Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Bloglines - Florida mourns the loss of Robert Shevin

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Florida mourns the loss of Robert Shevin

By james H

Robert L. Shevin, a man who served in all three branches of the state's government, died last night from cancer of the esophagus at the age of 71. Florida has lost a great public servant.

Shevin, a Democrat, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1964, representing Miami-Dade County. Two years later, he was elected to the Florida Senate, where he served for four years.

In 1970, Shevin left the Senate and was elected Florida Attorney General. As the top law enforcement officer for the state, Shevin was a champion of consumer rights and open government. As a member of the Supreme Court Workload Commission, Shevin urged the Florida Legislature to require unanimous or at least "super-majority" (9-3) votes before a death sentence could be imposed.

A highlight of his career was when Shevin signed a pardon for two men who had been wrongly convicted of murder. Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee were convicted and sentenced to death in 1963 for the murder of two gas station attendants. It was later discovered that the confessions by the two men were coerced, and this discovery ultimately led to the apprehension of the real killer and the release of Pitts and Lee.

Shevin ran for governor in 1978, but lost to former Senator Bob Graham in the Democratic primary. The election did not sour their relationship, and in 1982, Shevin served as the South Florida campaign coordinator for Graham's reelection.

In 1996, Shevin was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal, where he served honorably until last December.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 14th at 1:30 PM at Temple Solel, 5100 Sheridan Street in Hollywood.

Shevin is survived by the his wife, Myrna, three children, and six grandchildren.

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