Yesterday was an historic day for the sentencing reform movement in Florida. For the first time in more than 20 years Florida repealed a mandatory minimum sentence! As most of you know, we have worked for years to reform Florida’s 10-20-Life gun sentencing law, which has created some of the worst injustices I’ve seen.
After seeing horror stories about people sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated assault – 20 years for warning shots, or three years for brandishing a firearm – I made it my mission to fix this law. I’m proud to say we did it!
Yesterday Governor Rick Scott signed CS/SB 228, which repeals the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm! Beginning July 1, 2016 – and for the first time since 1999 – judges will have discretion in all aggravated assault cases.
This is a big deal! Right now more than 200 people are serving mandatory minimum sentences in Florida for aggravated assault with a firearm. More importantly, aggravated assault represents nearly 60% of all gun crime in Florida. This reform significantly curtails the scope and impact of 10-20-Life, and guarantees no judge will be forced to impose a twenty-year sentence for a warning shot.
Of course, there is much more work to be done. We will continue the fight to reform Florida’s drug trafficking mandatory minimums, and do everything we can to ensure that those currently incarcerated get the relief they deserve. This is a long and difficult fight, but we won’t quit until we win.