Lawsuit challenging Florida anti-riot law allowed to continue

A federal judge has refused to toss out a legal challenge to a controversial new law that creates a host of crimes and enhances existing penalties for protests that turn violent or block traffic, a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis during this year’s legislative session.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Monday allowed the lawsuit filed by a coalition of groups including the Dream Defenders to proceed, leaving DeSantis and three sheriffs as defendants but dismissing Attorney General Ashley Moody from the case.

Walker’s 72-page order came after Moody, DeSantis and the sheriffs — Walt McNeil of Leon County, Mike Williams of Jacksonville and Gregory Tony of Broward County — asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. The defendants argued, among other things, that the plaintiffs lacked standing and the legal issues weren’t “ripe” enough to be considered by the court.