Florida Moves To Restrict Media Access To Stand Your Ground Case Records

Amazing — and disgusting. 

The Fifth Column

Rep. Matt Gaetz (Florida House of Representatives)

You know something’s wrong when they resort to these measures…

The Huffington Post

After a Tampa Bay Times’ review of 200 cases that involved the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law found an “uneven application” and “shocking outcomes,” one Florida lawmaker is seeking to impede the media’s ability to scrutinize the law.

Earlier this month, state Rep. Matt Gaetz(R-Fort Walton Beach) filed an amendment that would “severely limit access to court records in the self-defense cases,” the Times’ Michael van Sickler reports.

The amendment would allow those found innocent in a Stand Your Ground case to“apply for a certificate of eligibility to expunge the associated criminal history record.”

Gaetz said his amendment was unrelated to the Times’ Stand Your Ground investigation, the Associated Press reports. “The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground defense doesn’t have their life ruined by the use…

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Posted on 03/25/2014, in Conceal Carry & SYG and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Neat Trick, so it would restrict the information on not only those found innocent, but every single case. This has to be against our Sunshine Law.

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  2. What? What about their “Sunshine Law?”

    Also: “The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground defense doesn’t have their life ruined by the use of that defense,” he said.

    Why would someone who APPROPRIATELY uses a SYG defense have their life ruined?

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    • Oh – wait a minute – I just realized their definition of using it appropriately and my definition of using appropriately are 2 different things. To me, using it appropriately is when you are in an obvious situation of kill or be killed – like someone is holding a gun on you and says they are going to kill you, it is appropriate to pull yours and shoot them because you feel threatened when someone holds a gun on you and says they are going to kill you.

      But what THEY mean if someone feels scared because say for example a black person looks at them, they can say they feel threatened and it is appropriate to shoot them.

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      • Rachael,

        But what THEY mean if someone feels scared because say for example a black person looks at them, they can say they feel threatened and it is appropriate to shoot them.

        Yeah – or is threatened with popcorn or feeling threatened by the wife’s lover while he is having sex with her.

        Dunn stated dog whistles — “Menacing.” That dog whistle goes back to Jim Crow when in public, blacks had to lower their eyes and not look directly at Whites.

        GZ? Well, it’s okay for him to pin Trayvon’s arm then say that he could not retreat, right? But, the public is not suppose to hear and remember that and hence, why the NRA doesn’t want sunshine to shine on the words of the accused.

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  3. kindheart101

    Yet another attempt to put blinders on Lady Justice. This will never happen! There will always be family and friends of those who were willfully, and maliciously murdered because of this so-called law that will expose it to the public. We, the sane and caring people, see this law for what it is………”A Right To Kill”

    Give it your best shot Gaetz, but please know this. You will NEVER be able to silence the victims, nor the people that stand by their side in support! You remind me of a rapist that tries to excuse your act of violence by saying your victim asked for it by wearing a short skirt! Your shallowness is quite obvious Gaetz. May I ask how many gun companies and supremacists groups you belong to?

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  4. So the headlines will read …………

    “Thug (insert name here) attacks white dude”

    Dude shoots thug in self defense. This is all the evidence that will be allowed published. No actual evidence may be used at trial and all innuendo and rumors that benefit the Dude will be accepted as Gospel Truth.

    There is a petition I just signed to remove Corey from office. Vote early and often I say.

    (Administrator’s note: incorrect link deleted)

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  5. Here is the activity I think Gaetz is much more suited for:

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  6. towerflower

    Sounds like a GZ supporter introduced the bill, but the bill wouldn’t cover Z since he never went for SYG.

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    • towerflower,

      Sounds like a GZ supporter introduced the bill, but the bill wouldn’t cover Z since he never went for SYG.

      I keep hearing this, but it’s deceptive. GZ avoided arrest because of SYG. Let me repeat that;

      George Zimmerman avoided arrest because of stand your ground.

      He was covered under the no duty to retreat and meeting force with force under SYG.

      Then the state said they have evidence that GZ was the initial aggressor, pursued Trayvon, and SYG does not apply for that reason.

      Only months after GZ’s bond hearing did O’Mara claim that it was not SYG because GZ could not retreat, while also saying that he was going to have a pre-trial immunity hearing. Yet, the jury instructions that he and West wrote omitted initial aggressor and included the “no duty to retreat” instructions that Judge Nelson approved.

      So, remove the initial aggressor instruction, don’t mention that GZ had Trayvon’s arm pinned as he aimed for Trayvon’s heart and pulled the trigger; put a stealth juror on the panel to say that Trayvon was a “bad kid,” and then allege that he did not defend under SYG.

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  7. Two sides to a story

    In general, I think there is too much public access of peoples’ records in the US. Not many other places in the world can you go online and scrutinize other people’s criminal records. I don’t think this is necessarily a right that people should have. Criminal records are used far too often against people, making it impossible for people with arrest records to get jobs even when they’ve paid their debt to society through whatever means that took – jail time, fines, community service, etc. – and sometimes even against people who have been mistakenly arrested and then found not guilty, or those who have been overcharged.

    In many countries, once a conviction is “spent” the record can no longer be accessed (sometimes they’re not even public record to begin with) or used against the person later to affect employment.

    The Florida sunshine law turns high profile court cases into a media circus. Better to not have all evidence available to the public until cases are finished. Look at how OM was able to twist the sunshine law to his benefit and make TM look like a thug with “evidence” that wasn’t even admissable in the GZ trial. He wouldn’t have been able to do that without the Sunshine law.

    On the other hand, I can see where not having access to any self-defense cases still on record could be twisted to a racial advantage.

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    • Two sides,

      In general, I think there is too much public access of peoples’ records in the US. Not many other places in the world can you go online and scrutinize other people’s criminal records.

      I agree, but it’s not only criminal records. Those background websites should be removed because not only is their information not verified and factual, but many of those sites allow anyone to post a profile, even a profile for someone else. People can create a profile for any name, and then allege it’s for the person they are trying to defame.

      Criminal records are used far too often against people, making it impossible for people with arrest records to get jobs even when they’ve paid their debt to society through whatever means that took – jail time, fines, community service, etc. – and sometimes even against people who have been mistakenly arrested and then found not guilty, or those who have been overcharged.

      Absolutely! It also applies to some schools and training programs. I can see some positions that require handling money or products in warehouses wanting to screen arrest records, but that’s the thing —- there are people in human resources who do not know how to read “arrest records” and think that any arrest means conviction.

      In many countries, once a conviction is “spent” the record can no longer be accessed (sometimes they’re not even public record to begin with) or used against the person later to affect employment.

      Well, welcome to “state’s rights,” because there are some states that provide for expungement or sealing of arrest records, and some states that do not. For those states that do, there is generally a cost involved, even when the State dismissed a case.

      Look at how OM was able to twist the sunshine law to his benefit and make TM look like a thug with “evidence” that wasn’t even admissable in the GZ trial. He wouldn’t have been able to do that without the Sunshine law.

      Yes. The media was only releasing documents filed with the court and discovery released by the state. O’Mara turned Sunshine Law into a soap opera with rumors, misrepresentations, and anything from Youtube involving any Black male with the name Trayvon.

      I’ve watched some other Florida cases, (like that of Goodman), and did not find any documents nor discovery released to the public. The same is true for other cases, such as Trevor Dooley and John Orr. The media pays for documents in cases so they pick and choose which cases are going to be important for the release of info to the public.

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    • roderick2012

      Two sides:In general, I think there is too much public access of peoples’ records in the US.

      The goal of keeping the records secret is to hide the racial disparities of SYG in particular how whites who shoot and kill blacks are much more likely to use SYG successfully than vice versa.

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      • I believe that is the goal, roderick.

        Why is SYG singled out for this and not other cases where SYG is not asserted?

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  8. Now take a look at what is happening in Georgia:

    CANCEL MY DINNER RESERVATIONS IN GEORGIA

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/georgia-gun-laws-032514

    Excerpt:

    The news that Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is on the verge of signing a bill that will allow guns in bars, restaurants, schools, churches, and airports is simply chilling. Indeed, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll that found more than 70 percent of voters opposed such a measure, as well as the state’s police chiefs association, restaurant association, and Episcopal and Catholic churches, not to mention the federal Transportation Security Administration.

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  9. The parents of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin were in Washington D.C. Tuesday, lending their voices to the fight to take down a controversial law.

    According to a Texas A&M University study, homicides have increased 7 to 9 percent in states with “Stand Your Ground” laws.

    There’s a video from today’s hearing before the Human Rights Commission in DC at the following link.

    http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/topstories/story/Parents-lobby-to-change-Stand-Your-Ground-laws/sNcTvLR8P0mFYmWtPJLAjA.cspx?rss=3568

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  10. Leading ministers of the National Baptist Convention, USA., Inc., announced Tuesday they are working to repeal the controversial “stand your ground” laws around the country through a newly-formed National Pastors’ Task Force.

    http://washingtoninformer.com/news/2014/mar/25/ministers-join-fight-to-end-stand-your-ground-laws/

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  11. Does the following indicate that the record would be completely destroyed or would it still exist somewhere in department records?

    (4) EFFECT OF CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD EXPUNCTION.—Any
    428 criminal history record of a minor or an adult which is ordered
    429 expunged by a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant
    430 section must be physically destroyed or obliterated by
    431 criminal justice agency having custody of such record;
    432 that any criminal history record in the custody of the
    433 department must be retained in all cases. A criminal history
    434 record ordered expunged that is retained by the department is
    435 confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and
    436 s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and not available to
    437 any person or entity except upon order of a court of competent
    438 jurisdiction. A criminal justice agency may retain a notation
    439 indicating compliance with an order to expunge.

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  12. This reminds me of politicians who don’t like the outcomes of elections, so they work to restrict voting rights. Don’t like the way things are working out? Restrict the public’s access to information and its ability to act.

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  13. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Florida Senate to discuss changes to ‘stand your ground’ law”
    http://www.wesh.com/article/florida-senate-to-discuss-changes-to-stand-your-ground-law/8633853
    Updated: 9:33 AM EST Jan 24, 2017

    Also:
    “A mother’s plea: Fight dangerous ‘stand your ground’ laws” | Opinion
    by Lucy McBath
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/commentary/fl-lmoped-stand-your-ground-20170123-story.html

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