MEM'O TRiiC 1;;
TO: MGG 12/1/67
RE: SWFWMD REWARDS
I am of the opinion that the Southwest Florida Water Management
District does not have sufficient authority to offer to pay pecuniary
Over the years, the Attorney General has issued conflicting
opinions about Sheriffs having authority to legally offer rewards.
In 1946, J. Tom Watson was asked if a Sheriff could legally offer a
reward for the arrest and conviction in cases involving the theft of
livestock, and charge the reward as an expense of the office. He
answered the question in the negative stating that he could find no
authority for paying such rewards from County funds.
046-519 December 17, 1946
In 1949, Richard W. Ervin was asked if a Sheriff is authorized to
pay a reward for the apprehension of a criminal and charge said reward
against his office expense. He referred to the earlier opinion cited
above, acknowledged that there had been conflicting opinions from the
office of the Attorney General, and stated:
"If it appears that the payment of a reward is the
most logical means to be employed and common sense
dictates that there is little hope of finding a
criminal through other means, I believe that such
action is justified."
The opinion goes on to state that any opinions rendered to the
contrary are therefore overruled.
049-246 June 3, 1949
In 1955, the Attorney General was asked if a Board of County
Commissioners could put up a reward for apprehension of a person who
had committed a crime in that County. This question was answered in
the negative, citing several authorities However, this opinion did
refer to the 1949 opinion and implied something could be worked out
under that Section. A copy of this latter opinion is attached.
All authorities appear to be in agreement that Municipalities
and other subdivisions of the State have no power to offer rewards
unless such power has been specifically conferred by the Legislature.
055-134 June 16, 1955
590.16, Florida Statutes, specifically authorizes the Florida
Board of Forrestry, in its discretion, tol offer and pay rewards for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person vio-
lating any of the provisions of Chapter 50. (This Chapter relates
to forest protection.)
372.911 specifically authorizes the !Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission to offer rewards up to $500.00 for information leading to
arrest and conviction of persons inflicting bodily injury upon wild
life officers engaged in enforcement of the provisions of Chapter
372, Florida Statutes.
If some unlawful act has already beei committed causing damage
of a peculiar nature to the property or business of the District
and a reward is the most logical means and common sense dictates
there is little hope of finding the criminal through other means,
then the offer of District funds might be justified. Even this, in
my mind, is questionable.
In other words, I think we need special legislative authority
before any rewards are offered. Therefo e, I have prepared a pro-
posed letter to the Attorney General, which is attached.
t 4o *
055-134-June 16, 1955
COUNTY ORGANIZATION AND OFFICERS
FINANCE-COUNTY COMMISSIONERS-OFFER OF
REWARD IN CONNECTION WITH CRIME
To: Bryan Willis, State Auditor, Tallahassee
May a board of county commissioners offer to pay
a pecuniary reward for the apprehension, dead or alive,
of a person who has committed a crime in that county?
In this connection we have examined the statutory powers
and duties of boards of county commissioners under Ch. 125;
F.' S., and other statutes relating to county commissioners, and
find nothing in the statutes expressly authorizing boards of
county commissioners to pay pecuniary rewards for the ap-
prehension and conviction of persons charged with a crime.
In Brite v. Board of Commissioners of Siskiyou county, the 3rd
district court of appeals of California stated:
". In the absence of an express provision giving
a county or other municipality of the state express author-
ity to offer rewards for the apprehension and conviction of
offenders against the criminal laws of the state, the au-
thorities generally hold that no such power exists.
Hanger v. City of Des Moines, 52 Iowa, 193, 2 N. W.
1105, 35 Am. Rep. 266; Gale v. Inhabitants of South Ber-
wick, 51 Me. 174; Board of Commissioners v. Bradford,
72 Ind. 455, 37 Am. Rep. 174; Mountain v. Multnomah
Co., 16 Or. 279, 18 P. 464; Abel v. Pembroke, 61 N. H.
for the s;
posal a su
the said ;
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- -- -- -- ------ ----
M. G. GIBBONS, 1a8e-1.9a GIBBONS, TUCKER, MCEWEN, SMITH & COi'ER TELEPHONE
GUNBY GIBBONS, OF COUNSEL T EPONE
ATTORNEYS AT LAW 229-6451
ARTHUR S. GIBBONS
SAM M. GIBBONS 606 MADISON STREET PLEASE REPLY TO
SYRON G. GIBBONS TAMPA, FLORIDA P.O. BOX I36
IM. EARLE TUCKER TAMPA OFFICE
JAMES M. MC EWEN
ARMIN H. SMITH, JR.
JOSEPH B. COER November 30, 1967
NADINE N. REED
E. BRADFORD MILLER
THOMAS C. MARKS, JR.
LOUIS F. TIDWELL
LESTER M. BLAIN
STEPHEN C. KAHN
ANN L. KERR
The Honorable Earl Faircloth
Re: SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WATER MANAGEMENT DISTRICT
Dear General Faircloth:
The Southwest Florida Water Management District has been experiencing
more frequent acts of vandalism and theft to its property being
acquired in connection with the various projects being operated and
maintained by the District.
May the Southwest Florida Water Management District and its indi-
vidual Basin Boards offer to pay a pecuniary reward for information
S leading to apprehension and conviction of persons who unlawfully
offend against the property or business of the District?
Your prompt reply to this question will be appreciated.
With kindest personal regards, I am,
A orney for Southwest Florida
ter Management District