Rick Scott’s final Clemency Board meeting postponed, doesn’t include Groveland Four pardons

It's the governor's last chance to pardon the Groveland Four, but it wasn't on the agenda.
Gov. Rick Scott and the clemency board [The Florida Channel]
Gov. Rick Scott and the clemency board [The Florida Channel]
Published Dec. 3, 2018|Updated Dec. 3, 2018

Last year, the Florida Legislature asked the state's Clemency Board, led by Gov. Rick Scott, to pardon four black men who were wrongly accused of rape in 1949, and then tortured, murdered or unjustly imprisoned.

It was one of the ugliest episodes of racism in the state's history, and lawmakers wanted to extend an apology to the men, dubbed the Groveland Four, and their families.

But neither Scott nor any of the other members of the board have brought up the idea of pardoning the men, who are no longer living.

Scott had one last chance, during the final meeting of the Clemency Board, scheduled for Wednesday. The meeting has been postponed indefinitely, however, and the Groveland Four weren't on the agenda.

It was postponed because the memorial service for former President George H.W. Bush is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C., according to the News Service of Florida.

Scott leaves for the U.S. Senate next month.

It's not just the final meeting for Scott. Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam are also leaving. Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is the only member returning.

Any of them could have nominated the Groveland Four for pardons — Clemency Board rules allow any of the Cabinet members to put someone on the agenda "in cases of exceptional merit."