Florida's restoration of civil rights process is designed to make it virtually impossible for convicted felons to regain their fundamental constitutional rights, such as the right to vote. On February 1, 2018, Judge Walker, federal district judge for the Northern District of Florida declared the process to be unconstitutional. As politicians in Tallahassee continue to attempt to suppress the right to vote (see its recent efforts to tally a non-vote as a NO vote in constitutional amendments placed on the ballot for citizen consideration), it is now more important than ever that our federal courts reject these blatant efforts to diminish our voices. This is not a political issue; it is a matter of protecting the fundamental constitutional rights of all citizens in this state. Rather than continuing to discourage, and indeed, prevent people from exercising their constitutional right to vote, this governor and his legislature should be affirmatively looking for ways to make the ability to vote more, not less, inclusive. A copy of Judge Walker's opinion can be found here.
Recently, our office had the pleasure of assisting a man who was seeking presidential clemency for a non-violent drug offense. We were shocked to find out later that this man was a war hero who had been sentenced prior to the amendments to U.S.S.G. §5H1.11 which allowed military service to be considered in determining whether a departure is warranted. With the client's permission, we would like to share with you an excerpted portion of the clemency package we prepared on his behalf, along with the video we shot at our office on Veteran's day.