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Florida Supreme Court Upholds Strict Drug Law

Friday, July 13th, 2012

prison barbed wire and towerThe Florida Supreme Court has just issued a ruling that will keep thousands of convicted drug offenders behind bars. The Court upheld a controversial state drug possession law that requires defendants to prove they did not know they were carrying an illegal substance. Although 48 other states put the burden of proof on the state instead of the defendant, in 2002 the Florida state legislature said that prosecutors no longer have to prove that defendants know of the drugs’ illicit nature. One year ago, U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven called the law “draconian and unreasonable,” ruling that it was unconstitutional and prompting thousands to appeal their convictions. But in a 5-2 ruling on Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court countered Scriven’s ruling with the statement, “There is no constitutional right to possess contraband.” Since the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling conflicts with the federal district court ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court will have to issue the final decision on the matter.

 

Source: Reuters Florida Supreme Court Upholds Tough Drug Possession Law

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