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.
   32  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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, or restoration 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         944.2925Relief 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.