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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Judge Rejects Sweeping Challenge to School System, But case May Head for Supreme Court

| May 25, 2016

A Leon County judge said lawmakers met their constitutional obligation to provide free, quality public education for Florida students, but advocates plan to appeal, laying the groundwork for a landmark opinion by the Florida Supreme Court.

Transgender Indecency

| May 24, 2016

There were pragmatic ways to ensure access to bathrooms for transgender people until lawmakers hijacked the process with predatory bans that dehumanize people and make a mockery of decency.

Are We Finally Ready For Smart Guns? Daytona’s iGuns Technologies Aims For Yes

| May 21, 2016

The iGun’s chip technology only works within centimeters and makes it impossible for anyone other than the person wearing the ring to fire it. Some gun advocates are resistant for various reasons.

Pressured to Defy Obama Order on Transgender Bathrooms, Scott and Bondi Stay Mum So Far

| May 19, 2016

Opponents of allowing transgender students to use restrooms of their choice could lead to a breakdown in school discipline or even attacks, supporters say there is no evidence of that.

Flagler’s Pot De-Criminalization Proposal Wilts, But Narrower Version Still Possible

| May 17, 2016

A work group meeting Tuesday to craft an ordinance raised more questions and objections than showed agreement, though the proposal is still moving forward in a much narrower version, and has many hurdles yet to cross.

Separate But Equal: Palm Coast Sidesteps Transgender Bathroom Bind With Private Facilities

| May 16, 2016

Palm Coast hopes to avoid the transgender-bathroom controversy by including private bathrooms in its $525,000 project for new facilities in Town Center and Indian Trails Sports Complex.

A Right To Die, Even For 20-Somethings

| May 15, 2016

The revelation that a 20-something woman chose to die from PTSD related so 10 years of sexual abuse tests the boundaries of assisted suicide, but not if context and compassion replace armchair judgments.

License for Probable Cause: Justices Rule You May Be Pulled Over For Any Visible Tag Issue

| May 13, 2016

Florida Justices, in a 5-2 decision, rejected an appeal from a driver stopped by Orlando police because a tag light and wires were hanging over the license plate on a vehicle he was driving.

South Florida Judge Declares State’s New Death Penalty Law Unconstitutional

| May 9, 2016

While the decision is not necessarily controlling in Flagler County and the rest of Florida, it again muddies the fate of a law barely eight weeks old, and further sheds a harsh light on Florida’s outlier system of executions.

For Flagler’s Gun Shops, New Residents Spur Brisk Business But Laws Conceal Debate

| May 9, 2016

Flagler County’s gun shop owners say fear and a need for protection rather than hunting still drives much of their business, but they have differing views on gun regulations and the need for additional laws.

Housing Restrictions on Sex Offenders Spread Even as Evidence Shows They Don’t Work

| May 7, 2016

The restrictions can make offenders’ lives less stable by severely limiting their housing options, and can push them away from family, jobs and social support — all of which make it more likely they will abuse again.

Florida’s Death Penalty Alive and Willed as Guzman Is Sentenced to Die For 3rd Time in Daytona

| May 3, 2016

A jury in Daytona Beach today voted 11-1 to recommend death for James “Chico” Guzman in the hacking to death of David Colvin, 48, at a motel on Ridgewood Avenue on Aug. 10, 1991.

No, Pat Mooney, Immigrants Aren’t Cattle

| April 29, 2016

Republican candidate Pat Mooney, running for the congressional seat that includes Flagler, managed to compare all Syrians to terrorists, all tourists and immigrants to cattle, and called for foreigners to be “chipped” and tracked the moment they enter the country.

In a Blow to Business, Supreme Court Bans Workers Comp Limits on Attorney’s Fees

| April 28, 2016

The ruling stemmed from a case in which an attorney was awarded the equivalent of $1.53 an hour in successfully pursuing a claim for benefits for a worker injured in Miami.

In Florida, Court Rules, a 55-Year Prison Sentence For a Juvenile Is Not a Life Term

| April 25, 2016

Anthony Julian Collins was two months shy of 17 when he was committed an attempted second-degree murder, carjacking with a firearm and attempted armed robbery.

Right to an Attorney Often a Myth as Public Defenders Are Overworked and the Poor Bullied to Plea

| April 24, 2016

There is a lack of funding for public defense in every state, and people charged with low-level misdemeanors, often poor minorities, suffer the most as public defender offices focus their few resources on felony cases.

Florida Justices Block 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Pending Review

| April 23, 2016

On a 5-2 vote, justices granted a stay of a lower court’s order allowing the 2015 law to take effect. The Supreme Court said it would keep the stay in place while it decides whether to review the decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal.

Does Arabic Offend You?

| April 22, 2016

When a traveler’s stupidity and racism lead to a fellow-traveler being searched, interrogated and kicked off a plane for speaking Arabic, not only do we all have a problem. We are the problem.

Florida Justices: Cops May Not Keep Lawyer From Client Even in Voluntary Interviews

| April 22, 2016

While a murder suspect was being voluntarily interrogated before he confessed, his lawyer appeared at the sheriff’s office but cops wouldn’t let the lawyer see his client.

Poll-Tax Redux: Millions Free From Jail Are Barred From Voting By Criminal Debt

| April 19, 2016

Debt from fines starts at sentencing and can grow at interest rates of 12 percent or more while inmates serve their sentences. It continues to grow after they’re released and face the numerous barriers to finding work and housing.

Public Agencies That Violate Sunshine Law Must Pay Attorney’s Fees, Supreme Court Rules

| April 14, 2016

Justices rejected arguments that agencies should be shielded from paying plaintiffs’ legal fees if public-records requests are handled in “good faith.”

Nurse Assistants at Grand Oaks Rehab Strike for $15/hr Wage in Echo of National Movement

| April 14, 2016

Workers at Grand Oaks Rehab Center in Palm Coast, most on poverty wages, walked out for 24 hours, though they’d given the facility almost two weeks’ notice and replacements ensured no residents lacked care.

Islam’s Contempt for Self-Criticism: From Salman Rushdie to Kamel Daoud

| April 13, 2016

When the Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud linked rapes in Germany on New Year’s Eve to Muslims’ extreme sexual deprivation and “unhealthy relationship with women, their body, and desire,” he was vilified, and silenced.

Outside Gov. Scott’s Office, a Battle Over Alimony Bill’s Elevation of “Father’s Rights”

| April 12, 2016

The most contentious part of the measure involves not alimony but offspring. It would tell judges that, when determining child-custody arrangements, they should begin with a “premise” that children should split time equally between parents.

Why North Carolina’s New Anti-LGBT Law is a Trojan Horse That Kills Workers’ Rights

| April 9, 2016

Another provision banned local minimum wage laws like the $15-an-hour “living wage” ordinances gaining traction around the country. The state minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Gateway Drug Bunk: No, Smoking Pot Doesn’t Lead to Harder Drugs

| April 8, 2016

Smoke pot and be merry. Cops’ and politicians’ claims that pot is a gateway drug is baseless fear-mongering intended to stop the legalization of marijuana. But it’s time to dispense with the lie once and for all.

Has Business Biased Florida’s Workers Comp Law Too Far Against Labor? Court Will Decide

| April 4, 2016

Plaintiffs argue that lawmakers have taken too many rights and benefits from people who get injured on the job, while business groups say a 2003 law kept costs from “spiraling.”

Criminal Immunity: Prosecutors Are Rarely Punished for Mistakes and Misconduct

| April 4, 2016

The Innocence Project alleges that prosecutors across the country are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit other forms of misconduct that land innocent people in prison.

A Bunnell Man Is Falsely Arrested Over Name Error, and Case Proceeds Despite Corrections

| April 1, 2016

In a nightmare of the persistence of bureaucratic errors, Dakota Ward, 19, who’s never been in trouble, was confused with another man and falsely arrested on a battery charge last week. His case is still proceeding.

Declaring 2008 Amendment Unconstitutional, Judge Closes Book on Gay-Marriage Ban in Florida

| March 31, 2016

In a harshly worded ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle chastised state officials like Pam Bondi for reluctance in acknowledging that the Florida ban had been overturned

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