Qanta Ahmed: Waging war on coronavirus – my struggle to save a COVID-19 patient at death’s door 
Newt Gingrich: Alarming anti-Semitism surge, other major issues addressed in upcoming Daniel Silva novel
Steve Levy: Trump wrong to give DACA recipients ‘road to citizenship’ — unless Dems change immigration policy
West Virginia mail carrier admits attempted election fraud
Missouri couple’s gun rights defended in letter to AG Barr from 12 GOP lawmakers
2 Texas police officers killed in line of duty; suspect dead, chief says
Ex-prosecutors Tolman & Rizer: Romney wrong to attack Trump commutation of Roger Stone prison sentence
Trump administration announces 25 percent tariff on $1.3B in French handbags, cosmetics, other goods
Andrew McCarthy: Dems attacking Trump for Roger Stone clemency defended outrageous Clinton and Obama pardons
The most dishonest, biased news coverage of our lifetimes — and it’s about to get worse
Florida homeowner shoots 3 home intruders, 2 fatally: sheriff
Andrew McCarthy: Is Electoral College headed for extinction? Republicans should oppose Dem attempt to kill it

Email subscription:

Related Politics News