A Florida judge on Friday dismissed the case of a Miami man who was arrested on charges related to election fraud in August, saying state prosecutors acted beyond their authority.
Robert Wood, 56, was charged with lying on voter forms and illegally voting. He is one of more than a dozen people arrested in August in a crackdown throughout five Florida counties.
Wood was convicted of murder in the second degree in 1991, his attorney said. He registered to vote and participated in the 2020 election, after a 2018 law restored voting rights to many convicted felons. But the law does not restore the right for convicted murderers and felony sex offenders, which caused some confusion.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor argued that Wood’s crime took place in two counties: in Miami Dade, where he filled out voting paperwork and voted, and in Leon County, home of the state capital where the paperwork was processed. Wood’s attorneys argued that the office did not have the proper jurisdiction to charge him in this case.
Judge Milton Hirsch of the 11th Judicial Circuit agreed, quoting Shakespeare in his ruling.
“‘His arms spread wider than a dragon’s wings,’ says Shakespeare’s Duke of Gloucester about Henry V. How much wider even than that does OSP seek to extend its reach? In the case at bar, the answer is simple: wider than the enabling statute contemplates and therefore too wide,” Hirsh wrote.
Nick Cox, a statewide prosecutor, said the Office of the Special Prosecutor will appeal.
On August 18, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, announced that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Wood and 19 others accused of illegally voting in the 2020 election. The arrests mark the first public demonstration of the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security, a new agency created by DeSantis to investigate voting irregularity.
CNN has spoken to attorneys of two other defendants who are closely monitoring the Wood case and waiting for the judge’s orders.