Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Too easy for Florida felons to regain civil rights

TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Bill McCollum says the disclosure that the state has licensed some convicted felons as mortgage brokers proves Florida has made it too easy for people with criminal records to get their civil rights restored.

Reacting to a recent series of articles in the Miami Herald, McCollum will urge Gov. Charlie Crist and the Cabinet today to scrap Crist's policy of streamlined restoration of civil rights. In its place, McCollum wants a seven-year ban on felons seeking clemency from entering the mortgage brokerage or lending industry in Florida.

The proposal would undercut one of Crist's biggest policy changes, adopted in April 2007 over McCollum's opposition.

Crist has embraced the idea that released felons deserve "a second chance," and in June members of his administration led a civil rights summit intended to accelerate the restoration process.

The restoration of civil rights is typically a prerequisite to a felon obtaining state-issued licenses in a variety of fields including mortgage broker, the profession spotlighted in the Herald series, "Borrowers Betrayed."

In a letter to Crist and the other two Cabinet members, McCollum wrote: "When ex-felons are able to obtain licenses for positions of trust, as in the mortgage industry, it can be all too easy for the likely recidivist to commit fraud."

Crist's chief of staff, Eric Eikenberg, said the governor won't support McCollum's proposal.

"People have to have hope that they can get on with their lives," said Eikenberg. "That's what the restoration is all about."

Steve Bousquet can be reached at

Too easy for Florida felons to regain civil rights 07/28/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2008 3:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senate GOP set to release health-care bill (w/video)


    WASHINGTON -— Senate Republicans on Thursday plan to release a health-care bill that would curtail federal Medicaid funding, repeal taxes on the wealthy and eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood as part of an effort to fulfill a years-long promise to undo Barack Obama's signature health-care law.

    From left, Uplift Executive Director Heidi Mansir, of Gardiner, Maine, former West Virginia State Rep. Denise Campbell, Elkins, W. Va., University of Alaska-Anchorage student Moira Pyhala of Soldotna, Alaska, and National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson appear before Democratic senators holding a hearing about how the GOP health care bill could hurt rural Americans, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was expected to push for a vote next week on the legislation, which would eliminate much of Obama's 2010 overhaul and leave government with a diminished role in providing coverage and helping people afford it. [Associated Press]
  2. Pasco fire station reopens after hundreds of bats forced crews out

    Human Interest

    Fire crews have returned to a Hudson fire station nearly two weeks after they were forced out by possibly thousands of bats.

    Fire crews returned to Station 39 in Hudson on June 21, 2017, nearly twoo weeks after the building was closed due to a rat infestation. [Times files]
  3. Church of England head says it 'colluded with' sex abuse


    LONDON — The Church of England "colluded" with and helped to hide the long-term sexual abuse of young men by one of its former bishops, the head of the church said Thursday.

  4. Looking Back: St. Petersburg does the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau (July 15, 1975)


    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on July 15, 1975. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Weaver Tripp.

    Jacques Cousteau (center), Sen. John T. Ware, R-St. Petersburg (left) and an unidentified man (right) speak to the media about potentially moving the Cousteau Society to the city of St. Petersburg.

TIMES | Weaver Tripp
  5. Hernando commissioners question sheriff's accounting of federal inmate dollars

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — As Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis and his staff presented his proposed 2017-18 budget earlier this month, county Commissioner Steve Champion threw out an unexpected question.

    Sheriff Al Nienhuis and the county fought over his department’s budget last year.