November 23, 2014

Florida Icon

Icon: Janet Reno

Former U.S. Attorney General, State Attorney General, age 67

Amy Keller | 5/1/2006
I'm focused on one issue that is very important to me -- that is how we prevent the conviction of the innocent ... through post-conviction DNA testing that causes charges to be dropped against innocent people. It's not just getting people off. It's making sure that we do everything we can to find the person who did it.

Janet Reno? [Photo: Brian Smith]

I developed the drug courts in Dade County. We were trying to develop a structure that would apply sentences that worked on a carrot-stick approach and gave the person an opportunity to work with us but letting him know he faces more serious consequences if he didn't stop testing positive.

What I think of when I think of Florida are my memories of Blue Springs in north Florida. Tubing down them. Picking up fossils from the bottom to look at another time, another place. I think of Fisheating Creek and canoeing down through the cypress. I think of the Everglades and getting stuck in the mud and camping on nights when you could see every star that could possibly be seen by the human eye because you didn't have a mix of light and smog from urban areas. I think of walking along the beaches and diving on the Florida Keys in the reefs. To me, Florida is one of the most magical places. You can find such beauty, almost instantly.

The Everglades Restoration Plan provided a blueprint for steps we can take to preserve the Everglades as a healthy wetland, one of the great wetlands of the world, and yet there's not been follow-through on that.

People are awfully nice to me. They'll come up to me and ask a question, and some of them will disagree with me but do so in a thoughtful, positive way. And so many are very encouraging.

One of the things I most enjoy is just laughing, having somebody who's funny crack me up.

With "Saturday Night Live," when I was in Washington, high school students would come to the Justice Department, and I would try to say hello and answer a few questions. And you'd see two guys sitting in the back, and then finally one would raise his hand and say, "What do you think of yourself on 'Saturday Night Live?' " And I hadn't seen it at that point. My staff brought in some tapes and I said, "Oh, my God." But it was a wonderful opportunity, and it reminded me that it's important to laugh at ourselves more often. It's important for America to laugh together.

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