ACLU to Gov. Crist: Don't Let Dead Rock Stars Dominate Florida Clemency Board Agenda

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
December 7, 2010 12:00 am

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ACLU Seeks Executive Order to Restore Civil and Voting Rights to Non-violent Ex-offenders

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Charlie Crist’s decision to ask other members of the Florida Board of Executive Clemency to join him in a posthumous pardon of Jim Morrison, lead singer of rock band The Doors, drew skepticism today from the ACLU of Florida about the Governor’s desire to bring true reform to Florida’s Reconstruction-era system of disfranchisement.

ACLU leaders respond to the “Rock Star Pardon” request with a request of their own…

The ACLU of Florida is urging the board to adopt an Executive Order before they leave office to immediately restore civil and voting rights to Floridians with past felony convictions for non-violent offenses. This would make good on the promise of “automatic approval” that the Board made in 2007, which has yet to be realized for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

“The Executive Clemency Board has an incredible opportunity to right past wrongs before its members leave office,” stated Muslima Lewis, Director of the ACLU of Florida’s Racial Justice and Voting Rights Projects. “While a posthumous pardon is well within their purview, we remind the governor and the rest of the board that the 2007 promise of ‘automatic approval’ of restoration of civil rights remains unfulfilled, leaving hundreds of thousands of citizens out of the democratic process. We call on them to honor their promise.”

On December 3rd, the ACLU sent a letter underscoring why the Clemency Board should seize this critical opportunity to make truly automatic rights restoration a reality. The letter was cosigned by The Brennan Center for Justice; Collier County Branch, NAACP Homeless, Formerly Homeless Forum, Inc.; HFHF Rights Restoration Comm; Florida Justice Institute; Florida State Conference NAACP; NAACP National Voter Fund; National Congress of Black Women, Orlando Chapter; Orange County Branch, NAACP; Progress Florida; and The Sentencing Project.

“We hope that, in re-visiting an infamous moment in rock and roll history, the Clemency Board will also redress the thousands of contemporary injustices,” added Lewis. “A principled executive order would address current day problems and, in doing so, the board will leave a meaningful legacy of strengthening democracy in Florida.”

You can download a PDF of the December 3rd letter here:

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