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Mary Scriven

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Mary Scriven
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Court Information:
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #3
Station:   Orlando, FL
Appointed by:   George W. Bush
Active:   09/30/2008 - Present
Preceded by:   Patricia Fawsett
Past post:   Middle District of Florida, Magistrate
Past term:   1997-2008
Personal History
Born:   1962
Hometown:   Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate:   Duke U., B.A., 1983
Law School:   Florida State U. Law, J.D., 1987
Mary Stenson Scriven is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She joined the court in 2008 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. Previously, Scriven was a magistrate judge at the Middle District of Florida.[1]

Early life and education

A native of Georgia, Scriven graduated from Duke University with her bachelor's degree in 1983, and her J.D. from Florida State University College of Law in 1987.[1]

Professional career

Scriven was licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, and worked as a private practice attorney from 1987 to 1997. She was also an associate professor at Stetson University College of Law from 1996 to 1997.[1]

Judicial career

Middle District of Florida, Magistrate

Scriven began her judicial career as a federal magistrate judge in the Middle District of Florida, where she served from 1997 to 2008.[1]

Middle District of Florida

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, Scriven was nominated by George W. Bush on July 10, 2008, to a seat vacated by Patricia Fawsett. Scriven was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 26, 2008, and received commission on September 30, 2008.[1]

Notable cases

Welfare drug testing case (2011-2013)

     United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Lebron v. Wilkins, 6:11-cv-01473-MSS-DAB)

On October 25, 2011, Judge Scriven issued a temporary injunction against a Florida state law that required mandatory drug testing for all applicants to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The law, which was in effect briefly from July 1, 2011, until October 24, 2011, stated that if an applicant were to test positive for drugs, he would be "ineligible to receive TANF benefits for one year after the date of the positive test" unless he could establish that a substance abuse treatment program had been satisfactorily completed; in that case, the prospective applicant would be able to reapply for TANF six months after the positive drug test. The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Luis Lebron, a man who sought welfare assistance for his family but refused to take the drug test. In issuing the temporary injunction, Scriven described the law as "an unconstitutional invasion of privacy," noting that the state couldn't "condition [citizens from] getting some benefit from the government by surrendering [their] constitutional rights." Additional information about the ruling can be found here.[2]


In December 2013, almost one year after the Eleventh Circuit decided to extend the drug-testing injunction following the government's appeal, Scriven issued a final ruling in this case, granting Lebron's motion for summary judgment on remand -- meaning that the case would be decided in Lebron's favor without a trial on its merits. Scriven found that Florida's drug-testing requirement for TANF welfare applicants and recipients was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, issuing a permanent injunction against the law. In the ruling, Scriven wrote:

The court finds there is no set of circumstances under which the warrantless, suspicionless drug testing at issue in this case could be constitutionally applied.[3][4]
Scriven further found that the government's evidence in the case was so weak that it nearly invalidated its defense of the drug-testing law, writing that there was "simply ... no competent evidence offered on [the] record" regarding the "pervasive drug problem" the state believed necessitated the statute's application. "[I]f the state intended to hinge its demanded exception to the Fourth Amendment on this thin reed," Scriven said, "it has failed to make the evidentiary showing that would be required."[5]

Florida drug law challenge (2011)

     United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Mackle Vincent Shelton v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, et. al., Case No. 6:07-cv-839-Orl-35-KRS)

On July 27, 2011, Judge Scriven declared Florida's Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law unconstitutional after it was challenged for not including an intent requirement. According to the ruling, Florida is the only state to have eliminated the intent requirement from its drug laws, which means that within the state, a "person is guilty of a drug offense if he delivers a controlled substance without regard to whether he does so purposefully, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently," according to Judge Scriven. She went on to say that "[o]ther states have rejected such a draconian and unreasonable construction of the law that would criminalize the ‘unknowing’ possession of a controlled substance," and found Florida’s drug law to be unconstitutional "on its face."[6]

See also

External links


Political offices
Preceded by:
Patricia Fawsett
Middle District of Florida
Seat #3
Succeeded by: