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Rights & Liberties
Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Said to Have Been Framed For Tampa Murder, Deaf Convict Felix Garcia Is Denied Release

| November 20, 2014

Felix Garcia’s supporters had hoped he would be released with time served, arguing that he’d been unable to understand the evidence against him during the murder trial and wasn’t given an interpreter.

Despite Big Election Losses, LGBT Floridians Hope for Progress on Ending Workplace Discrimination

| November 12, 2014

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would ban discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation. It was sponsored by one of only two openly gal legislators, who lost. It will now be sponsored by a Republican lawmaker, Rep. Holly Raschein of Key Largo.

Flagler School Board Makes Small Inroad for Some Employees’ Same-Sex Rights, But Other Agencies Dodge the Issue

| November 10, 2014

The Flagler County School Board’s bereavement leave for same-sex couples formally acknowledges such unions, but only for support personnel, while teachers and employees of other government agencies still have no such rights.

Cruel and Unusual: 2 Inmates Who Murdered as Juveniles Challenge Their Life Sentences

| November 8, 2014

Two inmates serving life in prison for murders committed as juveniles are challenging their sentences based on a 2012 US Supreme Court ruling that bans mandatory life sentences for juveniles.

“Personhood” Amendment Crushed Even in the Reddest State, Dealing Blow to Abortion Foes

| November 6, 2014

Two proposed constitutional amendments that would have declared life starting at conception were overwhelmingly defeated in North Dakota and Colorado, with two-thirds of voters opposed.

500,000!
FlaglerLive Crosses Half-Million
Reader Mark in October

| November 2, 2014

FlaglerLive ended October with close to 550,000 readers for the month, a new record and further indication that as print struggles to maintain its mass-market appeal, the media landscape is changing too rapidly to accommodate old models.

As Florida Bans Use of Biometric IDs in Schools, Other States Scale Back on Big Brother

| November 2, 2014

Laws cracking down on student-tracking technology reflect a growing sense of unease among parents over how biometrics are being used, what student data is being collected and stored and what security protects the information.

Does Life Begin at Conception? Nation Eyes Referendum That May Set Precedent

| November 1, 2014

The battle over North Dakota’s Measure 1 highlights the biggest trend in national abortion politics this November: wide-ranging pro-life ballot initiatives that would alter state constitutions in ways whose long-term repercussions are difficult to predict.

Sheriff’s Office, In Echo of 2001 Violation, Keeps Secret the Hospitalization of Murder Suspect at FHF

| October 31, 2014

For two days, a murder suspect was under arrest in Flagler County but not at the jail. The Sheriff’s Office would not disclose his whereabouts–a dungeon-like disappearance that no law allows or protects.

Miscounts Stretch Marathon Canvassing Board Meeting to 16 Hours, Ending After Midnight

| October 30, 2014

Aside from Supervisor Kimberle Weeks hiring a stenographer without the Canvassing Board’s authorization, the meeting Thursday was dominated by attempts to reconcile a four-ballot difference.

Sanford, Ferguson, Tallahassee: When Cops Act Like Vigilantes

| October 28, 2014

When police from Sanford to Tallahassee protect themselves or FSU football players and sit on information that should be disclosed and vigorously pursued, they invite mistrust and charges of a cover-up.

Ebola Isn’t a Problem in the U.S.
Hysteria and Xenophobia Are.

| October 26, 2014

There is not going to be an Ebola epidemic in the United States. There isn’t one now. But there is a an epidemic of hysteria and cowardice that’s costing more lives in Africa, and that could threaten the West if segregationists have their way.

As 32 States Now Recognize Gay Marriage, Pam Bondi Files Latest Delaying Tactic

| October 26, 2014

Same-sex couples should continue to be prevented from getting married in Florida until a legal battle plays out about the constitutionality of the state’s gay-marriage ban, Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a federal-court filing.

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.

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