Justice Summit V Award Winners

Smart Justice Award Winners To Be Announced at Justice Summit V

At Justice Summit V, the Florida Smart Justice Alliance will once again be presenting awards to state legislators who’ve gone above and beyond in advancing the cause of Smart Justice.

This year’s top two winners of the Frank Costantino Memorial Award for Legislative Excellence are:  Representative Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) and Senator Greg Evers (R-Pensacola).

Rep. Harrell has twice served in the Florida House and currently serves as Chair of the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee, where she has taken a leadership role in reforming the state’s mental health system.  A multi-year effort, reforms have the potential to be the most significant since the creation of the Baker Act.  A steadfast supporter of government accountability, Rep. Harrell has dedicated her time in office to helping those affected by behavioral healthcare issues.  In the 205 Legislative Session, she championed legislation to provide regulatory oversight of Recovery Residences and worked in concert with Rep. Bill Hager and the industry.  Rep. Harrell has participated in the last three Justice Summits.

Sen. Evers has now been Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee for the last five and half years. One of the longest serving in this role, Sen. Evers has mastered the intricacies of criminal justice policy and has also provided leadership on fiscal policy as a member of the Civil & Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee.  This year, Sen. Evers took the unprecedented step of making unannounced visits to various state prisons to learn first-hand the plight of correctional officers, the state of disrepair of our prison facilities, and the need for more crisis intervention training. Sen. Evers has been a staunch supporter of Smart Justice concepts and is sponsoring legislation in 2016 to expand Adult Civil Citations statewide. Moreover, he has supported legislation that deals with expunction of juvenile justice records, morphing of child pornography, and insuring that child trafficking children are treated as victims not as prostitutes.  Sen. Evers has joined us at the last three Summits.

Each year, the Florida Smart Justice Alliance also presents awards to House and Senate members who promote legislation embracing criminal justice reforms.  For the first time this year we’re recognizing four legislators, two in each chamber, who sponsored legislation reforming Juvenile Civil Citations, one of the earliest examples of Smart Justice.  Although FSJA did not support the legislation as initially drafted, we worked with the four sponsors to arrive at a compromise. In fact, the bill was amended to increase the chances that a juvenile would be able to receive up to three civil citations, saving them an arrest record.  Although it’s unlikely a juvenile would ever receive a third civil citation, it ensures law enforcement retains the discretion to issue one, resulting in some juveniles not incurring an arrest record.

Senate sponsors were Sen. Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah) and Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville). House sponsors were Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed (D-Pompano Beach) and Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg).

The award presentation will be on the final day of the Summit, December 16th, in Sarasota.


Justice Summit 2015 Award Winners

January 16, 2015


Bishop Frank Costantino Award for Legislative Excellence
Senator David Simmons


Award given for sponsoring Inmate Reentry Bill that passed the Senate 40-0 and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 20, 2014


Bishop Frank Costantino Award for Legislative Excellence
Representative Charlie Stone


Awarded for sponsoring Inmate Reentry Bill that passed the House 116-1 and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on June 20, 2014


Annual Legislative Advocate Award: Senator Greg Evers (R-Crestview)


Award was given for his leadership over the last five years of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee which has supported Smart Justice idea’s


Annual Legislative Advocate Award: Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)


Award was given for his unabashed support for electronic monitoring of all Work Release inmates in both private provider and DOC programs around the state


Annual Legislative Advocate Award: Representative Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota)


Award was given for his consistent support of Smart Justice idea’s and his sponsorship of the bill that focused the Department of Juvenile Justice to the front end of the continuum: Prevention and Diversion


Annual Law Enforcement Award: Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger


Awarded for his long-time, cutting-edge work on Mental Health issues for jail inmates


Annual Law Enforcement Award: Tallahassee Police Chief Michael Deleo


Award for being the first law enforcement agency in Leon County to sign on to the Adult Civil Citation Pilot Program


Steve Casey of the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA)Special Recognition Award: Florida Sheriffs Association


Awarded for their steadfast leadership in creating the Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot grassroots coalition to fight and defeat Amendment 2 on Medical Marijuana


Special Recognition Award: Drug Free America Foundation presented to Executive Director Calvina Fay


Awarded for their early and strong support in which organized the campaign to defeat Amendment 2 on Medical Marijuana


Exemplary Leadership Award: Ambassador Mel Sembler and Betty Sembler


Awarded for his outstanding leadership in funding the $6 million campaign to defeat Amendment 2 on Medical Marijuana