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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Citing Secular Protocol, Florida Athletic Association Rejects Schools’ Claim That Prayer Was Muzzled

| October 22, 2016

Florida law does not require, and for good and valid reason does not permit, the FHSAA to promote prayer through state-run public address systems, the athletic association argues.

Florida Justices Overturn 42-Year-Old Death Sentence in “Black Revolutionary Army” Killing

| October 20, 2016

Jacob John Dougan, Jr., now 69, was convicted in the 1974 murder of Stephen Orlando, an 18-year-old white man, whose body was found in Jacksonville Beach accompanied by a note signed by the “Black Revolutionary Army.”

Continuing Series of Voting-Rights Decisions, Judge Rules Against State on Disputed Ballot Signatures

| October 17, 2016

The 30-page ruling Sunday by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker focused on situations in which voters’ signatures submitted with mail-in ballots do not appear to match signatures on file with county supervisors of elections. Under a 2004 law, such mail-in ballots are rejected.

Florida Supreme Court in Seminal Decision Rules Death Penalty Verdicts Must Be Unanimous

| October 14, 2016

The court’s 5-2 decision, which will immediately affect 40 inmates and many of the 385 others on death row, ends Florida’s status as an outlier state where non-unanimous death penalty recommendations were allowed.

Overruling Scott, Judge Orders Voter Registration Deadline Extended at Least Through Wednesday

| October 11, 2016

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also set up a Wednesday morning hearing to consider a request by the Florida Democratic Party to keep registration open until Oct. 18 — a week after the initial deadline was set to pass.

After Reaching Record Pace, Executions in Florida Are on Hold as Ruling Muddies Syringes

| September 30, 2016

Executions are on hold, judges across the state are postponing death penalty cases, and defense lawyers are seeking additional reviews in the aftermath of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in January that struck down Florida’s death-penalty sentencing process.

Court Sees No Crime in Sarasota High Student’s Tweeted Threats to “Shoot Up” His School

| September 29, 2016

A 16-year-old high school student who repeatedly threatened on Twitter to shoot up his school in Sarasota did not commit a crime because his threats were not directed at anyone in particular, the second District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

Tampa Christian School Files Suit Over Ban on Loudspeaker Prayer at Football Game

| September 28, 2016

The nonprofit that operates Cambridge Christian School in Tampa said the Florida High School Athletic Association violated its civil rights by banning the private school and its opponent from joining in prayer over the loudspeaker at the game.

Early Voting Facts and Myths

| September 25, 2016

Research shows early voting increases turnout by 2 percent to 4 percent. In some cases, it particularly boosts voting among minorities, a constituency that tends to vote Democrat.

Florida Justices Let Felon Carry Hunting Rifle, Saying Prohibition Doesn’t Apply to Antique Guns

| September 22, 2016

In a 5-2 decision, justices cleared Weeks on the gun-possession charge because state law treats antique firearms — and their replicas — different from other guns. The ruling said lawmakers exempted firearms manufactured in or before 1918 and their replicas from the prohibition on felons possessing guns.

Gov. Scott’s Office of Open Government Barricades Itself

| September 15, 2016

Florida once had one of the toughest sunshine laws in the country, and people were proud of that. But it’s no longer the case. Transparency has given way to talk–and barricades.

Why I Stand For The National Anthem

| September 10, 2016

There is outrage on the anniversary of 9/11: the outrage should be directed at those who have taken for granted the liberty and privilege of being a professional athlete by showing disrespect to our National Anthem by way of protest.

The National Anthem’s False Notes

| September 9, 2016

Blasphemous as it seems, Colin Kaepernick’s freedom to sit out the Star Spangled Banner is written in the anthem’s very words, though his tormentors are more disturbed by his message, which they would rather not hear.

The Reek of Hypocrisy Behind Federal Marijuana Laws

| August 30, 2016

In most cases, our laws treat chemicals as safe until proven dangerous. Marijuana, on the other hand, is being held to a higher standard. It’s not even that it’s considered dangerous until proven safe. The government says that they won’t lift regulations on it until it’s proven beneficial.

Appeals Court Sides With Florida Prisons in Public Records Dispute With Miami Herald

| August 29, 2016

The Florida prisons department was required to provide item-by-item legal explanations for its decisions to black out information on public records requested by the Herald — a process known as redacting the information.

Does Diversifying Police Forces
Reduce Tensions? Not Necessarily.

| August 28, 2016

Beyond diversity, hiring officers who know and understand the community, asking officers to build better relationships with neighborhoods they serve, reducing officers’ use of aggressive arrest tactics and increasing officer training is shown to be more effective than changing the color of the ranks.

Two Attorneys Disbarred Over “Unprecedented” DUI Set-Up of Opposing Lawyer in Big Case

| August 25, 2016

The Florida Supreme Court unanimously supported the disbarment of Robert D. Adams and Adam Robert Filthaut of Tampa for their role in setting up the drunken-driving arrest of an opposing lawyer during a high-profile case.

Florida Continues to Suppress Lethal-Injection Records in Face of Challenge by Death Row Inmates

| August 24, 2016

Lawyers for seven Death Row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona in June filed a subpoena seeking years of records related to Florida’s triple-drug lethal injection protocol, including the types of drugs purchased, the strengths and amounts of the drugs, the expiration dates of the drugs and the names of suppliers.

Devil’s Gambit: Sacrificing All Else to Ensure Trump Picks for the Supreme Court

| August 23, 2016

To some Republicans, keeping Hillary Clinton from appointing new justices is worth letting everything else go to hell. The government, the country, maybe the world and certainly the court.

Masked Man Who Taunted Lamb at Sheriff’s Forum Is Unmasked as Whisenant Supporter

| August 9, 2016

Richard Rubin, a twice-arrested local resident and supporter of Mark Whisenant’s sheriff’s campaign, attempted to rattle candidate John Lamb Monday evening by riding masked and in camouflage and holding up a sign claiming Lamb and his family did not live in the county, a false claim.

My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

| August 7, 2016

The mistreatment of black people by police officers isn’t new, nor is it surprising, argues Milen Mehari. According to the Justice Department, black people are almost four times more likely than whites to experience the use of force during police encounters.

Racism Allegations Against Jacksonville Judge Hulsey Enter Case of Black Man on Death Row

| August 4, 2016

Other black defendants whose cases were overseen by Hulsey “are living with the fear that the proceedings were infected by racial prejudice,” but questions about Hulsey’s impartiality also affect “the public at large and all residents of Florida,” lawyer Martin McClain wrote.

Florida’s Only Openly Gay Lawmaker Describes a Rick Scott More Accepting of LGBT

| July 28, 2016

In the days after 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Gov. Rick Scott privately expressed some support for gay rights to the state’s only openly gay state lawmaker, David Richardson.

Appeals Court Upholds Red-Light Cameras But Urges Florida Supreme Court to Rule Decisively

| July 27, 2016

A court upheld Aventura’s program, which relies on police, not the private contractor, to make decisions about ticketing motorists. But the court wants the supreme court to decide the issue more finally.

In Bunnell, 100 Black Marchers Chant for “All Lives,” For Unity, But Also For Looking Inward

| July 17, 2016

The Black Lives Matter-themed march Sunday evening around Bunnell was itself a display of the harmony it called for, though it clearly didn not get participation from the county’s whiter surroundings.

Black Lives Matter. Period.

| July 16, 2016

Cops are owed all the appreciation and respect their profession commands. Blacks are owed their right to life. The two are not mutually exclusive, but certain differences matter, especially when they falsely paint cops as the victims and blacks as the aggressors.

Fershtay? Appeals Court Rules Florida May Not Halt Offering Kosher and Halal Meals to Prisoners

| July 15, 2016

Florida prison officials argued they had a right to stop offering kosher meals if they got too expensive. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said no in a unanimous decision.

Flagler Judge Gives Pot Plan a Lift, But Council And Whiff of Politics Again Delay Adoption

| July 14, 2016

The proposal would reduce the penalty for first-time possession of pot to a $250 fine rather than a criminal charge, but it’ll be at least another month before the proposal gets out of a council, if then, and heads for approval (or rejection) by local governments.

Citing “Public Policy Interests,” Florida Refusing to Disclose Information on Drugs Used in Lethal Injections

| July 14, 2016

Lawyers representing seven Arizona Death Row inmates want information about the drugs used in Florida’s lethal-injection procedure, but corrections officials are asking a judge to keep the documents secret.

At Flagler NAACP Town Hall, Matters of Black Lives, “The Talk,” and the Gap Between Community and Policing

| July 13, 2016

A town hall organized by Flagler’s NAACP branch, with several top officials from the sheriff’s office, took stock of the recent police killings of black men and the killing of five white police officers in Dallas by a black veteran sniper.



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