Saturday, April 07, 2007

Florida Governor Crist Keeps Commitment to Automatic Restoration of Civil Rights, Angers Conservatives

A few years ago, when the Florida Legislature was considering the abololition of the "withhold of adjudication" (a rareity in criminal justice, much like non-unanimous death verdicts that we have in Florida), then Attorney General Crist told me "that's ridiculous, everyone deserves a second chance."

I thought that to be a bold statement for a republican, tough on crime being part of the mantra. At the same event, another republican responded to me when I brought up faults in the death penalty system which have caused innocent people to be put on death row, "I think the problem is all these appeals they get."

This week Florida adopted the policy of automatic restoration of civil rights for all felons, except for criminals who have committed murder, manslaughter, DUI manslaughter, sexual battery, lewd and lascivious crimes, child abuse, treason and terrorism.

And man, are the conservatives mad. Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that these restored felons may not vote for those who spent the last many years instituting draconian sentencing schemes.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com