DeSantis, Cabinet Pardon 'Groveland Four'
Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet gave long-sought pardons Friday to members of the “Groveland Four” in one of the most-notorious cases from Florida’s Jim Crow era.
The unanimous vote was intended to bring peace to the families of the four African-American men and was urged by leaders of the community where a series of injustices happened seven decades ago.
The vote by DeSantis and the Cabinet, sitting as the state clemency board, came amid emotional and accusatory testimony from descendants of the African-American men accused in 1949 of raping a white woman in Lake County and the woman herself who remained emphatically opposed to the pardons.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said the action wasn’t about the victim but “righting a wrong of 70 years ago.”
“By anyone’s judgment of this case, due process and the norms that we have that protect liberties of people now in today’s law and in our justice system were not afforded to these defendants,” Moody said.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who restarted the push for the pardons in December, said she was proud of her colleagues and that the vote “marks progress and resolution on an undeniable injustice of the past.” Chief Financial