by Jeff Gore
DeadWe called State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Rep. Ari Porth (the sponsors of the mandatory minimum reform bills) for an explanation of how the intiative died, but we received no answer. So we turned to FAMM and sure enough, the organization's man in Florida, Greg Newburn, had already penned a legislative recap. Here’s an excerpt:
HB 917 passed several committees, but never made it to the full House for a vote. SB 1334 passed the Criminal Justice Committee 5-0, which included the support of Chairman Greg Evers, thanks in part to your efforts to educate him on this issue. It also passed the Judiciary Committee 5-2. As many of you know, our legislative session is only 60 days, and we simply ran out of time. We were able to place the bill on the Senate “Special Order” Calendar, but budget issues prevented the bill from being heard.So there you have it. While an initiative that may have greatly reduced the inmate population (and state expenses) was killed, other legislation passed that gave unprecedented inroads to companies that profit from increased incarceration. In other news, Scott Earle, the Massachusetts native currently serving the 12th year of his 25-year sentence in a Sumter county jail on a drug conviction (see the March 31 feature linked above for the full story), wrote to the Weekly earlier this month to announce that Crowell & Moring, a law firm based in Washington D.C., will be representing him in a commutation petition to Gov. Rick Scott. The firm confirmed that it was representing Earle, but would not provide any other details about the case. A source from FAMM with knowledge of Earle’s finances, as well as the firm's reputation, suggested that the case would be handled pro bono.