Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Holds Florida Drug Statute Unconstitutional

Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch heard the consolidated motions to dismiss of approximately 40 defendants charged under Florida’s Drug Statute, 893.13, and issued an order today finding that the statute is unconstitutional. He followed United States District Court Judge Mary Scriven’s well-reasoned order likewise holding Florida’s drug statute to be unconstitutional due to its lack of a mens rea or criminal intent requirement. Judge Hirsch’s order is attached.

To date, in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, the Circuit Judges have not followed Judge Scriven’s reasoning and have denied all Motions to Dismiss filed in these counties, so far. Kudos to Judge Hirsch who had the internal fortitude to step out where no other judge dared to go and hold the statute to be unconstitutional. This will surely spur another round of motions locally and Notices of Appeal to the various District Courts of Appeal as this order makes the rounds across the state. Stay tuned for more information as this pivotal decision is dissected.

Judge Declares Florida’s Drug Law Unconstitutional

Mary S. Scriven, United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, held Florida Statute 893.13, Florida’s drug statute, unconstitutional in an order filed on July 27, 2011. In accord with Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a Declaratory Judgment shall be entered separately, declaring Florida Statute, 893.13 unconstitutional. In her 43 page order, Judge Scriven granted Petitioner, Mackle Vincent Shelton’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255.

Click for the full text of the opinion.

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