Bill Expanding Law Enforcement’s Use Of Juvenile Civil Citations Draws Some Concerns

Jan 24, 2017

Credit iStockphoto

A top priority for Senate President Joe Negron aimed at decriminalizing adolescence passed its first committee hearing Monday, but not without some concerns.

Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) says her bill seeks to bring uniformity to the civil citation program.

“It does require a law enforcement officer to issue a civil citation or require the juvenile’s participation in a similar diversion program when that juvenile admits to committing one of specified misdemeanors and it’s their first time committing that misdemeanor,” she said.

But, some worry her bill may be too broad. That includes Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), who felt it could tie the hands of law enforcement in certain situations.

“If someone let’s say hits their mom and their mom decides to call 911, and that officer shows up, sees that that person has not been charged with a crime before, but the Mom says, ‘I want him out of here.’ That law enforcement officer then cannot seize that person because the only thing he can do is give that person a civil citation.”

Still, the measure passed 5-2 with Brandes and Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) opposed.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.