I don’t know why it should take an act of the Legislature to get thousands of DNA samples from Rape Kits tested, but that’s apparently what it takes. Our own Senator from Southwest Florida, Lizbeth Benacquisto (R, Lee and Charlotte Counties), has sponsored a bill to expedite the process, and the bill has now passed the Criminal Justice Committee, an early step in the process of becoming a law. Kudos to Ms. Benacquisto, and AG Pamela Bondi, who has also made it a point to see that these rape kits get tested in the name of justice.
It remains to be seen how long it takes the state to catch up to the backlog of kits, numbering over 13,000 at one point. In addition to Bondi’s urging, Governor Scott has also pushed for money to get the kits tested. It’s a shame that it still has not happened, and Senator Benaquisto has taken real action to see that happen.
See previously: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/shocking-florida-has-more-than-11000-rape-kits-left-untested/
Gov. Rick Scott
Rick Scott has requested $8.5 million to increase the FDLE budget to try to address the backlog of untested DNA kits in Florida evidence lockers. And he’s not the first to bring this matter to attention, Attorney General Pam Bondi has also pushed to get the backlog of DNA kits tested. This has been front page-level news for weeks now, and it’s time to get something done to pursue our most violent offenders. I applaud Governor Scott for moving this funding request forward and urge anyone involved to get it done quickly.
The concern is real: I had a client that was recently the victim of an attempted murder. A violent criminal fired into his bedroom window, and his girlfriend was gravely injured. Fortunately she is recuperating, but only after multiple surgeries and weeks in a wheelchair. I spoke to the Detective handling the case, who has a good idea of who did it, and will have a strong case, once the DNA evidence is tested. It has been submitted, but it has now been sitting for months in the DNA backlog. That means a violent madman with a gun is still running around at large because the FDLE hasn’t gotten around to testing the DNA evidence that was collected. That’s unacceptable. Meanwhile, the jail is full of non-violent offenders who can’t afford to bond out. It’s time to get our priorities straight.
The legal challenge to the ballot initiative for legalizing medical marijuana has been denied by the Supreme Court, and Florida voters will get a chance to allow medical marijuana when they go to the polls later this year. The denial was a blow to Attorney General Pamela Bondi, who raised the challenge to the wording of the ballot initiative. The political side effect is that it may hurt her reelection chances if the marijuana vote draws more democrats to the polls. Governor Rick Scott has also come out against medical marijuana, while his challenger, Charlie Crist is for it. Crist is employed by attorney John Morgan, who is the primary financial backer of medical marijuana. Morgan and his organization poured 4 million dollars into the signature drive, which was successful in garnering the necessary vote to get the measure on the ballot.
This is just the beginning of the campaign: supporters still face an uphill battle to garner the required 60% of the vote for the measure to pass. It will be interesting to see how the candidates incorporate their support or disapproval of the measure during their campaigns.
Is it Medicinal?
The ballot initiative for medical marijuana has garnered enough signatures to be on the ballot in the upcoming election. It still faces a challenge, as the state Attorney General, Pam Bondi, has filed suit to keep it off the ballot, alleging the language is unclear or misleading. The state Supreme Court has heard argument, and will make a ruling whether the initiative will be on the ballot.
There is some political intrigue, as noted in the linked story above, because democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist works for attorney John Morgan, who has been the main backer of the medical marijuana movement in Florida. If marijuana is on the ballot, it would probably be a boon to his candidate, Crist. Meanwhile, if Bondi is able to keep the measure off the ballot, that will probably assist she and other Republican candidates, such as incumbent governor Rick Scott. Those factors may play as large a role as anything in the marijuana debate that Florida will encounter this year.
The topic is serious, with thousands of ill Floridians unable to seek medicinal marijuana to ease symptoms of Cancer, AIDS, and other ailments. However, Florida Weekly’s take is just too funny not to share. As we have noted before, Attorney John Morgan, of Morgan & Morgan has put his money behind his belief and is spearheading a petition drive to get medicinal marijuana on the Florida ballot. The current hurdle is a legal challenge to the wording of the proposed initiative by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. That is being decided in court right now. Until that is resolved, enjoy this image of a grinning John Morgan superimposed over a mess of marijuana. “For the Reefer” indeed… well played FL Weekly!
Florida Weekly Cover
Crimcourts is on record against legalization for the simple reason that I’m a defense attorney… it would be bad for business!
- Medical Marijuana supports have started a ballot initiative for a statewide vote to allow medical marijuana
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is trying to keep the initiative off the ballot, by challenging the language of ballot proposal
Medical Marijuana supporters have already garnered 100,000 signatures on a petition to put medical marijuana to a statewide vote in Florida. They have a long way to go to reach the more than 600,000 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot, but they have until February to garnish the signatures. Supporters are being aided by attorney John Morgan, who has pledged considerable money to promote the movement.
Attorney General Pamela Bondi
Pam Bondi, the ranking law enforcement official in Florida, is pushing to have the initiative kept off the ballot. Before such a measure can be on the ballot for a vote, it must be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Florida. Bondi is urging the Supreme Court to keep the measure from being on the ballot, that is, to keep it from coming up for a vote by the citizens of Florida. Her complaint is that the summary of the law is misleading, which can be enough for the court to keep it off the ballot. However, her motive is certainly not clarification; rather to kill the initiative. She is an elected official, and she must see political gain from her constituents to convince her to take a stand against a drug initiative… albeit an initiative that only allows medically prescribed marijuana which would provide relief to hundreds of thousands of ill Floridians. Ironically, it is a political gambit that may come back to haunt, as American opinion is shifting in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Still no word on the official investigation.
It has been called to my attention that a petition has been started to ask Pam Bondi and the Attorney General’s office to investigate a possible cover up. Crimcourts has long advocated having the case investigated by an outside agency, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
The petition is here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/investigate-the-officer-involved-shooting-of-tommy
Crimcourts coverage: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/?s=kollman