A state appeals court on Wednesday rejected a federal judge’s controversial ruling that Florida’s drug statute is unconstitutional. Story here.
Miami-Dade’s Third District Court of Appeal said it did not agree with a ruling by U.S. Judge Mary Scriven, of Osceola County, which said Florida’s drug law was “draconian” because prosecutors don’t have to prove that the accused actually knew of the illicit nature of the drugs they were carrying.
Scriven’s ruling, in Shelton v. Department of Corrections, has sparked thousands of requests statewide from defendants seeking their freedom.
At the heart of the issue is Florida’s Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law. In May 2002, the Legislature changed the state’s existing law, removing the burden of authorities to prove that the accused had “knowledge” of the illicit nature of the drugs, although the defendants could raise that defense at trial.