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Category archives for: Rights & Liberties

In Rare Joint Appearance, Flagler’s 3 Judges Speak Candidly About the Job’s Challenges On and Off Bench

| June 22, 2017

Circuit Court judges Dennis Craig and R. Lee Smith and County Court Melissa Moore-Stens spoke of personal and professional challenges and addressed the Flagler bench’s workload.

Citizens’ Review Panel May Not Force Testimony From Cops, Florida Supreme Court Rules

| June 22, 2017

The case stemmed from a complaint filed in 2009 alleging misconduct by a cop during a traffic stop. The Miami police department’s internal affairs division found insufficient evidence of misconduct.

Where It’s Legal, Pot Leads To Fewer Traffic Stops, But Racial Disparities Remain

| June 21, 2017

The drop means fewer interactions between police and drivers, potentially limiting dangerous clashes. But black and Hispanic drivers are still searched at higher rates than white motorists.

Court Allows ACLU’s Public Record Fight Over Police Tracking of Cell Phones

| June 20, 2017

The ACLU requested the records from Jackson as part of a broader inquiry in 2014 into the Sarasota Police Department’s use of what are known as “Stingray” tracking devices.

Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government

| June 17, 2017

Previously unannounced directives will limit the Department of Justice’s use of a storied civil rights enforcement tool, and loosen the Department of Education’s requirements on investigations.

Health Providers Prevail Over Gun Promoters in Guns v. Glocks Duel as 2011 Law Dies

| June 12, 2017

The plaintiffs in the case, including individual doctors, argued that the restrictions were a violation of their First Amendment rights. A federal court agreed.

When Elected Officials Block Constituents on Twitter or Facebook, Possibly Breaking the Law

| June 11, 2017

As elected officials increasingly turn to social media to communicate with constituents, some are blocking those who disagree with them. Some say it violates the First Amendment.

In Blow to Collective Bargaining, Court Upholds Scott Veto of Firefighters’ Pay Raises

| June 6, 2017

Scott’s decision to veto the $1.57 million for state firefighters, including employees who fight forest fires, had drawn criticism even from Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam.

He Was About To Pick Up His Newborn Son After Surgery When He Was Arrested By ICE

| June 4, 2017

The case of Oscar Millan shows ICE’s renewed focus on strict immigration enforcement. Under the Obama administration, agents had discretion in cases of immigrants with gravely sick children.

James Taylor Is Sentenced to Life In Prison on Molestation Charge; Appeal Immediately Filed

| June 2, 2017

Attorneys for James Taylor, 39, of Palm Coast and Gainesville, said his trial was unfair and prejudicial in several regards, and the act itself no evidence of molestation.

In American First, Scott Signs Bill Providing for Birth Certificates In Cases of Miscarriage

| May 31, 2017

The bill, which easily cleared the Senate and House in early May, makes Florida the first state in the nation to issue birth certificates for miscarriages. The implications of the bill are unclear.

In Flagler and Palm Coast, Hate Crimes Are a Rarity Even as State and National Stats Soar

| May 25, 2017

Officials and experts cite many reasons why reported hate crimes are rare: there may be more harmony locally, but also more subjectivity, under-reporting and lack of awareness when hate crimes are committed.

High Court Denies Challenge to Florida’s New Unanimous Jury Requirement in Death Cases

| May 24, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision cements a state law enacted this year that requires unanimous jury recommendations for the death penalty to be considered in capital cases.

The Problems With the FBI’s Investigation of Clinton’s Emails Went Well Beyond Comey

| May 14, 2017

A close examination of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton emails reveals a very different narrative that places previously undisclosed judgments and misjudgments by the Bureau at the very heart of what unfolded.

Not My President

| May 12, 2017

Renouncing Donald Trump is the conservative thing to do if one’s allegiance is to the rule of law, to American democratic institutions, to unobstructed law enforcement and to transparency and accountability.

Supreme Court Orders New Sentencing of Palm Coast Double-Murderer on Death Row

| May 12, 2017

David Snelgrove has twice been sentenced to death for the murders of Glyn Fowler, 84, and his wife, Vivian, 79, on Bannbury Lane in Palm Coast in late June 2000, but never unanimously.

Decriminalized Pot-Possession Program Will Advance in Flagler, But With Little Support From Sheriff

| May 10, 2017

The proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot possession in Flagler County has been in limbo for almost a year after a key judicial and law enforcement panel approved it last year, before the election.

Man Arrested Near Winn Dixie on Weapons Charges Invokes “Sovereign Citizen” Claim, Then Trouble Escalates

| May 8, 2017

Michael Grube, 30, refused to be booked at the Flagler jail. The “sovereign citizen” movement is a cultish subculture of extremists whose members don’t recognize most laws or authorities,

La Différence
France’s Answer To Trumpism: Non, Merci

| May 6, 2017

Emmanuel Macron’s election as President of France Sunday repudiates angry, anti-democratic tribalism represented by Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump. But it’s only a qualified win.

Progressive Voices Rise to Resist Locally as Flagler Beach “Rally By the Sea” Rebukes Trumpism

| April 29, 2017

Saturday’s rally of progressive-liberal organizations in Flagler Beach, organized by a group barely a few months old, suggests the local Republican sweep is not as total as it appears, or Trumpism the only movement in town.

‘Click It or Ticket’ Laws Are Becoming The Norm. But Do They Work?

| April 29, 2017

Not everyone is convinced the tougher laws reduce fatalities. And some opponents say the laws are another example of government interference and can lead to racial profiling.

Right v. Usurpation: State Defends Shifting Death Cases From State Attorney In Seminal Case of Authority

| April 27, 2017

Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala sued Rick Scott after he reassigned 23 death penalty cases, setting the stage for courts to clarify which authority of duly elected officials prevails.

Embattled State Attorney Ayala Gets Big-Name Backers In Fight With Scott Over Death Penalty

| April 24, 2017

Ex-prosecutors, former state Supreme Court justices, civil-rights organizations and families of homicide victims from across the country have filed briefs supporting Ayala in her legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott.

Secret Hospital Inspections Revealing Errors and Mishaps and May Become Public at Last

| April 22, 2017

The federal government has proposed requiring that accreditors release reports on the problems they find during hospital inspections. Right now, the reports are secret.

Goons With Guns, Sheriff Edition

| April 13, 2017

A Florida sheriff’s ISIS-like video warning to drug dealers and the brutalizing of Dr. David Dao on a United flight in the same week are no coincidence, but symptoms of a re-emerging authoritarianism.

The Legislature’s Mullahs Threaten
Religious Freedom in Florida Schools

| March 31, 2017

The Florida Legislature is about to approve a bill that would give religion preferential treatment in public schools, destroying a balance between secular rights and already inviolate personal expression.

For Florida’s Troubled Death Penalty, Prosecutor’s Refusal to Enforce It Is Latest Challenge

| March 27, 2017

Recent studies have provided additional evidence to bolster criticism of the death penalty in Florida, which leads the nation in Death Row exonerations.

A 2-for-1 for Racists: Post Hateful Fliers, and Revel in the News Coverage

| March 25, 2017

Nationalism evident since Trump’s rise–calls for mass deportations, Muslim bans, economic nationalism–intensified intense media coverage of emboldened white supremacists, attention the groups seem to be enjoying.

Bill Vastly Diminishing Separation of Church and School Passes Florida Senate, 23-13

| March 24, 2017

The proposal would allow religious speakers and messaging at school-sponsored events, and would allow students to engage in organized prayer groups during the school day and with the participation–though not the sponsorship–of school personnel.

Ousted In Cop Case, Prosecutor Who Won’t Seek Death Penalty Challenges Scott

| March 21, 2017

State Attorney Aramis Ayala is accusing Gov. Scott of abusing his authority by ousting her as prosecutor in the case of alleged cop-killer Markeith Loyd.

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