Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1654 By Senator Lee 20-00921B-18 20181654__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to restoration of rights; providing a 3 short title; amending s. 944.292, F.S.; conforming 4 provisions to changes made by the act; creating s. 5 944.2925, F.S.; authorizing a person subject to a 6 legal disability due to a criminal conviction to 7 petition a certain court for relief from such 8 disability; specifying that a habitual felony offender 9 and a person convicted of a violent or sexual crime 10 are not eligible to petition the court for relief from 11 legal disability; providing applicability; providing 12 that a person’s civil rights may not be restored until 13 certain requirements are met; providing requirements 14 for the petition; requiring the court to schedule a 15 hearing if the petition meets such requirements; 16 providing requirements for the hearing; prohibiting 17 the petitioner from petitioning again for relief 18 within a specified period if the final order denies 19 relief; authorizing the petitioner to seek judicial 20 review of a final order denying relief in a certain 21 district court of appeal; requiring the reason for 22 overturning a ruling on appeal to be based on abuse of 23 discretion by the court; requiring all filing and 24 court costs to be set by the State Courts 25 Administrator subject to certain requirements and 26 collected by a certain clerk of court; specifying that 27 the court must grant or deny a petition in full; 28 providing that relief from disability restores a 29 petitioner’s constitutional and civil rights; 30 providing an effective date. 31 32 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 33 34 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Economic 35 Redemption and Relief From Criminal Conviction Disabilities 36 Act.” 37 Section 2. Subsection (1) of section 944.292, Florida 38 Statutes, is amended to read: 39 944.292 Suspension of civil rights.— 40 (1) Upon conviction of a felony as defined in s. 10, Art. X 41 of the State Constitution, the civil rights of the person 42 convicted shall be suspended in Florida until such rights are 43 restored by a full pardon, conditional pardon,
orrestoration of 44 civil rights granted pursuant to s. 8, Art. IV of the State 45 Constitution, or as provided in s. 944.2925. 46 Section 3. Section 944.2925, Florida Statutes, is created 47 to read: 48 944.2925 Relief from legal disability.— 49 (1) A person subject to any legal disability, including 50 suspension of constitutional or civil rights due to a criminal 51 conviction, may petition the circuit court of the county in 52 which he or she resides or the circuit court in the county where 53 the person was convicted for relief from such disability. A 54 habitual felony offender as defined in s. 775.084 and a person 55 convicted of a violent or sexual crime are not eligible to 56 petition the court for relief from legal disability under this 57 section. This section does not apply to the requirements for 58 registration as a sexual predator under s. 775.21 or as a sexual 59 offender under s. 943.0435. 60 (2) A person’s civil rights may not be restored until all 61 sentences or supervision periods are completed; all restitution 62 owed to a current or prior victim is paid in full, including 63 judgments or liens; all delinquent child support obligations are 64 current and up to date; there are no pending criminal charges, 65 warrants, or detainers; and 7 years have elapsed since the 66 completion of all court-ordered sanctions. 67 (3) The petition must contain the following: 68 (a) Documentation showing the convictions or adjudications 69 upon which the petitioner’s disability is based, the sentence 70 imposed and served, and any release granted or other disposition 71 of each case. 72 (b) Facts demonstrating that the petitioner may qualify for 73 relief under this section and that he or she meets the criteria 74 in subsection (2). 75 (c) A request for relief, seeking the petitioner’s 76 indefinitely suspended civil rights be restored. 77 (4)(a) If the petition meets the form requirements in 78 subsection (3), the court must schedule a hearing. 79 (b) At the hearing, the petitioner must present clear and 80 convincing evidence that: 81 1. The petitioner has not engaged in felonious, violent, 82 fraudulent, or ongoing criminal acts since completing all court 83 ordered sanctions; 84 2. The petitioner has taken proactive rehabilitative 85 actions, such as volunteering in the community or enrolling in 86 educational courses, since the completion of all court-ordered 87 sanctions; 88 3. The petitioner presents no danger to public health, 89 safety, or welfare; 90 4. The petitioner has met all the criteria for relief in 91 subsection (2); 92 5. Restoration of the petitioner’s civil rights would not 93 be contrary to the public interest; 94 6. The petitioner has not committed any new criminal 95 violations; and 96 7. The petitioner has assumed full responsibility for the 97 criminal conduct giving rise to the legal disability. 98 (c) A record of the hearing shall be made by a certified 99 court reporter or by court-approved electronic means. 100 (d) The court shall make written findings of fact and 101 conclusions of law on the issues before it and issue a final 102 order. 103 (5) If the final order denies relief, the petitioner may 104 not petition again for relief until 1 year after the date of the 105 final order. 106 (6) The petitioner may seek judicial review of a final 107 order denying relief in the district court of appeal having 108 jurisdiction over the court that issued the order. The reason 109 for overturning a ruling on appeal must be based on abuse of 110 discretion by the court. 111 (7) All filing and court costs shall be set by the State 112 Courts Administrator in proportion to the cost of rendering 113 court services under this section and shall be collected by the 114 clerk of court in the county in which the petition is to be 115 filed. 116 (8) The court must grant or deny the petition in full. 117 (9) Relief from disability granted pursuant to this section 118 restores to the petitioner all constitutional and civil rights 119 as if the petitioner were never convicted of a felony. 120 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.