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Appeals Court to Decide Constitutionality of Florida’s Drug Laws (NACDL News)
By Ivan J. Dominguez
A diverse group of organizations and law professors concerned about the elimination of intent requirements in criminal statutes is urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to affirm U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven’s July ruling that Florida’s law prohibiting possession, sale, or delivery of controlled substances is “unconstitutional on its face.” NACDL, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Calvert Institute for Policy Research, the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, the Libertarian Law Council, and 38 professors submitted a joint amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief on October 31, 2011, in support of a habeas petitioner who is serving an 18-year sentence under Florida’s strict liability felony drug law.
A jury convicted the petitioner, Mackle Vincent Shelton, of delivery of a controlled substance. The trial judge instructed the jury that “to pro
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