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Rights & Liberties
Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Brittany Maynard and the Right to Die: An Open Letter from a State That Denies It

| October 21, 2014

Laureen Kornel, a Flagler Beach resident, was left helpless, watching her mother’s agonizing death from cancer because the right to die on terms other than those dictated by doctors was not an option. She writes Brittany Maynard in hopes of spurring the movement in Florida and other states that deny that right.

Florida Supreme Court Rejects Cell-Phone Tracking by Police, Citing Privacy Rights

| October 17, 2014

Justices, in a 5-2 decision, sided with a man who was arrested in 2007 in Broward County after a search of his vehicle uncovered a kilogram brick of cocaine hidden in a spare-tire well. Police tracked the man, Shawn Alvin Tracey, through location information given off when cell-phone calls are made.

Why Malala Yousafzai Should Have
Won The Nobel Peace Prize

| October 10, 2014

Malala Yousafzai is the 17-year-old Pakistani girl and activist for girls’ education who in 2012 was shot in the head by a shaking, demented terrorist whose allegiance to the Taliban tells us all we need to know about the lethality of religious fundamentalism. Any kind of fundamentalism, really.

I’m 67 Years Old. I Smoke Pot. And It’s Time to Make It Legal, Period.

| October 9, 2014

If anyone thinks that passing Amendment 2 is not a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana, then you’re been ingesting too much of the wrong kind of drugs, argues Thomas O’Hara, who is voting for Amendment 2 because it’s a step toward full marijuana legalization.

Inmate Dies in a Florida Prison Less Than a Day After Family Questioned Safety; Federal Probe Sought

| October 7, 2014

Latandra Ellington, 36, died Wednesday at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, less than 24 hours after her family called prison officials to express concerns about her safety.

Florida’s Gay-Marriage Ban Teetering as U.S. Supreme Court Clears Way to Equality in 11 More States

| October 6, 2014

With the U.S. Supreme Court clearing the way for same-sex marriages in 11 other states, gay-rights supporters said Monday they will ask a federal judge to follow suit in Florida.

Richard Mathews, Accused of Mercy Killing in Mother’s Death, Sentenced to Two Years

| October 6, 2014

Mary Shaw Mathews, 88, was found to have died by strangulation and over-medication on Feb. 21 at her Palm Coast home. Her son Richard told detectives that she had asked him to end her life as she had been suffering and declining fast. Today’s outcome reflected a judicial system grappling with the gray area between mercy killing, which is not allowed by law, and a form of induced death.

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Florida Lawyer’s Appeal of Ban on Judicial Candidates’ Campaign Solicitations

| October 2, 2014

Lanell Williams-Yulee was disciplined by the Florida Bar for violating a rule barring judicial candidates from soliciting money when running for judgeships. The U.S. Supreme Court may reverse that rule, affecting 30 states where similar bans are in place.

Michael Dunn Is Guilty of First-Degree Murder in Shooting of Jordan Davis as Jury Rejects Self-Defense Claim

| October 1, 2014

Michael Dunn murdered 17-year-old Jordan Davis at a gas station in Jacksonville the day after Thanksgiving 2012, in a case that again put the focus on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and racial implications.

FPL’s $13-a-Month Surcharge on Customers Who Refuse Smart Meters Draws Challenges

| October 1, 2014

The dispute involves only a fraction of FPL’s customers, but it is part of a broader controversy in which critics say they worry the new meter technology could pose threats to their privacy or health.

Nursing Home Surveillance: Should You Be Able to Spy On Your Grandma’s Caretakers?

| September 29, 2014

Illinois may be about to join at least four other states that have laws or regulations allowing residents to maintain cameras in nursing home patients’ rooms. Florida is not among them.

More Secrecy, Harsher Punishment for Pregnant-Women Beaters, Parasailing Regulations: 32 New Laws Go In Effect

| September 28, 2014

A number of the new Florida laws going in effect Wednesday involve public-records exemptions, including one to allow some university boards to meet in private to discuss donors and research funding.

Gov. Rick Scott Signs 20th Death Warrant for Execution of Chadwick Banks on Nov. 13

| September 24, 2014

Chadwick Banks murdered his wife, Cassandra Banks, then raped and murdered his 10-year-old stepdaughter, Melody Cooper, on Set. 24, 1992 in Gadsden County. Banks shot both victims in the head.

Department of Corrections Fires 32 More, Including 3 Guards Involved In Gassing Death of Inmate

| September 20, 2014

All of the workers fired were on administrative leave pending a review launched earlier this summer. The housecleaning is part of the secretary’s attempt to salvage the reputation of the beleaguered agency in the wake of reports of widespread abuse and corruption, whistleblower complaints and federal investigations surrounding prisoner deaths.

Gruesome Buddies: ISIS Beheadings
And the American Death Penalty

| September 19, 2014

ISIS beheadings have provoked instinctive revulsion, justly so. Too bad the same reaction doesn’t follow Florida’s and other American state’s equally barbaric continuation of the death penalty, a habit other civilized nations have abandoned.

Assault Weapons Don’t Kill People.
Handguns Kill People.

| September 15, 2014

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do. Yet Democrats and anti-gun advocates keep focusing on renewing the defunct assault-weapons ban.

In Florida, Police Can Use Deadly Force Without Fearing Prosecution

| September 8, 2014

“In the past 20 years, not a single officer in Florida has been charged with using deadly force,” The New York Times reported last week, a startling prevalence of de-facto immunity in a state where police violence is not rare.

Lillian Gobitas Klose, Who Defied Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance, Is Dead at 90

| September 7, 2014

Lillian Gobitas Klose was 12 when she was expelled from school for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Eight years later, in the midst of World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated her decision.

The Palm Coast City Council as Labor Tribunal: Firefighters Union and Administration Face Off

| August 28, 2014

Palm Coast firefighters and the city administration reached an impasse in December after more than three years of negotiations over a contract, leaving it to the city council on Friday to settle the dispute in an unusual hearing.

Appeals Court Orders City Government to Release “Shade” Meeting Transcript

| August 28, 2014

In a highly critical opinion, an appeals court Wednesday ordered the city of St. Pete Beach to release a transcript of a closed-door discussion about the settlement of a lawsuit.

Sheriff’s Deputies Never Wrote an Incident Report After Fatally Shooting Palm Coast Man

| August 22, 2014

Details of the December 2012 fatal shooting of 32-year-old Troy Gordon on Brownstone Lane in Palm Coast, at a time when Don Fleming was still sheriff, emerged in a court case today that revealed how a union could trump sheriff’s policy even in grave shooting incidents.

Federal Judge Rules Florida’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional, But Stays Decision

| August 21, 2014

It is the fifth court decision in the state finding against Florida’s ban, but the first federal-court decision, and the first that applies state-wide. Nevertheless, as in previous cases, the judge stayed the decision, granting time for this and other decisions to be appealed.

The Phony War Over Campaign Signs

| August 17, 2014

The problem isn’t the county’s ban on campaign signs at the public library, it’s the dismal slate of candidates on this year’s primary ballots, but Flagler’s Ronald Reagan Assembly candidates and Supervisor of Elections Weeks have teamed up to play up a bogus controversy.

Every Town a Ferguson:
Reflections of a Scary Black Kid from Brooklyn

| August 16, 2014

Next time you feel intimidated by a black man, try to understand that it’s not about you, writes Jon Hardison, as much as it reflects remnants of a fear of what the average black American grew up with.

Kimberle Weeks Calls County’s Campaign Sign Rules “Interference”; Administrator Craig Coffey Responds

| August 12, 2014

Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks says the county’s political-sign rules “may create an unpleasant and dangerous environment” for voters and campaigners at the public library. County Administrator Craig Coffey disagrees.

4th Judge in 3 Weeks Strikes Down Florida’s Gay-Marriage Ban

| August 6, 2014

A Palm Beach County circuit judge ruled Tuesday that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional in a probate case involving a gay couple who married in Delaware.

County Forcefully Rejects Elections Supervisor’s Claims That Campaign Sign Restrictions Hurt Turnout

| August 5, 2014

Aided by a political candidate, Flagler Supervisor of Elections criticized county rules barring election signs on public property, claiming it lowers turnout and interferes with elections, promoting forceful rebuttals from the county administration.

Judge Upholds Blind Trust Law, Allowing Gov. Scott to Shield Assets From Public

| July 28, 2014

Critics say the device contradicts constitutional safeguards requiring Florida voters to be made aware of what a public official owns and how it might affect his or her decisions. Scott, who reported a net worth of $132.7 million as of the end of last year, is believed to be the only official using a blind trust.

Florida’s “Docs vs. Glocks” Bill Wins Federal Appeals Court Approval in 2-1 Ruling

| July 25, 2014

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state Legislature had the right to pass the NRA-backed law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits.

Florida Ban on Gay Marriage Is Declared Unconstitutional, But Miami-Dade Judge Stays Decision Until Appeals

| July 25, 2014

Eight days after a Monroe County judge declared a ban on same-sex marriage illegal, a Miami-Dade circuit court judge late today struck down the ban in Florida on behalf of six gay couples, but stayed her decision until the results of an appeal.

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