WHO KNEW? BEING POOR IS NO LONGER A CRIME IN FLORIDA SAYS OUR SUPREME COURT!!

The Florida Supreme Court recently held in Del Valle v. State that before a Judge can revoke probation and incarcerate a Defendant for failure to pay, the Judge must first make inquiry into the Defendant’s actual ability to pay. Even your favorite Clearwater Defense Attorney is heartened that being poor is no longer a crime in Florida.


The Judge must determine in a hearing: Did the Defendant have the ability to pay or did the Defendant willfully refuse to pay. Under Florida law, the trial court must make its finding regarding whether the probationer willfully violated probation by the greater weight of the evidence. The Judge must do this in a hearing where the Defendant can provide evidence because an automatic revocation of probation without evidence presented as to ability to pay to support the trial court’s finding of willfulness violated due process.  Although it is constitutional to place the burden on the Defendant to prove his inability to pay, the aspect of section 948.06(5), Florida Statutes, that required a Defendant to prove his inability to pay by the heightened standard of clear and convincing evidence was unconstitutional.
Probation reduced by Pinellas Crime Attorney
Bar Journal Article on clear and convincing evidence
Excellent Discusion of State v. Del Valle as affecting State v. Adkins
Public Information – Oral Argument
It’s far better to be poor in Clearwater, Florida than rich in England… at least in Tampa Bay there’s much more sunshine.
Old Beggar, 1916, by Louis Dewis, painted just outside his clothing store in Bordeaux, France.

File:OldBeggar1.jpg