Florida Justice Institute

Fighting for Justice in Florida

The Florida Justice Institute is a nonprofit public interest law firm that uses impact litigation and advocacy to improve the lives of Florida’s poor and disenfranchised residents, while focusing on criminal justice reform, homelessness & poverty, disability access, and other civil rights issues.

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Recent Work

FJI joins social justice organizations in letter opposing anti-camping ordinance

FJI joins with other organizations calling on the City of Miami Commission to vote against a proposed anti-camping ban that would result in more arrests of people experiencing homelessness.  We call on the City to honor the promises it made to the Pottinger court that it would not revert to criminalization.

FJI provides assistance to public defenders to combat the criminalization of homelessness.

As part of its campaign to end the criminalization of homelessness, FJI has provided a letter to the public defenders of Florida and other criminal defense lawyers summarizing recent federal court decisions declaring panhandling ordinances unconstitutional. Although many of these ordinances have been invalidated, cities and counties around the state continue to arrest people—overwhelmingly poor […]

Latest News

FJI awarded $10,000 by The Foundation for Improvement of Justice

FJI is excited and honored to share that we were awarded the Paul H. Chapman Award from The Foundation for Improvement of Justice. The Award recognizes significant accomplishments that improve the justice system and can serve as an effective model for others. The Award includes the Paul H. Chapman Gold Medal, a check for $10,000, […]

Judge Says Fort Lauderdale’s Anti-Panhandling Law Treads on First Amendment

A federal judge has put a hold on Fort Lauderdale’s anti-panhandling law, rejecting the city’s attempt to paint beggars as a public-safety hazard. The nine-year-old ordinance prohibited panhandlers from asking for money in public parks, near sidewalk cafés, and in the vicinity of businesses and ATMs, among other places. Panhandling in the restricted areas was […]

‘Do You Have Some Spare Change?’ Panhandlers Gain Ground in Suit Against Fort Lauderdale Over Constitutional Issues

In South Florida, a federal district judge ordered the City of Fort Lauderdale to pause its panhandling ordinances because they are likely unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, as they violate the first amendment. And U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman, in issuing the preliminary injunction against the city from enforcing its two panhandling ordinances, put […]

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