Court rejects Florida prison privatization appeal

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An appellate court on Tuesday tossed out Attorney General Pam Bondi's request for a decision to uphold the proposed privatization of 29 South Florida prison facilities.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected her plea to reverse a lower court's ruling against privatization, saying Bondi couldn't appeal on her own after her client, the Department of Corrections, declined to do so. The panel unanimously dismissed the case because Bondi was not a party.

"A party who suffers an adverse judgment in Circuit Court has the right to appeal, but nonparties whose rights have not been adjudicated have no right of appeal," Chief District Judge Robert Benton wrote for the court.

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature had urged Bondi to appeal after Gov. Rick Scott decided the department, which is part of his administration, would not.

One of Bondi's assistants acknowledged during oral argument last month that it was too late to carry out the privatization due to the expiration of a budget provision authorizing the plan. Nevertheless, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Glogau asked the appellate court to issue a ruling upholding the privatization provision that would set a precedent for future budgets.

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