Fla. Probation Provision Ruled Unconstitutional

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court has narrowly struck down a new provision in the state’s probation law regarding restitution payments.

The 4-3 majority on Thursday ruled the provision that passed earlier this year is onerous and unconstitutional in a Miami-Dade County case.

It applied to defendants facing revocation of probation for allegedly failing to pay restitution.

The law required defendants to prove they were unable to pay restitution by clear and convincing evidence to avoid going to jail.

The majority ruled the state first must prove a defendant had the ability to pay and then willfully refused.

Only then can a defendant be required to prove an inability to pay by a preponderance of evidence.

That’s a lower burden of proof required by the law.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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