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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Round and Round They Go

MIAMI (CN) - Miami voters have joined the fight against Gov. Charlie Crist, after he twice suspended City Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones. Jones was sworn in on the same day she was arrested for allegedly stealing $50,000 from the county in 2005. Crist then suspended her and called for a new election. She won that one too, and Crist suspended her again.

Spence Jones claims the governor is unconstitutionally prohibiting her from serving.

Crist chose the Rev. Richard P. Dunn to replace her after she won the second election. Dunn came in second to Spence Jones in the Jan. 12 special election, but Crist dubbed him the new commissioner on Jan. 26.

The ACLU represented voters last week in Miami-Dade County Court in a hearing on a motion to intervene on the twice-suspended commissioner's lawsuit against the governor.

The motion was granted.

Spence Jones' attorney, Dennis Bedard said the governor did not only violate Spence Jones' rights, he violated the rights of voters.

"The voters were also affected by governor's decision and want to be part of lawsuit and have their arguments heard," Bedard said. "They have the constitutional right to vote for candidate they want. They basically were disenfranchised."

The case is slated for trial on Feb. 23.

Spence Jones is a Democrat. Crist is a Republican. Another attorney representing Spence Jones told the Miami Herald that Crist's actions seem "a little anti-democratic."

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