Florida Senate Passes the Threatened Use of Force Act

Post Date: April 3, 2014

Dear Florida FAMM, 

What an unbelievably exciting day! For the first time since 1999, the Florida legislature passed a bill that recognizes the need for judicial discretion in 10-20-Life cases. And you helped make it happen! FAMM has been telling stories of injustice under Florida’s inflexible gun sentencing laws for years, and I’ve traveled all over the state telling anyone who would listen – and many who wouldn’t – that 10-20-Life needs reform. And today, by a bipartisan vote of 32-7, the Florida legislature voted to say they agree!

This bill is an important step to fixing some of the real problems we’ve identified in 10-20-Life. For too long, judges in aggravated assault cases have been forced to send people like Orville Lee Wollard, Erik Weyant, Ronald Thompson and Marissa Alexander to 20-year prison sentences that everyone recognized were unnecessarily severe. This reform gives judges discretion to depart from 10-20-Life in just such cases.

Since the House had already passed the same bill, it now goes to the Governor for his approval. Governor Scott has seven days from the time he receives the bill to act on it. So we should know by the end of next week or early the following week whether the bill will become law.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate! 

Best,
Greg

Greg Newburn
Florida Project Director
Families Against Mandatory Minimums