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State Supreme Court Rules Financial Obligations Included in Amendment 4

January 17th, 2020 by Mike Vasilinda

Florida’s Supreme Court has validated the Legislature’s efforts to require felons to pay all legal financial obligations such as fines, fees, and restitution, but a federal court will likely have the last word.

Federal District Judge Robert Hinkle has put lawmakers on notice to come up with a plan to make sure those too poor to pay can still vote before an April trial.

Human rights attorney Mark Schlakman said the amendment could be in jeopardy.

“Unless he is satisfied that there adequate provisions in the statute, he could conceivably declare the constitutional amendment for the state of Florida constitution unconstitutional under the U.S. constitution. But then you have questions as to whether and what extent,” said Schlakman. “Is it the whole amendment or just part of the amendment?”

The current law does allow felons to seek a waiver of the financial obligations or perform community service, but there is no statewide standard for how that is carried out.

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