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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

Lawmakers File Bill to Ban AR-15-Like
Weapon Used in Orlando Massacre

| January 10, 2017

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, announced they are sponsoring a proposal (SB 254) that would ban so-called assault rifles and “large capacity” ammunition magazines.

Teacher May Be Disciplined But Not Fired Over Disparaging Transgender Student

| January 9, 2017

An administrative law judge reversed the decision of the Lee County School Board, which had moved to terminate Angel Villanueva, a Junior ROTC instructor at East Lee County High School.

Alleged Chicago Assault Reignites
Issue of Hate Crimes Against Whites

| January 9, 2017

As Chicago authorities waited before filing hate-crime charges against four young adult blacks for an alleged attack on a white disabled man, the Internet raged.

Israel’s Suicide Mission

| January 7, 2017

Israel’s right-wing government never seriously considered the two-state solution, which it has now abandoned as it imposes a de-facto annexation of the Palestinian West Bank, enshrining apartheid.

In Bizarre Move, Court Stops Prosecutors From Seeking Death Penalty, Then Rescinds Order

| January 5, 2017

The release of the Florida Supreme Court order, a mistake, according to a court spokesman, further muddled Florida’s embattled death penalty, on hold for nearly a year following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last January.

Pot Amendment Goes Into Effect Amid Mass Confusion and “Dangerous Legal Area”

| January 4, 2017

Proponents of Amendment 2 as well as some marijuana operators are demanding that the state health department provide adequate guidance to the industry about the proposal approved by more than 70 percent of Floridians in November.

Striking at Balance of Powers, Florida Lawmaker Files Measures to Nullify Court Decisions

| December 28, 2016

Gonzalez’s bills are a reflection of the Legislature’s latest assault on judicial power. But taking aim at separation of powers considered fundamental, if not sacred, to American government may be more of a partisan than a realistic exercise.

Trump Effect: A Reporter on the Hate Beat Finds Stories Too Close to Home

| December 26, 2016

Something profound appears to be changing in American life as a wave of ugly incidents has washed over the country in the weeks since Donald J. Trump was elected–agains minorities, but also at times against Trump supporters.

Justice James E.C. Perry’s Last Dissent Denounces Florida’s Death Penalty

| December 23, 2016

Justice Justice James E.C. Perry in a blistering condemnation of the death penalty in general rendered a blistering analysis of the manner in which capital punishment is carried out in Florida.

3 Flagler Death Sentences Among More Than 200 Invalidated By Florida Supreme Court

| December 22, 2016

The invalidation of 55% of death sentences affect those of two Flagler double-murderers–William Gregory, of Flagler Beach, David Snelgrove of Palm Coast–and Cornelius Baker, who killed a woman in Flagler.

Flagler School Board Finds New Way to Recite The Pledge: With Pixels and iPhone For All

| December 20, 2016

In a retreat at Cattlemen’s Hall on the county fairgrounds today, the Flagler School Board faced a dilemma: there was no flag to which to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. A minor debate ensued, then Superintendent Jacob Oliva found a solution.

Palm Coast Man Falsely Arrested Sues Sheriff, Saying Deputies “Did Not Act Reasonably”

| December 19, 2016

Dakota Ward, 19, was arrested in March when he was mistaken for a man called De’Coda Ward, and was booked at the jail. A Sheriff’s internali investigation faulted a deputy’s carelessness for enabling the error.

The Unnecessary Controversy Over “Sanctuary Campuses”

| December 18, 2016

Even if colleges were targeted by the Trump administration, numerous privacy and legal obstacles remain before administrators would be enlisted in identifying students for deportation.

Sheriff Manfre: Against Tribalism

| December 17, 2016

In a call against the fracturing of society into self-interested groups, Sheriff Jim Manfre argues for the importance of resisting the worst of the tribal instincts roused by the last election.

In Tilt to Right Gov. Scott Appoints Appeal Court Judge C. Alan Lawson to Supreme Court

| December 16, 2016

Lawson’s appointment to the Supreme Court reduces the influence of the liberal-leaning court majority, which has been made up of Perry, Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince.

Unlikely Alliance of Clergy and Pro-Choice Advocates Sue to Block Florida’s Abortion Law

| December 14, 2016

Plaintiffs including rabbis, ministers and non-profits contend they don’t have medical training and aren’t qualified to offer information not spelled out in the abortion law.

Seizing on Orlando Murder Case, Justice Breyer Asks Court to “Reconsider Constitutionality of Death Penalty”

| December 13, 2016

Justice Stephen Breyer characterized the death penalty as cruel and unusual in light of the case of Henry Sireci, 68, who’s been on Florida’s Death Row for 40 years and has yet again been cleared for execution.

Cops Aren’t Under Siege.
Civilians and Liberties Are.

| December 9, 2016

It’s a widely accepted but dangerous myth: that cops are under siege, handcuffed by “new restrictions.” The reality is the opposite, with more unbridled and brutal policing than we care to admit.

Revealed: Florida Stockpiling Lethal Injection Protocol Never Used Before, Inviting Litigation

| December 6, 2016

The new triple-drug cocktail would be the only one of its kind among the states that rely on similar procedures to kill prisoners, including a drug never used to that end before.

Beyond Tweet Storms: What Trump Could Learn from Alexander Hamilton

| December 5, 2016

Hamilton wanted a strong central government. He advocated taxation. He took these positions for practical reasons, not because he was a flaming liberal, argues Jill Richardson.

Florida’s Death Penalty Law in Disarray, Supreme Court Throws Out Yet More Sentences

| December 2, 2016

Signaling how it is likely to handle scores of Death Row cases, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court threw out death sentences and ordered a new penalty proceeding for a convicted triple-murderer.

In Saint Augustine, A Dead Priest Pleads for the Life of His Killer

| November 30, 2016

Father Rene Robert, who was murdered, signed the Declaration of Life in 1995: it is wrong for the state to take the life of a convicted criminal, no matter how vile the crime, and no matter how innocent the victim.

New Florida Senator Files Bill To Scrap 2014 Law Granting In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

| November 30, 2016

The plan by Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, repealing the in-state tuition exception, could alter the higher-education plans of many students who have spent much of their lives in Florida.

Florida Court Backs Notifying Minor’s Parent Before Abortion, But Waivers Are Easy Out

| November 28, 2016

Judges rarely turn down requests for waivers. The decision cites evidence that 89.5 percent of petitions were granted in 2013, 90.5 percent in 2014 and 94.7 percent in 2015.

In An Ugly Election Result, Hate Surges Online as Trump Emboldens Extremists

| November 27, 2016

Throughout Donald J. Trump’s ultimately successful run for the presidency, many worried that he had, willfully or recklessly, emboldened racists across the country. Evidence suggests Trump’s effect on rising extremism has been unmistakable.

How The Electoral College Mistrusts Voters

| November 23, 2016

That flaw is the Electoral College. For the fourth time in our history, and the second in 16 years, it has given the presidency to the candidate who polled fewer votes — 2 million fewer in this case — than his principal rival.

Black and White: 11 Florida Supreme Court Applicants Contrast Starkly With Retiring James Perry

| November 23, 2016

The exit of the liberal Perry — one of five jurists who make up a liberal-leaning majority — gives Gov. Rick Scott his first opportunity to shape a bench that has repeatedly vexed the Republican chief executive and the GOP-dominated Legislature.

New School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker Calls For, and Gets, Half As Many Meetings

| November 23, 2016

Relying on a faulty analogy with Duval County schools, Flagler County School Board Chairman Trevor Tucker wants the number of meetings cut from four to two per month, but wants these to be meatier than they’ve been. The board gave its guarded approval.

Two Kindergarten Students of Mixed Races Come Home From Imagine School With Swastikas on Their Skin

| November 18, 2016

School officials say clear video from the school bus captured the incident, in which a middle school student is said to have drawn swastikas on at least two kindergarteners’ skin. A motive has not been disclosed.

Gov. Scott’s Pick from Judges Applying to Replace Perry Will Shift Supreme Court Right

| November 14, 2016

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission plans to provide Scott a short list of six names, from 11 applicants, by Nov. 29, giving the governor plenty of time to make a decision before Justice James E.C. Perry’s resignation goes into effect Dec. 30.

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