Supreme Court deals blow to felons in Florida seeking to regain the right to vote

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  texan1211  •  3 weeks ago  •  29 comments

By:   MSN

Supreme Court deals blow to felons in Florida seeking to regain the right to vote
The high court declined to lift a federal appeals order blocking some convicted felons from participating in an upcoming state primary.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Supreme Court deals blow to felons in Florida seeking to regain the right to vote

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Thursday to weigh in on a federal appeals court's decision that blocked some Florida felons' eligibility to participate in elections — a major blow to efforts to restore voting rights to as many as 1.4 million people in the battleground state.

Lawyers with the Campaign Legal Center in Washington petitioned the high court in early July after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta temporarily blocked a judge's order that had cleared the way for hundreds of thousands of felons in the state to register to vote.

The organization argued that the appeals court decision had "thrown the election rules into chaos."

But on Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request to lift the order. Three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor writing that the court's decision "prevents thousands of otherwise eligible voters from participating in Florida's primary election simply because they are poor."

It's unclear if the appeals court will resolve the issue in time for the November presidential election or if its final ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The lower court has scheduled a hearing on the issue for Aug. 18 — the same day as Florida's primary election.

The reenfranchisement of felons in Florida has been a contentious issue in the swing state since voters passed Amendment 4 in 2018. The amendment — supported by more than 65 percent of voters — cleared the way for most felons, except those who had been convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses, to register to vote.

An estimated 85,000 felons have registered since Amendment 4 went into effect in January 2019. Previously, Florida had been one of a handful of states that barred felons from voting for life.

A law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last year appeared to thwart the potential reach of Amendment 4, adding a requirement that fines, fees and restitution be paid first. Without a system in place to help them get the information, felons were left on their own to find out if or how much they owe.

That created "an administrative nightmare," U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said when he ruled against the state in May, finding that the law requiring felons to pay fines and fees amounted to an unconstitutional voting tax.

Lawyers for the government, meanwhile, argued in their response to the Supreme Court that proponents of Amendment 4 had actively campaigned for its passage with the proviso that it "could" give felons a second chance "upon payment of fines, fees and restitution."

"Supporters of the amendment, including the Brennan Center (counsel for Applicants), knew that felon reenfranchisement 'polls higher' in Florida when payment of financial punishment was required, and that there would be a 'harder fight to win 60% + 1% approval' required to amend the Florida Constitution without that requirement," the lawyers wrote.

In numerous voting-related cases decided near election dates, the Supreme Court has declined to intervene, citing the Purcell Principle, a legal doctrine arising from the 2006 Purcell v. Gonzalez case. In that case, the high court ruled that "court orders affecting elections, especially conflicting orders, can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

A spokesperson for DeSantis said earlier this month that because it is an ongoing legal matter, his office will not comment until there is a ruling by the appeals court.

Voting rights activists, meanwhile, worried that the uncertainty of the issue may discourage "returned citizens" from trying to register even if they're eligible.

Hinkle's ruling in May ordered the state to tell felons whether they are eligible to vote and what they owe, and if they don't get an answer from the state within 21 days, they can register to vote.

In the legal twists and turns over this issue, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit court, which leans conservative, has twice agreed with Hinkle, a President Bill Clinton appointee. But the state's latest appeal to the full circuit resulted in a freeze of his order until after the August hearing.

"My heart went out to the countless number of returned citizens who were looking forward to participating in an election maybe for the first time, or the first time in a long time," said Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. "To see their hopes dashed like that, because of politics, that really brought me to tears."

Meade spent three years in prison on a drug charge. He registered to vote in January 2019 and later found out he still owed about $1,000 in fines, fees and restitution. He paid them, and plans to vote in August for the first time in 30 years.

His group is helping others pay their fines if they can't afford it, but they can't reach all felons in the state, and sometimes finding out if they owe anything is difficult, even with the help of pro bono attorneys who are working with the group.

Rozsa reported from Broward County, Fla.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
[]
 
Texan1211
1  seeder  Texan1211    3 weeks ago

Sounds like if convicted felons have served their sentence, paid all restitution and fines, and been released, they will be able to vote.

That is good news.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
2  Release The Kraken    3 weeks ago

This will be a likely unpopular opinion but I believe once you serve your time, you should have the rights every other citizen has. I don't think parole conditions should exist either.

You pay your debt to society and then it is over!

 
 
 
Texan1211
2.1  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Release The Kraken @2    3 weeks ago

I can see where you're coming from, but the argument can be made if one is on parole, then they haven't served their time out yet.

But I do agree that once their sentence is served, fines and restitution paid, give them their right to vote.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Release The Kraken @2    3 weeks ago

I agree with you BF. If you've done your time, you should be able to vote.

 
 
 
MUVA
2.3  MUVA  replied to  Release The Kraken @2    2 weeks ago

Also pay restitution if you cause financial or bodily harm.  

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
3  Mark in Wyoming    3 weeks ago

devils advocate 

if voting rights are to be restored after all time and restitution is paid , what other rights should also be returned? any?

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @3    3 weeks ago

Well, I know that lawyers and doctors can petition to get back their licenses and in many cases do. I think this would have to be a case by case thing. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @3    3 weeks ago
if voting rights are to be restored after all time and restitution is paid , what other rights should also be returned? any?

I am for restoring all rights if their debt to society is paid in full.

I don't believe any punishment other than the death penalty is meant to be forever.

I could be persuaded, perhaps, on something like folks with gun convictions not owning guns, or pedophiles not having contact with children, etc.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
3.2.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    3 weeks ago
I could be persuaded, perhaps, on something like folks with gun convictions not owning guns, or pedophiles not having contact with children, etc.

I've got the impression those are a given. I may be wrong

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.2.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @3.2.1    3 weeks ago
.I've got the impression those are a given. I may be wrong

I agree--with some reservations. Sometimes the more exceptions you carve out, the more some will decide that we can do without a whole lot more. i don't trust them not to abuse it.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
3.2.3  Mark in Wyoming  replied to  Texan1211 @3.2    2 weeks ago

Ok so felons still wont have the right to firearms  nor will someone who took a plea deal for domestic abuse even if they no longer live in the area , completed the sentence  and paid the restitution and stayed out of trouble for any specified amount of time... So those rights are gone forever.

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
3.2.4  Mark in Wyoming  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @3.2.3    2 weeks ago

My point being if the fact someone has completed  a sentence , paid all moneys due in restitution  to get back any right , it has to apply to all rights forfeited otherwise it falls under unequal protections under the law .In a nutshell , it applies to all rights or none.

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.2.5  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @3.2.3    2 weeks ago

I am actually okay with a felon owning a gun after his sentence, provided that his crime didn't include use of a firearm.

As far as domestic abuse, I would be okay with not restricting their right to a gun if they didn't use one before and as long as they do not have any outstanding restraining orders against them.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
4  FLYNAVY1    3 weeks ago

If memory serves me, this was put up as a referendum a couple of years ago and the People of Florida voted FOR reinstating their voting rights once they had finished their incarceration.

Florida voters have restored the rights to vote for felons with its approval of Amendment 4 to its state constitution. The amendment, which passed with at least a 2 million-plus margin, paves the way for potentially millions of convicted felons in the state to vote. Nov. 7, 2018

256

The people voted to approve, and the republicans with the governor are overturning the peoples vote.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
4.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4    3 weeks ago

Yeah, that's not cool. That is the whole reason we vote for referendums. Overturning it removes the will of the people. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
4.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4    3 weeks ago
The people voted to approve, and the republicans with the governor are overturning the peoples vote.

The people also voted for the legislature which passed the law requiring payment of all fines and restitution.

Which was greatly talked about before the public referendum was passed.

Quite possibly, many voters might have thought that would happen, which would only increase support for returning felons their voting rights.

 
 
 
evilgenius
4.2.1  evilgenius  replied to  Texan1211 @4.2    2 weeks ago
the legislature which passed the law requiring payment of all fines and restitution.

It's not so much they passed the law requiring payment of fines and restitution as it's the fact they allowed no tool for people to track what they owe. The legislature rigged the game.

 
 
 
Texan1211
4.2.2  seeder  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @4.2.1    2 weeks ago

Then that is a separate issue to be addressed by administrators or lawmakers.

 
 
 
loki12
4.3  loki12  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4    3 weeks ago

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment Article VI, Section 4. Voting Restoration Amendment  This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.

Fines and restitution are part of the sentence.

Restitution vs. Fines

Although restitution and fines are both financial costs that can be imposed on a defendant as part of a criminal sentence, fines are specific, predetermined penalties that are paid to the court. Their purpose is to punish. Restitution, on the other hand, is intended to repay victims for their losses.

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/restitution-law-victims-crime.html#:~:text=Although%20restitution%20and%20fines%20are,repay%20victims%20for%20their%20losses.

 
 
 
MUVA
4.4  MUVA  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @4    2 weeks ago

People in California voted against gay marriage at one time.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
5  Dean Moriarty    3 weeks ago

I think it stinks because they knew ahead of time that committing the crime would result in the loss of their voting privileges. They made the choice when they committed the crime and knew it would be part of their punishment. Now they are getting off easy they are not receiving the full punishment for their crimes. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5    3 weeks ago

Dean,

Do you think that people think people commit a crime with voting in mind? I think that is a bit of a stretch. 

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
5.1.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1    3 weeks ago

They should it’s a deterrent for committing felonies. 

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
5.1.2  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5.1    3 weeks ago

Question. What do you think, I can't find it anywhere. How many of these people voted prior to committing their crimes? And do you really think they care about voting when they get out? I, for one, don't think that even crosses their minds once they get out. There are probably a lot of other things on their minds. JMHO

Honest question.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @5.1.2    3 weeks ago

Well, I know two felons who did vote and do vote. I mean it is hardly a large sampling but that is what I can say. 

But there is no reason to think that is not true of other felons, either. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
5.1.4  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5.1.1    3 weeks ago

Dean, you would have to be able to prove that, and I doubt it is provable. 

 
 
 
Adam_Selene
6  Adam_Selene    3 weeks ago

We always refer to it as "paying your debt to society". 

It's either paid or it isn't.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
7  Release The Kraken    3 weeks ago

This is kind of off topic but when I wear a mask with my newly grown long covid beard it looks like a Women's panty ad from 1970.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
7.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Release The Kraken @7    3 weeks ago

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online

Raven Wing
MAGA


33 visitors