As that quest for clues continues, Florida marks the anniversary of the brutal kidnapping and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia last February.
State lawmakers promised changes in the way Florida dealt with probation violators with a history of violence, but when the headlines disappeared, so did the legislative will.
Still, at least one person hasn’t forgotten the lessons learned from Carlie’s death.
In the doorway of the attorney general’s office stands a stark reminder of Carlie Brucia’s untimely death. The 11-year-old was allegedly murdered by Joseph Smith, a parole violator with a violent history.
In the weeks following Carlie’s tragedy, lawmakers promised tough new laws for violent offenders who commit new crimes, but nothing happened. Instead, the State Department of Corrections began using what power it had to crack down on parole violators provoking freedom for the smallest violation.
Spokesman Sterling Ivey says it sent a message.
"Based on what offenders are telling us when they come in to the probation office, they know that if they mess up or they’re not in compliance with their conditions they are going to be violated."
The zero tolerance policy initialed by corrections is just that, a policy that can change at any time. That’s why Charlie Crist is crusading for carving the zero tolerance policy in stone.
Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist says, "In fact, we really call it our anti-murder package and the idea is to make sure that people who are out on probation, who’ve already been convicted of a violent act, if they violate that privilege of probation that they would go back to jail."
Two bills have been filed for the legislative session that begins next week, but so far lawmakers have gawked at making the get tough policy permanent because of cost.
The poster outside the attorney general’s office though is a reminder of the human cost of not acting.
The legislation would require that every probation violator be brought before a judge who would then determine whether they should be considered violent and kept off the street.
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