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William Patrick - page 2

William Patrick has 11 articles published.

Task force would seek to remake Florida’s criminal justice system

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida’s state lawmakers increasingly are embracing criminal justice reform policies that break with the state’s “tough on crime” past. But a sea change could be in the works. But a sea change could be in the works. Last year, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, and the GOP-controlled legislature approved one of the most far-reaching civil asset forfeiture reforms in the country, repealed a 10-20-life mandatory minimum sentencing law, and expanded health care delivery for mentally ill inmates. Mental health advocates say…

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SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch and ‘over-criminalization’

in 2017/Top Headlines by

President Donald Trump’s nomination of  Neil Gorsuch, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, sparked a predictably hostile response from Democrats. But Gorsuch’s record on criminal justice reform offers a rare opportunity for bipartisan agreement. Gorsuch tipped his hand at a gathering of conservative attorneys in Washington, D.C., three years ago by addressing the issue of “over-criminaliztion.” Speaking at the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention in 2013, Gorsuch said, “we have about 5,000 federal criminal statutes…

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Proposed legislation could break the cycle of debt for many caught in Florida’s legal system

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

It’s a vicious circle: Poor people who can’t afford their court-related costs and penalties incur escalating costs for not paying, further indebting them to the state. “It’s a circle that some people get stuck in and they can’t get out,” Christopher Torres, a Tallahassee defense attorney and former Florida assistant attorney general, told Watchdog.org. Compounding the problem is the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses as both a punishment for delinquent payments and an incentive to get people to pay up. For those…

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Under Donald Trump, Florida’s premium cigar industry could escape job-killing FDA regulations

in 2017/Top Headlines by

On the verge of being snuffed out by Obama administration regulators, Florida’s traditional and culturally distinct premium cigar industry has a chance at new life. Late last week, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the incoming chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, met with President-elect Donald Trump and submitted a list of 232 items that could be repealed immediately after Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. “We must undo Obama’s harmful regulatory regime that has hurt hardworking Americans across the nation,” the group said in…

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