Last week, a federal appeals court stayed a previously discussed decision by a Tallahassee Florida judge to preempt the Florida constitutional process by inventing federal constitutional objections to Florida’s system for restoring felons’ civil rights. Because this opinion ran sharply athwart settled constitutional law, its chief effect was to change the optics of a Florida constitutional amendment expected on the ballot in November. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the trial court’s attempt to legislate from the bench and ensured that any changes to current law will be orderly and only through the democratic process.
The trial court’s implicit holding that reinstatement of felons’ right to vote is an entitlement rather than an act of mercy is bizarre when placed within its historical context. At common law, the term “felony” denoted an offense for which the convicted would either be executed or ousted from his property. In either event, he would be ineligible to vote. The Fourteenth Amendment, passed in the wake of reconstruction to secure civil rights for all, specifically contemplated that felons would forfeit their right to vote along with their freedom. All felons are warned of this consequence during plea and/or sentencing.
Article IV, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution provides a mechanism to restore civil rights to felons. Because this process requires an individualized assessment, discretion is vested in our democratically elected officials to determine which felons are sufficiently rehabilitated to exercise this weighty power. The federal trial court purported to usurp this power and supervise the Florida Cabinet in exercising this constitutional duty despite admitting its lack of expertise.
This office has represented many convicted felons and routinely attempts to reduce, mitigate, or avoid punishment. However, no criminal defense client has ever sought legal services because he made good choices. Exercise of the vote impacts the lives of millions of other people. Convicted felons also lose their (constitutionally enumerated) right to own firearms upon conviction. Few would argue that this right should be restored automatically without an individualized assessment. The vote should be treated with similar care.
This shameless attempt to legislate from the bench, and the correction of that abuse by the 11th Circuit, underscores the vital work of Governor Scott and President Trump in selecting humble judges who will interpret the law without imposing their will.
Clients are once again warned about unethical prosecutors in the wake of the raid on Attorney Michael Cohen’s offices.
Attorney-client privilege and confidentiality are the oldest recognized privileges, dating back to 17th Century England. According to the United States Supreme Court, the assurance of confidentiality encourages clients to provide “full and frank” information to their lawyers, who are then able to provide candid advice on how clients may conform their conduct to the law.
The DOJ has undermined this centuries-old tradition and thwarted politicians’ attempts to obtain quality legal advice and ensure good government.
As Lavrentiy Beria (the Soviet counterpart to J. Edgar Hoover) said, “show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.” Given the ease with which a grand jury will indict the proverbial ham sandwich, these tactics are not only unethical, they are strikingly ineffective.
For nearly a year, these investigations have monopolized resources needed for counterterror, counterintelligence, or enhanced background checks necessary to prevent school shootings. Sloppy case management and myopia continue to squander precious investigative time.
Any prosecutor can put any witness in a position where they either look stupid or lie (sometimes both). Now that prosecutors have shown bad faith, Trump should refuse to cooperate with this blunderbuss fishing expedition.
Attorney Beltran both litigates against the state and serves as a Judicial Nominating Commissioner. He respectfully but strongly disagrees with a recent article claiming that Governor Scott “loves spending . . . tax dollars to fight his court battles.” As a practicing lawyer, Attorney Beltran can attest that nobody loves paying legal bills. Governor Scott has discharged his duty to protect the Florida Constitution. Many of the state’s legal positions have been sustained in trial courts or vindicated on appeal. For example, Florida recently prevailed in disputes involving prosecutorial discretion in pursuit of the death penalty and also appointment of Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida, to name just two cases.
21 million people produce over $800 billion worth of goods and services in Florida. Our legal problems are commensurate with our population and economy. Most Florida government lawyers (agency and retained) are hardworking professionals and diligent stewards of public funds. Governor Scott heavily subsidizes the operation of his office from his personal fortune. Very few large entities, let alone states, keep their legal spend, inclusive of settlements and judgments, to such a low ratio. Compared with our defense budget, $40 million is a small price to defend the Constitution.
As Alexander Hamilton noted, if judges exercise will instead of judgment, the result is the substitution of their pleasure for that of the elected lawmaking body. Unfortunately, it appears that, in the case discussed in the article, the Obama-appointed judge and the Plaintiff’s counsel, and not Governor Scott, disenfranchised the voters and wasted tax dollars. If the case will be moot in November, then why was it not dismissed under the political question doctrine or stayed pending the amendment process?
On Tuesday night, Attorney Beltran’s hard campaigning resulted in victory in the five-way race for the Fishhawk Ranch HOA Board. Attorney Beltran received more votes than all other candidates combined. Attorney Beltran was also appointed Treasurer at the meeting. Attorney Beltran thanks the community for its support and confidence and looks forward to working with the board, the homeowners, and other local leaders to keep Fishhawk Ranch great.
This morning, the Second District Court of Appeal issued several rulings in favor of Attorney Beltran’s client affirming the entirety of a long mortgage foreclosure matter. The Court rejected appeals by both the junior creditors and the debtors, who claim they lost seven-figures of equity in several multifamily apartment buildings. The appellants complicated this straightforward foreclosure by breaching several settlement agreements, asserting unusual intercreditor issues, filing seriatim bankruptcies, attempting legerdemain in the redemption process, and pursuing a myriad of post-judgment motions. The Appeals Court also authorized Attorney Beltran’s client to seek attorney fees against both the junior creditors and the debtors.
Attorney Michael Beltran, who has a decade of experience in high-stakes litigation, is offering his services as a HOA board member. Attorney Beltran will use his legal training and fiscally conservative values to keep Fishhawk Ranch a great place to live. Attorney Beltran’s Letter to Residents is being distributed ahead of the Tuesday March 27, 2018 Election Meeting at the Palmetto Club. Residents who are unable to attend are requested to return their HOA Proxy to Attorney Beltran’s office or directly to Rizzetta.