Florida's new ag chief wants pardon for Groveland Four

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By: Associated Press
December 18, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Florida's incoming agriculture commissioner says she wants to get a formal pardon for four young African-American men who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman in what is considered one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in the Jim Crow era.

Nikki Fried said in a statement Monday she would bring up the Groveland Four's case at the first Florida Cabinet meeting she attends and try to expedite a review that could lead to their posthumous pardon at a clemency board hearing.

The four men were wrongly accused of raping a white woman in the central Florida town of Groveland in 1949. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually overturned their convictions, and during the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers apologized and asked the clemency board to expedite pardons for the four men.

The last scheduled clemency meeting under Governor Rick Scott’s administration was cancelled for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush earlier this month, which meant the Groveland Four would have to continue to wait.

As agriculture secretary, Fried is one of four members on the state's clemency board, which also includes the governor, attorney general and chief financial officer.

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