Rosemary McCoy, a black woman, is wearing a colorful gold, red and green dashiki and matching headdress

Rosemary McCoy, 61, a former real estate professional, lost her right to vote when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7066. Photo: Claire Goforth

By Claire Goforth

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Ten years ago, Rosemary McCoy never would have imagined that today she’d be in a Jacksonville library, tears streaming down her face, as she tells a stranger how it feels to be disenfranchised.

Then she was a real estate professional with two decades’ experience, a wife, mother of two, an average, everyday citizen living a good life.

Today she scrapes by on meager wages earned collecting petition signatures. Thanks to felony convictions in 2015 on charges associated with renting homes without authorization, the 61-year-old’s former life is long gone. So are her voting rights.

alt text: Florida: Smiling man in striped shirt raises forefinger in air as man in suit has arm around shoulder. Both are graying with beard and mustache.
Clifford Williams (left) and Nathan Myers leave the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., after being exonerated. Photo: Innocence Project of Florida

By Claire Goforth

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two grey-haired men listened silently in Courtroom 505 of the Duval County Courthouse on March 28 as Judge Angela M. Cox uttered the words that they’d waited the better part of 50 years to hear: “The indictments against you have been dismissed and you are free to go.”

After spending more than 42 years in prison for murder and attempted murder, with that pronouncement Nathan Myers and Clifford Williams took their place in Florida history as the first people to be exonerated by a prosecutor-led effort.