Critical Criminal Justice reforms move forward

HB 783, the progressive Criminal Justice reform legislation sponsored by Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation)  advanced through the Criminal Justice Committee Monday afternoon. The legislation is predictably supported by the state’s public defenders but opposed by prosecutors throughout the state. Rep. Edwards has worked with Republicans, some of which believed her proposal was too far reaching and ambitious to craft a reasonable compromise that would still prevent any child under 13 from being tried in an adult court.

However, these efforts weren’t enough for one committee member who happens to be a Democrat – Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Lake Worth). The opposition of Kerner based on his comments Monday, largely mirror the lobbying talking points of The Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association (FPAA). The FPAA which counts the infamous Angela Corey among its leading members has employed an aggressive effort to kill this legislation by misrepresenting its scope at times and expressing concerns about how editing direct file would impact State Attorney’s throughout the state.

Nonetheless, the legislation has a broad base of support from the Southern Poverty Law Center, to the ACLU, to Florida PTA. Former Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Waters also supports the legislation and spoke in its favor of the proposed changes at the Criminal Justice Committee hearing.

We will continue to track this legislation as it works its way through the process.

5 comments

  1. Rep. Dave Kerner · · Reply

    TFS, I appreciate the reporting on this important effort. I have no doubt that reforms are needed, and that Rep. Edwards is the person who can actually tackle them.

    With that said, a balance needs to be found. Preempting our elected state attorneys ability to direct file 16 and 17 year olds for some of the most egregious felony crimes in our statutes is something I’m presently unable to support. No doubt, my perspective is conditioned by my time as a police officer and special prosecutor. I think it is a unique but healthy perspective and hopefully will allow me to bring a little bit more balance to the legislation.

    Thanks again for following this bill, and I hope to be able to support the bill at some time in the near future.

    Kindly,
    Dave Kerner

  2. Barbara DeVane · · Reply

    You need to first spank David Kerner and then organize a large group in his area to send him messages.This is also Aronberg pulling his strings!!! UGH!!Barbara

  3. Kartik,how many times do I have to comment on the attributes of Representative Edwards. Her compassion for the less fortunate is truly inspiring. If you watched the Honorable Representative present HB783 before The Criminal Justice SubCommittee you would see her passion for this Bill. I have not seen any other Representative so prepared to present a Bill. Her hard work is incredible! This Bill is so logical, it amazes me that anyone could vote against it. When will you start supporting her for higher office. She would blow the competition away!!!

  4. Writing about actual legislation and Not
    Patrick Murphy. Plus 1.

  5. The future · · Reply

    What about trying adults without minimum sentencing requirements? That’d be really progressive.

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