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Bondi wants to do away with automatic restoration of rights for felons

by Dara Kam | February 24th, 2011

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants to do away completely with the state’s limited automatic restoration of rights for felons even as civil rights groups are seeking an expansion of it.

In Florida, certain felons automatically get their rights restored upon completion of their sentences and restitution.

But Bondi, a Republican and former prosecutor, says the current system goes too easy on criminals.

“I don’t believe any felony should have an automatic restoration of rights. I believe you should have to ask and there should be an appropriate waiting period,” Bondi told reporters after a clemency meeting this morning.

Bondi said she wants a three-to-five year waiting period before convicted felons can appeal to have their rights restored.

The years-long waiting period will help clear up a backlog of more than 100,000 convicted felons trying to get their rights back.

Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet, acting as the board of clemency, approved new rules nearly four years ago making it easier for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes to have their civil rights restored.

Bondi’s predecessor Bill McCollum cast the lone dissenting vote on the rule change.

Now, felons convicted of nonviolent crimes who have fulfilled their sentences will be allowed to vote, hold public office, apply for occupational licenses and sit on juries without applying for clemency, a cumbersome process that can take years. The 2007 change also expedited the process for felons convicted of some violent crimes.

Florida first banned voting by felons in 1845, and the ban was put into the state constitution in 1868.

Voting rights for felons was one of the issues in the disputed 2000 presidential election, when many people, mostly black, were wrongly purged from voter rolls because of an error-riddled state voter database that misidentified them as felons.

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6 Responses to “Bondi wants to do away with automatic restoration of rights for felons”

  1. Financial Attorney Says:

    Pam Bondi

    So far I’m really unimpressed by Ms. Bondi.

    I’m honestly having a hard time understanding the goal here. Seems to me Ms. Bondi wants to continue criminalizing people after there sentences are served.
    I’m fine with the non-violent side of the law. You still punish people that caused harm. Financial harm, I could see maybe being added to the existing law.

    Here’s my concern, Ms. Bondi appears not to understand the cost associated here with her suggestion, which I can foresee being a issue on her point. These processes won’t pay for themselves.

    A root concern appears for me in general although, as a associate in law enforcement recently pointed out Ms. Pam Bondi’s position on pill mills and the pill database that’s proposed.

    Frankly just in the last week several South Florida lawmakers have pointed out Ms. Bondi’s incompetence that appeared to interfere with the Pill Mill Raid’s yesterday, that many, many were pleased about in South Florida.

    Like this suggestion, and this interference into a existing United States partnered with Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade County investigation, into these pill mills.

    I as a Republican and Lawyer feel that Ms. Bondi’s conduct warrants addition investigation by the Southeast U.S. Attorney’s office. Somethings a real miss with her positions, she’s a Attorney General and there are many pressing civil issues for her office to purse.

    What is the benefit for the Attorney General’s office on this issue?

    I’m confused.

  2. Financial Attorney Says:

    From that law enforcement associate.

    I’ve also recently heard that Pam Bondi was the prosecutor in the Tampa area years ago when a 14 year old boy died in boot camp custody. That Pam Bondi did not want to prosecute those involved in that 14 year old boy’s death.

    Ms. Pam Bondi’s morals and values are highly suspect. Really seems to paint Ms. Bondi involvement with that child’s death as being very complicit considering Ms. Bondi was somewhat forced to prosecute.

    As a Lawyer myself, Ms. Bondi is not welcome in my profession with conduct like that. As a Republican I can’t believe our seniors would vote for a complicit child killer.

    I guess social security is just more important than kid’s are, sad.

  3. Kevin Says:

    This is obviously a ploy to politically disenfranchise people, who have been convicted of a crime, which everybody knows by and large will benefit the republicans. This has nothing to do with the role of her office and her ethics should be investigated. She is a political hack with a pretty face and a great rack and just like Sarah Palin that’s a dangerous combination. Gov Scott has shown us already that he is siding with the pill mills. If she interfered with yesterday’s activities she needs to be called out for it. Weather you choose top call it incompetence or deliberate interference with an investigation it’s obvious where her loyalty is and it’s not to the people of Florida.

  4. Corinne T. Miller Says:

    How sad that the Attorney General wants to return us to the rules of the old South that were designed to keep former slaves off the voting rolls.
    So many acts have been added to the felony category in an attempt to be “tough on crime” that our prisons are filled with non-violent drug users who present a public health not a criminal hazard.

    If this administration really wants to save money, we should provide rehabiitation not prison.

    The only pupose of being one of only three states that does not automatically restore civil right to those who have served their time is to keep minorities from voting.

    Once released, former offenders, pay taxes but have no representation – even the tea party should understand that.

    To save money and play fair – voting rights should be resored automaticaly upon completion of sentense.

  5. No more lax ethics!! Says:

    I don’t think it is right for Miss Bondi to use State workers during business hours to walk her dog! Her own employee, Jason Gonzalez, walks her big St. Bernard all around downtown for everyone to see. That is just wrong Miss Bondi! Where are your ethics? And, why would you ever think that it is alright to use State resources this way? Do like the rest of us and pay someone who doesn’t work for you to come take your dog out!! Not only that, but he drives her everywhere. I don’t recall any provision for the TAXPAYERS to provide a driver for the Attorney General. She should know better!

  6. Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity Says:

    Those who don’t follow the laws should not automatically get to make the laws for everyone else, which is what you do when you vote. The right to vote should be restored carefully, on a case-by-case basis. See our website: http://www.ceousa.org/content/blogcategory/64/93/

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