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Rights & Liberties
Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

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.

Ex-Florida County Judge Candidate Wants U.S. Supremes to Overturn Ban on Campaign Cash

| September 3, 2014

Lanell Williams-Yulee had thought personal contributions when she ran for county judge in Hillsborough. Now she could spur the U.S. Supreme Court to wade into a First Amendment debate about whether it is constitutional for Florida and other states to bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

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.

Israel’s March of Folly

| July 20, 2014

Israel’s latest attack on Gaza reflects yet again that peculiar blend of arrogance and bigotry that has characterized Israeli policy toward Arabs since 1982: the arrogance that Israel is infallible, and the bigotry that sees Arabs either as inferior creatures to be walled off or as terrorists to be killed. It shouldn’t be surprised when the beasts rebel.

Florida Supreme Court Seeks Clarity on Inmates Sentenced to Life in Prison as Juveniles

| July 19, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court held that juvenile sentencing guidelines must offer young offenders the chance to have their cases reviewed after serving a certain number of years. A Florida law went into effect July 1, seeking to comply. But it remains unclear in key regards.

The Only Immigration “Crisis” Is America’s Refusal to Take In Children With Open Arms

| July 17, 2014

What are we to make of people who will stand in front of a TV camera and say they don’t want “those” people in their town? What are we to make of people who know so little of their beloved country’s history that they will make a mockery of the Statue of Liberty’s welcoming torch by greeting busloads of terrified children with shouts of “Go back where you came from”?

Calling It “Obviously Unconstitutional,” Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in the Keys

| July 17, 2014

Judge Luis Garcia, a Jeb Bush appointee, ruled that fundamental rights such as marriage may not be defined by the state, nor can they depend on a vote, such as Florida’s 2008 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But the ruling applies only in Monroe County.

Palm Coast Activists Drop 1,600 Postcards to Rep. Ron DeSantis, Seeking Better Gun-Safety

| July 16, 2014

The national, week-long “Not One More” campaign was inspired by the passionate plea of Richard Martinez, father of a victim of the May 23 mass shooting in Santa Barbara, in which Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 13 before killing himself.

Hobby Lobby and Religion’s
Assassination of Common Sense

| July 11, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision granting some companies authority to deny contraception to employees is a reminder that women-hating, science-bashing and religiously-based bigotry veiled as “faith” are alive and well in America.

Blame Democrats for the Court that
Birthed the Hobby Lobby Decision

| July 9, 2014

On the other hand, Democrats appear to have been clueless — and (some even) complicit, writes Stephen Goldstein. Year after year, they approved the radical majority of justices who now make up the “Roberts Court,” even when they knew their extreme agenda.

Gov. Scott Gives Up Drug-Testing Half of State’s Workers, But Still Aims Pee Cup at Rest

| July 9, 2014

The governor has not conceded that forcing state employees to undergo urinalysis is unconstitutional despite lower court rulings that spurred the concessions. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year refused to take up the case, but it is believed Scott will again ask the high court to rule on the case if he ultimately loses in lower court proceedings.

Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, “Undocumented” Immigrant, Earns Florida Bar Recommendation To Be an Attorney

| July 2, 2014

The action benefiting Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, of Largo, came less than two months after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill (HB 755) that allows “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, to be eligible for The Bar.

Birth Control Coverage: Hobby Lobby Decision May Not Be The Last Word

| July 1, 2014

The Supreme Court’s decision Monday saying that “closely held corporations” do not have to abide by the contraceptive coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act may not give those firms the ability to stop providing that coverage after all.

Corporate Religious Liberty: The Supreme Court’s Misguided Decision

| June 30, 2014

When companies have clear policies on religious discrimination, their employees are less likely to be looking for a new job. The Hobby Lobby decision may undercut such successes when companies opt to follow its dictates, writes Joyce S. Dubensky.

Florida Justice Barbara Pariente’s Crusade: Jurors Need Help Understanding that Eyewitness Testimony Is Unreliable

| June 28, 2014

Justice Pariente noted that the Innocence Commission analyzed wrongful convictions and highlighted eyewitness misidentification, which has been a factor in 75 percent of convictions later exonerated through DNA evidence nationally.

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