St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Non-citizen won't face voting charge
  • Bill not what its backer presumes
  • Diploma to hinge on FCAT success
  • Let revolution begin with you, Bush urges
  • Around the state
  • Tax break for aiding pupils is blocked
  • Possible flaws not enough for state to contest census
  • 5 brand-name drugs may lose protections
  • Gov. Bush sounds like Candidate Bush

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Non-citizen won't face voting charge

    A Jacksonville woman, who was threatened with deportation, wants to stay and become a citizen.

    ©Associated Press

    © St. Petersburg Times, published March 7, 2001

    JACKSONVILLE -- Carolina Murry no longer faces prosecution for voting illegally in the mistaken belief that she was a U.S. citizen.

    The 34-year-old woman won a round with the U.S. government Tuesday when it dropped a charge against her.

    Murry has been in danger of being deported to her native Dominican Republic -- a place she hasn't seen since the age of 3 -- ever since the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service decided to get tough with her for "untruthfully" claiming to be a citizen when she registered to vote.

    "I am very, very happy," Murry said Tuesday. "I hope this doesn't ever happen to anyone else."

    U.S. Magistrate Timothy Corrigan signed an order dropping the illegal voting charge against Murry, who voted in the 1992 and 1996 presidential races.

    Corrigan's action came on the recommendation of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Klindt, who said an investigation showed "there was no willful violation of federal law" by Murry.

    "The process can and does work," Klindt said. "It did in this case."

    It wasn't until 1998, when she applied for a passport, that Murry learned she was not a citizen as she had believed for more than three decades.

    Her father, a U.S. Army soldier who married Carolina's mother and moved them to Arkansas when she was 3, remembers signing papers and thought there was nothing more he needed to do to make his children citizens.

    Murry's attorney, Craig Williams, said he will ask the INS to grant Murry her citizenship papers and stop its deportation proceedings. Now that the voting charge has been dropped, he said, there are no grounds for sending her back to the Dominican Republic.

    "I have faith in the justice system and faith in the Lord God," Murry said. "I pray that eventually I will become a citizen."

    When she learned she was not a citizen, Murry filled out an application, took a test and was interviewed by an INS officer.

    During the interview, she was asked if she had ever voted. "I without hesitation said yes," she said.

    In January, the INS told her that her citizenship bid was denied. She also was told she was being deported because she committed a crime by registering to vote.

    "Murry took an oath in which she claimed to be a citizen of the United States" when she registered to vote, said an affidavit signed by INS Special Agent Christopher Doyle. "At that time, Murry was a lawful permanent resident and if she had answered truthfully, she would not have been eligible to vote."

    Williams said a federal law signed in October by President Clinton applies to Murry. It says that in any case where an alien voted who permanently lived in the United States before age 16 and reasonably believed he or she was a citizen, the government could not use the fact that the person voted as evidence of not having good moral character.

    Murry's older sister, Juana Sellers of Conway, Ark., has also filed papers to become a citizen.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk