The Phoenix Flyer

NAACP Florida calls for reprimand of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis

By: - July 9, 2018 4:37 pm

The NAACP Florida State Conference has condemned Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for questioning an African-American clemency applicant at a recent June hearing about how many children he had and with how many different women.

“CFO Patronis’s behavior emphasizes the need for automatic rights restoration and raises grave concerns about CFO Patronis’s fitness to participate in the clemency process,” the NAACP wrote in a news release online.

Adora Obi Nweze, President of the Florida State Conference NAACP and a member of the national board, is quoted in the release saying the organization is shocked that Florida’s CFO had the “audacity to ask personal questions of an African-American man that have no bearing on whether he should be able to fully participate in civic life.”

She noted the “intrusive” line of questioning is laden with racial stereotypes and highlights the need for Florida to move from the arbitrary process it has now – where applicants must plead on a case-by-case basis for mercy from Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet – to a system that most other states use, which gives felons their civil rights back automatically after they have served their sentences. Amendment 4 on the November ballot would create automatic voting rights restoration in Florida.

“The NAACP will urge the public to support Amendment 4 in the fall elections. No one should endure humiliation in order to exercise the right to vote. The NAACP calls on other members of the State Clemency Board to publicly reprimand his actions,” she is quoted as saying.

A spokesperson for the Patronis campaign wrote in an email “the NAACP falsely claims this question was about race, but CFO Patronis asked people of all backgrounds questions about their child support arrangements in previous clemency hearings.”

Attached in the email were three separate transcriptions of previous clemency hearings with highlighted portions drawing attention to specific questions Patronis asked.

In the transcripts provided, Patronis asked one applicant during a March hearing if he and his wife had kids, and if his three children were with his wife of the last 21 years. During an October hearing last year, Patronis asked a man how many children he had, how old they were and if the man’s wife had visitation rights. Patronis asked a third man about the man’s children with two other women after the man volunteered he had children with other women. The transcripts provided note that all three men were white males.

The NAACP’s reaction comes after two Democratic candidates – Attorney General hopeful Sean Shaw and CFO candidate Jeremy Ring – publicly condemned Patronis’s remarks.

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CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers

CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.