TALLAHASSEE, FL – Yesterday, a written document revealed that Jack Campbell’s State Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County is targeting Hispanics with harsher penalties. Leaked by a whistleblower who is a former attorney of the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida, the document instructs that prosecutors pursue harsher punishment if a defendant was Hispanic.
NR Hines, criminal justice policy strategist at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following:
“The criminal legal system has always been racist towards Black and brown people. Even still, it’s truly bold to put such blatant anti-Hispanic and overtly racist plea-offer procedures into writing. We have grave concerns about the impact that this intentionally discriminatory practice has had on Hispanic residents and visitors in Jefferson County.
“Hispanics make up almost 1 in 4 Floridians. The fact that people are being adjudicated guilty based solely because they are Hispanic constitutes large-scale racial profiling, and if replicated elsewhere, puts millions of Floridians at risk. For those navigating the immigration system, such prosecutorial decisions—often for minor offenses such as a traffic violation—can change their lives forever.
“The Second Judicial Circuit’s State Attorney’s office has much to explain and the public deserves prompt answers. How many Hispanic individuals have been more harshly charged solely due to their race, color, ethnicity, and national origin? How many Hispanic people have been adjudicated guilty solely due to their Hispanic heritage? How long has this practice been in existence? How many State Attorney offices in the Second Judicial Circuit have similar discriminatory practices in place? Do other Judicial Circuits have these practices in place as well? We call on the Second Judicial Circuit to answer these questions, as well as complete a publicly available review of their staffing and charging protocols and impact.
“Additionally, we respectfully request that the State Attorney’s office take immediate steps to ensure that any Hispanic person who was negatively impacted by this discriminatory practice have their case reconsidered.
“Floridians expect and deserve better from those who are elected to serve them and pursue justice.”