Legal Updates

PUBLIC RECORDS REDACTION  A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of the Department of Corrections in a public records redaction case.  The Miami Herald sought records pertaining to incidents in Florida’s correctional institutions and received in return heavily redacted records.  The paper asked for legal opinions from the Department for each redaction, but the Court ruled Florida’s open records law contained no such requirements.

STUDENT TWEETS  The 2nd District Court of Appeal has overturned a Sarasota county circuit judge in ruling that a public school student’s tweet, “can’t WAIT to shoot up my school”, does not constitute a criminal threat and therefore, the student cannot be charged.  In an unusual statement, the three judge panel stated the Legislature should look to update the existing 1913 law concerning violent threats in this age of social media.

QUALIFYING BOUNCED CHECK LAWSUIT  A Palm Beach county circuit judge has sent a case to Leon County Court involving a Democratic candidate for the Florida Senate who was disqualified from the primary because his qualifying fee check was returned by the bank.  The suit cites the recent Florida Supreme Court ruling that the law governing such cases was unconstitutional.  Candidates have 48 hours to correct any problems.

TRAUMA CENTERS  UF Health Jacksonville and other hospitals continue to battle with the Florida Department of Health regarding the licensure of additional trauma centers.  UF Health filed a lawsuit challenging the Department’s decision to allow Orange Park Medical Center to open a new center.  UF, and others, argue that proposed rules will hurt existing centers by reducing their patient load in the high operational cost centers.

FRANKLIN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION LAWSUIT  Attorneys have filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the daughter of a 27-year-old inmate who died in 2010 at Franklin Correctional Institution. The suit alleges that officers, doctors and nurses murdered the inmate through a series of beatings and the administration of an overdose of gas while in solitary confinement. The investigation has been going on for over six years, but no charges have been filed.  The suit also states that the officers attempted to cover up the cause of death and tampered with evidence to hide their misdeeds.

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