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Thread: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

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    Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    After a Tampa Bay Times' review of 200 cases that involved the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law found an "uneven application" and "shocking outcomes," one Florida lawmaker is seeking to impede the media's ability to scrutinize the law.Earlier this month, state Rep. Matt Gaetz(R-Fort Walton Beach) filed an amendment that would "severely limit access to court records in the self-defense cases," the Times' Michael van Sickler reports.
    The amendment would allow those found innocent in a Stand Your Ground case to"apply for a certificate of eligibility to expunge the associated criminal history record."
    Gaetz said his amendment was unrelated to the Times' Stand Your Ground investigation, the Associated Press reports. "The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground defense doesn't have their life ruined by the use of that defense," he said.
    Gaetz's amendment has sparked concern among journalists, Media Matters reports, who say the loss of access to public records could have damaging effects. Alongside statements from editors at the Miami Herald and Florida Times-Union are the opinions of staff who worked on the groundbreaking review by the Times:
    "Closing records and putting controversial cases that involve violence into the dark is a bad idea, it is against democracy," said Neil Brown, Times editor and vice president. "This would have inhibited our work further. Our work was done based on court records as well as the stories of the incidents when they occurred."
    The Times coverage was named a finalist for the Online News Association's Knight Award for Public Service and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism's Taylor Award for Fairness in Journalism. The investigation has played a key role in informing other outlets' coverage of cases relating to Stand Your Ground statutes.
    It utilized hundreds of court and arrest records to reveal that the law was being interpreted in many different ways and being applied without a uniform approach, according to Kris Hundley, one of the three Times reporters who worked on the project.
    "If those were expunged, I don't know how you would ever do any kind of meaningful look back at the law," Hundley said. "I think it was important because it gave people a sense of how it was applied across the state, how judges made different decisions faced with similar cases and the wide variety of cases in which it was employed. It showed the law was being expanded to far beyond what the legislators anticipated and (was) applied unevenly."


    Read more @: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Is this for real!? There is no point to this law, except to try to suppress the media from taking notice of a controversial issue.


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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Florida has THE worst governor in the Union.
    Dems continue to rue the day they didn't vote in 2010.
    And Florida has banned navigators for ACA.
    They have banned groups from registering voters .
    Physics is Phun

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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Read more @: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Is this for real!? There is no point to this law, except to try to suppress the media from taking notice of a controversial issue. [/INDENT]
    At first, I thought, "WTF??" Then, as I read further, I came to understand this amendment is meant to protect those people who are either not indicted or found not guilty by reason of Florida's stand-your-ground defense. If it's used, and if they aren't indicted or found not guilty by reason of the law, this amendment would allow their record to be expunged.

    I can understand the position. I'm not sure if it will fly, but I get it.

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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    At first, I thought, "WTF??" Then, as I read further, I came to understand this amendment is meant to protect those people who are either not indicted or found not guilty by reason of Florida's stand-your-ground defense. If it's used, and if they aren't indicted or found not guilty by reason of the law, this amendment would allow their record to be expunged.

    I can understand the position. I'm not sure if it will fly, but I get it.
    Still its a form of restriction of the press is it not?


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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Still its a form of restriction of the press is it not?
    Yes. I might compare it to the restrictions put on juvies and, actually, for pretty much the same reason. In the case of juveniles, however, whether they're guilty or not guilty, their records are sealed.

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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Still its a form of restriction of the press is it not?


    Its actually conflict of rights. Privacy versus press. This is rather similar to states enacting laws that prevent the release of concealed carry permit holders.

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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishstyx View Post
    Its actually conflict of rights. Privacy versus press. This is rather similar to states enacting laws that prevent the release of concealed carry permit holders.
    Court records have always been public.


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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    Court records have always been public.
    Wrong. In America, various court records are ordered sealed all the time.

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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray410 View Post
    Wrong. In America, various court records are ordered sealed all the time.
    "Since 1999, many case files are maintained in electronic format and are accessible through the internet service Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) or from the public access terminals in the clerk's office of the court in which the case was filed."
    Court Records

    Here you can search almost all Florida court records: http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal....aspx?tabid=13


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    Re: Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDemSocialist View Post
    "Since 1999, many case files are maintained in electronic format and are accessible through the internet service Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) or from the public access terminals in the clerk's office of the court in which the case was filed."
    Court Records

    Here you can search almost all Florida court records: State of Florida.com - State of Florida Public Records Guide
    Not the ones that are sealed.

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