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Expanded Adult Civil Citation Program Approved by Broward Commissioners
DATE:  February 8, 2018
CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager, Broward Commission
PHONE: 954-357-8053

BROWARD COUNTY, FL -Broward County's Adult Civil Citation program has now been expanded to include adults who have committed certain qualifying misdemeanor nonviolent crimes.  The program, approved by Broward County Commissioners, allows law enforcement officers to issue a citation, instead of filing a state misdemeanor criminal charge, which could eventually lead to a possible jail sentence and lifetime criminal record.

"I think it's something we need to enact here in Broward County.  Anything we can do to divert some of these folks away from the county jail and the expense associated with that I favor," Broward County 17
th Circuit Court Chief Judge Jack Tuter told Commissioners.  

"I think this is one of the most progressive ordinances that we have ever put forward," noted Broward County Mayor Beam Furr.

"This will benefit our community.  We will save quite a bit of money.  The Juvenile Civil Citation Program has saved over $14 million since it was put in place four years ago. It is a powerful tool to use to bring justice, to bring resources to people who are in need of it and to really empower our community and make us stronger," said Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, who first brought the ordinance forward for Commission approval.  

"I did want to mention and thank Chief Judge Tuter, because I've seen a number of chief judges and they all had their direction and their ideas, but he is really cutting edge and he's really showing tremendous commitment to a very vulnerable population," said Commissioner Nan Rich, a co-sponsor of the ordinance.

"The Broward County State Attorney, the Chief Judge, Public Defender, the Sheriff have all been supportive on this and I think that's important," said Commissioner Steve Geller, a co-sponsor of the ordinance.

"This gives our public servants, our first responders, our law enforcement officers discretion on these issues. I also want to thank the Chief Judge for his comments and his dedication to this," said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

The Adult Civil Citation Program would require participants to complete mandatory community service hours, pay a program fee, and undergo screening to determine if additional intervention services such as behavioral health treatment, educational programs, or restorative justice meetings are warranted. Participants who fail to complete the program will have their citations sent back to the issuing law enforcement agency for possible criminal prosecution. Participants who successfully complete the program will have their cases closed and cleared by the issuing law enforcement agency. 

The offenses include, but are not limited to, possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor battery (under certain circumstances), retail theft of a shopping cart, trespass on property other than a structure or conveyance, petit theft, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, littering, loitering, and possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21. 

Broward County Commissioners passed a similar ordinance in 2015 giving law enforcement officers the option of issuing a ticket to an eligible adult caught with twenty grams or less of marijuana.

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Caption: From Left to Right: Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan, Broward County Commissioner Nan Rich, Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, Broward Vice Mayor Mark Bogen, Broward Mayor Beam Furr, Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief, Broward County Commissioner Steve Geller, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness

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