Judge withholds ruling in Orange County voter fraud case

Says written ruling coming soon

ORLANDO, Fla. – A judge said he would not rule Friday in an Orange County woman’s fight to get her voter fraud case dismissed.

Michelle Stribling, 53, was one of 20 Floridians arrested last year after voting in 2020, even though she was a convicted felon.

Stribling — like the others arrested — thought her rights had been restored by Amendment 4, but they had not been because they were all convicted of felony sex crimes or murder which prohibits automatic restoration.

Six of the 20 cases have already been dismissed and on Friday the judge made it clear he knew that.

Stribling said nothing in court as attorneys argued whether the charges against her for illegally voting in the 2020 election should be dismissed.

“Your honor, I’ve raised a motion to dismiss,” Stribling’s attorney Roger Weeden said. “They lack jurisdiction to prosecute this case.”

After the arrests, judges around the state dismissed six of the cases based on jurisdiction, including the case of Peter Washington of Pine Hills.

In Washington’s case, “The Office of Statewide Prosecution does not have the authority to prosecute this matter,” Judge Jennifer Harris wrote.

By statute, for the statewide to have jurisdiction, the crime had to have happened in two different jurisdictions.

After the initial dismissals, the legislature changed the law to give the statewide jurisdiction, something Judge Diego Madrigal was aware of.

“Let’s call a spade a spade,” Madrigal said. “There’s courts around this state that were dismissing these cases based on a similar argument that Mr. Weeden is making, right? And that’s what was happening and they changed the law.”

“My overall argument is that has made the matter easier for the state,” the prosecutor responded.

Weeden disagreed.

“They have to allege in their information that there was an actual impact on the election,” Weeden said.

Stribling said nothing during the hearing, but News 6 interviewed her shortly after her arrest, and she maintained she thought her voting rights had been restored.

“This is a misunderstanding. I didn’t mean no harm about this,” Stribling said.

Judge Madrigal said he will be issuing a written ruling. As soon as he does, News 6 will let you know.

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About the Author:

Emmy Award-winning reporter Louis Bolden joined the News 6 team in September of 2001 and hasn't gotten a moment's rest since. Louis has been a General Assignment Reporter for News 6 and Weekend Morning Anchor. He joined the Special Projects/Investigative Unit in 2014.