Fla. panel restores Sammie Smith's civil rights

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida State and Miami Dolphin running back Sammie Smith has won restoration of his civil rights after spending seven years in prison on a drug conviction.

The state clemency board voted following testimony from Smith, former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, several assistants and family members. All characterized Smith's involvement in the drug activity as totally uncharacteristic.

Attorney General Bill McCollum described Smith as "obviously exemplary today."

Convicted felons in Florida lose their civil rights and cannot own a weapon or vote without a full or conditional pardon from the clemency board.

Smith, 43, was convicted in 1996 on two federal charges of possession and distribution of cocaine.