Florida Law Denying Vote to Ex-Felons Faces Critical Court Date March 25 Hearing in Johnson v. Bush

March 25, 2002

For Immediate Release

Contact Information:

Amanda Cooper, 212 998-6736

Media Alert: Florida Law Denying Vote to Ex-Felons Faces Critical Court Date

March 25 Hearing in Johnson v. Bush

When: Monday, March 25, 2002, 10:00 a.m.

Where: Federal Courthouse in Miami
Courtroom of Judge James Lawrence King
99 NE Fourth Street
Courtroom Room 2, 11th Floor
Miami, Florida 33132

What: The hearing is the latest development in the case of Johnson v. Bush. The lawsuit seeks to restore voting rights to more than 600,000 ex-felons in the state of Florida who have served their time and are now productive, tax-paying citizens.

The judge will hear argument on three motions to exclude expert evidence. The state has challenged the evidence of plaintiffs’ expert, Professor Jerrell Shofner, a leading historian of Florida’s Reconstruction who will testify that Floridas ban on ex-felon voting was enacted in 1868 for racially discriminatory purposes. Defendants also seek to exclude the testimony of Professor Richard K. Scher regarding Florida’s constitutional revisions in 1968.

Plaintiffs have moved to exclude the state’s expert, Professor Lance deHaven-Smith, a political scientist who would testify on the adoption of the felon disenfranchisement policy in 1868.

Who: Nancy Northup of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is lead attorney for the case. Co-counsel with the Brennan Center is the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Florida civil rights attorney James K. Green.

Plaintiffs and attorneys are available for comment or interview. Get more information, including briefs filed, by clicking here.