Paper Calls for Repeal of Florida’s ‘Simplistic’ Anti-Murder Act


The St. Petersburg Times is calling for repeal of Florida’s “Anti-Murder Act,” under which ex-convicts accused of violating the terms of their release are automatically jailed and denied bail until a hearing before a judge to determine whether they will be returned to state prison. The paper says, “Passage of the Anti-Murder Act was a simplistic campaign promise by former Gov. Charlie Crist in reaction to the 2004 rape and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia by a man out on the street after having violated his probation. Crist was intent on getting the measure through the Legislature despite its projected cost to the state prison system of $268 million over five years.”

The paper says the law “limits judicial discretion, overcrowds local jails, adds unnecessarily to state prisons and costs people their second chance to become productive members of society.” It concludes, “Repeal of this law makes financial and public policy sense. Judges would still be able to deny bail to a probation violator thought to be dangerous. But people who are clearly not a threat to society would be able to continue working toward a law-abiding life. Reducing recidivism was one of the goals of (new Gov. Rick) Scott’s law-and-order transition team. This would be a good place to start.”

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