Florida Senate Gets One Right On Criminal Justice


This is a year when Democrats believe that civil rights are under assault everywhere in the Republican-let Legislature.  Yet a bill is moving through the Senate which gives more rights those suspected of a crime.

More rights for those suspected of a crime! From this Legislature!

Am I dreaming?

It’s no dream.  This bill drafted by a Republican would actually reform the way police lineups are conducted.

It passed the Criminal Justice Committee 4-1 last week. Monday it passed the Judiciary Committee 6-0.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Sen. Joe Negron, a Palm City lawyer.  It would make these significant changes:

*Any lineup must be conducted by someone not participating in the criminal investigation.

*The person conducting it can not know which person in the lineup is suspected of a crime.

*A court may consider any deviance from the procedure in a motion to suppress an identification of a defendant.

The bill is necessary according to the Republican Senate’s own staff research.

Three out of four inmates later freed by DNA evidence were convicted after being falsely identified by witnesses, according to the research.

Of 230 police agencies surveyed, only 37 had written policies governing the eyewitness identification of suspects.  That means 197 did not have a policy on eyewitness identifications which could end a person’s freedom.

Just hours after the bill passed its latest committee Monday, Derrick Williams, 48, was released from a state prison near Bradenton based on DNA evidence.  He served 18 years for kidnapping and rape, a conviction that was partially based on eyewitness testimony.

It is appalling miscarriages of justice like this that the bill will try to stop.  Negron and every Republican who voted for SB 1206 should be applaudedon this bill at least.

5 Responses to “Florida Senate Gets One Right On Criminal Justice”

  1. Broward Politico says:

    Buddy – Don’t praise the Repubs too much. They will be screwing the criminal justice system over in many other ways.

  2. Wayne Arnold says:

    I’m a registered Democrat but on this issue the Repub’s are right. And, it never hurts to give credit where credit is due.

  3. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear Friends:

    It’s been a while since wrote here.

    Why should this news surprise anyone? Even people that see things differently can agree on something. Everyone deep down wants justice, fairness and good deeds. It’s only when we give up our ability to communicate, when we focus more on what divides us than what we have in common, that things in government get ugly.

    More to the point, government becomes ugly when we as people become ugly. That’s because government is a reflection of society.

    So here’s a tip for Democrats and Republicans alike — if you don’t like what you’re seeing in government these days take a good close look in the mirror.

    Now, that’s a somewhat risky thing for a politician to say but you know what? I’m well beyond caring about political risks when it comes to things that important. If we’re going to get this right again we need to be clear about what’s going on. Only then can we bring America back.

    Don’t buy this argument? Go read a few chapters of Plato’s Republic; our blueprint for democracy. In fact, pick any you wish. A basic principle in that runs consistently through his philosophy, is that government is as it is because we as people are as we are. That’s deeply revealing in today’s context.

    In other words, this shit has been for over 2,500 years. It is not the end of the world, we simply have to get our head’s straight again. Anger is not the filter through which we can properly govern. Not joy. But moderation. Pessimism is not the prism through which light can shine, nor can we see through the garish light of optimism. It is through discernment that we can see clearly.

    Democracies go through high’s and lows, we’re in a low right now, and as we’ve done in society before we simply need to snap out of it.

    I wrote the following comment in response to something else today and share it with you, not so much in connection with this subject but as a general comment that reflects what a lot of us, irrespective of political party, have been feeling lately. It may not sound that way but it is, in fact, a message of hope.

    Our society depends on true leadership and never thrives in dictatorship. We see no statesmanship but animus. There is no dialogue there is name calling. It is the hubris of ignorance that refuses to listen to others with different viewpoints. It is the humility of intelligence that remains open minded and eager to listen.

    Today there is no vision there is mirage. There is no news there is manipulation. There is no ethics for lack of honor. There is no good will there is hatred. There is no discipline there is anarchy.

    There is no self-control there is self-indulgence. We don’t strive for a higher plane, our delight is to wallow in the mud.

    We point an agry finger at government and blame “them” for what we have become. But what is government if not a reflection of who we are? Isn’t government by the people our mandate for self-governance? And if so then the problem is in us. We have become lesser people, and our government is merely a reflection.

    When we are at our best, government reflects the best us — our character, our virtue, compassion and talent. When we see the least of our qualities reflected in government, that tells us who we have become because without us “they” are nothing. “They” don’t even exist without us.

    Stop the bickering and hatred. Become a nation again before we undo God’s most perfect creation; America. Celebrate what we have in common and be open to differences in viewpoints. Be kind and patient and giving to one another so that we can find the right path to dealing with society’s problems. That is how we are when we are at our best.

    Please bring that society back, I really miss living there.

    Best regards,


  4. But Buddy says:

    Buddy, don’t give the legislature too much credit for this. Even a broken clock has to be right twice a day.

    Sorry to use the term But Buddy when talking about a legislature that spends 95% of its time screwing the little guy.

  5. Death Frog 3 says:

    This is actually a reform long over do. The legislature should not have to make this a law but in reality the police do not regularly use “Double Blind” methods for photo arrays. This is an issue I am passionate about and have testified about in numerous supression hearings.

    It’s about time. FYI BSO has been using the douple blind method for a few years.