News & Resources

Can a Court Squelch Public Statements by a Criminal Defendant Before Conviction?

Long-time Republican political operative, staunch Trump supporter, and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone has never been one to hold his tongue in the face of controversy. Even in the wake of criminal indictment on five counts of making false statements, one count of obstructing an official proceeding, and one count of witness tampering, he betrayed no sign of avoiding the spotlight. In response to colorful public proclamations of his innocence, the federal judge hearing his […]

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Florida Supreme Court Decides Not to Weigh in on Release of Parkland Shooting Surveillance

When a tragedy like the Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School occurs, there tend to be two schools of thought where the release of information is concerned. On the one hand, Florida’s Public Records Act protects the rights of citizens and news organizations to access certain kinds of evidence and information to monitor how well government is functioning. On the other, governing and investigative bodies often have a vested interest in withholding some of […]

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FIU Bridge Collapse: Do Public Records Stop Being Public Records When There’s an Investigation?

The FIU bridge collapse this past March was a terrible tragedy. Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to prevent another such occurrence in the future. As a part of this, FDOT has been working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), providing them with documentation regarding the construction of the bridge. While those two organizations have been conducting their investigation, the press has been reporting on it and updating the public on […]

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Prior Restraint – Tried but Never Affirmed

The Bill of Rights enshrines the rights to free speech and free press in our Constitution. Yet since the beginning of our republic, various compartments of our government have tried (and always failed) to impose prior restraint on those rights by invoking court power to stop the publication or broadcast of unwanted news. While there is potential for the government’s lawful exercise of that power against our free press, no court in the land has […]

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HB 459: Will Your Trade Secrets Become Public Records?

If you do business with the state of Florida, you may no longer be able to rely on a trade secrets exemption to hide related contracts or financial data from the public. Currently, certain public records can be kept private if they contain trade secrets. In 2016, the House Speaker sought to make public the terms of rapper Pitbull’s spokesman contract with the public agency Visit Florida. Pitbull argued that the trade secret exemption protected […]

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