Title: Brechner report
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090012/00067
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Title: Brechner report
Series Title: Brechner report
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, College of Journalism and communications, University of Florida
Publisher: Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: July 2005
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090012
Volume ID: VID00067
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Volume 29, Number 7 E A monthly report of mass media law in Florida
Published by The Brechner Center for Freedom ofr I,,~ 1... a. College ofJournalism and Communications U University ofFlorida
July 2005

Pompano officials charged with Sunshine violation

commissioners have been charged with
violating the state's Open
Meetings Law after they met
to discuss their investigation A C
of the Broward Sheriff s
Office. MEI
State Attorney Michael
Satz filed the non-criminal charges as a

FORT MYERS -Local residents
wishing to speak to the city council
about a non-agenda item are finding it
more difficult to be heard after the mayor
initiated a new public input procedure.
Mayor Jim Humphrey temporarily
banned non-agenda comments from the
meetings, while city attorneys review a
policy that would end the open input
Although Humphrey said he would
like to bring the comment period back, he
said city leaders need time to figure out


result of a June 2004 meeting in which the
commissioners discussed their
investigation into inflated crime statistics.
The breakfast meeting
|E SS with Sheriff Ken Jenne was
held without notice and no
INGS minutes were taken,
according to the charges.
The state Sunshine Law requires that

how to deal with people who are abusing
the time.
His decision came after two residents
continued to talk beyond their allotted
time period during an early May council
The men were using part of their
speaking time to accuse the city leaders
of misconduct.
At the meeting, Humphrey had staff
members turn off the microphone and
threatened to call the police to remove
one of the citizens.

Legislators enact 13 new exemptions
TALLAHASSEE- The 2005 included exemptions forjuvenile court
legislative session concluded with 13 personnel and medical examiner's staff
new exemptions to the members, which did not pass.
state's open government AC C E SS In addition to the new
laws. The bills require the -L A exemptions, the legislators
governor's signature RECORDS also renewed seven
before they become law. exemptions that were up for

The exemptions restrict public access
to a variety of information, including
hurricane damage information that is
collected by insurance providers and
used to calculate loss projection
Several of the proposed exemptions
were for personal information, including
names and addresses of parties
involved in the justice system. These

review under the Open Government
Sunset Review. Passed in 1995, the
OGSR requires that the Legislature
review and reenact all exemptions within
five years of their passage or the
provisions will automatically sunset.
A detailed breakdown of the
exemptions discussed during the 2005
legislative session is included inside
this issue of the Brechner Report.

any meetings between two or more
members of the same elected or appointed
body be properly noticed and open to the
public. In addition, minutes of the
proceedings must be recorded.
Vice Mayor Susan Foster and
commissioners George Brummer, Lamar
Fisher and Kay McGinn face $500 fines
for the violation.

Study determines

journalists above

average in ethics

COLUMBIA, MO -Professional
journalists are considerably more ethical
than the average American adult,
according to a recent study by two
University of Missouri professor Lee
Wilkins and Louisiana State University
ETHICS oemta
spent two
years interviewing 249 print and
broadcast journalists around the country
for the study.
The researchers administered the
Defining Issues Test, which is widely
used to evaluate moral development, to
draw their conclusions.
Their findings place journalists fourth
on the list of most ethical professionals,
behind top-ranked seminarians or
philosophers, medical students and
practicing physicians.
"We did not really think that
journalists would come out as high as
they did," Coleman told The Associated
The results of the study are contained
in their new book, "The Moral Media:
How Journalists Reason About Ethics,"
which was released earlier this year.

Citizens angered by mayor's plan

to limit public input at meetings





State enhances Web site to track sex offenders

TALLAHASSEE-Floridians will now
be able to use the state's sex-offender
tracking Web site to determine the
whereabouts of sex offenders within any
5-mile radius.
The Florida Department of Law
Enforcement began the Web site several
years ago, but until recently, users could
only search via ZIP code.

County will post

mug shots in

Hernando parks
residents will be able to see more than
flora and fauna the next time they visit a
county park.
County commissioners voted
unanimously in late May to display the
mug shots of sexual predators residing in
the county on the bulletin board at the
county's parks.
Five sexual predators and 215 sexual
offenders are residing in the county,
according the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement database.
The commission decided to only post
pictures of the predators, citing 215 as a
unwieldy number.
Sexual predators are repeat offenders
who have been classified as such by the
court after a finding of specific criteria
that are based on their recidivism.
The county's legal department is also
looking into the possibility of banning all
sex offenders and predators from the
county's parks.


Copies of case opinions, Florida
Attorney General opinions, or
!,.g, ,l,. ,i reported in any issue as
"on file" may be obtained upon
requestfrom the Brechner Center for
Freedom of Information, College of
Journalism and Communications,
3208 Weimer Hall, P.O. Box 118400,
University of Florida, Gainesville,
FL 32611-8400, (352) 392-2273.

"There could be a sexual offender
across the street from you but if they are
in a different ZIP code they won't show
up," said Attorney General Charlie Crist.
The new program was developed free
of charge by software company Pitney
Bowes and allows residents to enter a
specific street address. The search
engine will turn up any hits within 5 miles

MIAMI The owners of 20
Kentucky Derby winner Funny
along with the horse's
victorious jockey, have filed
suit against The Miami
The suit stems from a May
2003 article that suggestedjoc
Jose Santos may have had an i
object in his hand.
The article was based on a
photograph and interviews wit
Santos, another jockey, a stew
jockey's agent.
In the article, the newspaper
reported that Santos described
blurred image in the photo as a
ring" and then the story went
report that "some jockeys hav
known to use illegal battery-op

of the address entered, allowing
residents to check their own address or
even the address of their children's
Currently there are about 35,000
registered sex offenders in the state's
database, which is accessed via the
FDLE Web site. That site received more
than 3 million hits last month alone.

03 devices."
Cide, However, the quote from Santos
arose out of a
TLIB E L miscommunication due to
LIB E language differences, in
which the jockey was
attempting to describe a Q-
key ray ionized bracelet.
illegal The newspaper ultimately ran a
correction after the statutory correction
period had expired, so it will not receive
th legislative protection from punitive
ard and damages in the suit, according to Ft.
Lauderdale attorney Bruce Rogow, who
r represents the plaintiffs.
the The suit was originally filed in
"cue federal district court in Kentucky but
on to was dismissed for lack ofjurisdiction.
e been It is now pending in circuit court in
ratedd Broward County.

Court refuses to hear privilege case

despite conflict among lower courts
WASHINGTON- Afriend-of-the- federal court the names of their sources,
court brief by the attorneys general of 34 even if they have promised their source
states, including Florida's Charlie Crist, confidentiality.
was not enough to convince the U.S. If journalists refuse to do so, they can
Supreme Court to take the case of be held in contempt of court and subject to
reporters Judith Miller and fines orjailtime.
Matthew Cooper. TTT SH IE D Because the High Court refused
It asked the Court to JL ) to hear the case, it now returns to
recognize a qualified LAW S a federal district court in
privilege for reporters, Washington, D.C., where Judge
which would have allowed Thomas Hogan will hear
reporters to maintain the confidentiality arguments about when and where the
of their sources, reporters should serve theirjail time.
The Supreme Court's denial of The case stems from the reporters'
certiorari, in the form of a one-line order, refusal to cooperate with a federal
allows the current ruling to stand, investigation regarding leaked information
Reporters may be forced to reveal in about CIA operative Valerie Plame.

2 The Brechner Report July 2005

Defamation lawsuit targets Miami

newspaper for article about jockey


Journalist arrested while covering unrest at park

ST. PETERSBURG- A St. Petersburg jailed for obstruction while reporting
Times reporter spent several hours in the about several violent outbursts in the St.
Pinellas County Jail after police arrested Petersburg park.
her while she was covering disturbances Police officials say she was told
in a local park. several times to get out of the street.
Reporter Candace Rondeaux posted Rondeaux maintains that she was
$250 bail to be released after she was wearing her press credentials and moved

to the sidewalk when officials asked.
No charges have been filed.
"We're kind of in cautiously optimistic
limbo," said TimesExecutive EditorNeil
Brown. "We have registered our concerns
with the police and the state attorney


Court declines

to hear case of


Court declined to hear a Texas case
involving a satirical news story.
The case, filed by a Texas judge and
district attorney, stems from a fictional
1999 Dallas Observer piece that details
the arrest and detention of a child
because a book report she wrote
contained "terroristic threats."
The satire contained fabricated
quotes by a Texas Juvenile Court judge
and district attorney. The story was a
parody of the real-life detention by the
two officials of a teen-ager over a violent
Halloween story.
The Texas Supreme Court dismissed
the case in 2004, saying no one would
believe the story contained actual facts.
Additionally, the ruling said actual
malice would have to be proven.


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Justices overturn speech restraint

issued against Cochran's client

Court held that a gag order against a
former client of Johnnie Cochran's was
an unconstitutional restraint on speech.
Although Cochran passed away one
week after oral arguments in the case,
the majority held that the gag order,
initially designed to prevent the client
from attempting to extort money from
Cochran by publicly defaming him, was
no longer necessary.
"Consequently, the injunction, as
written, now amounts to an overly broad
prior restraint against speech, lacking

plausible justification," Justice Stephen
Breyer wrote for the majority. "As such, the
Constitution forbids it."
Legal scholars, including Duke Law
School professor Erwin Chemerinsky, who
represented Cochran's former client, believe
the ruling signals the court's reluctance to
uphold restrictions against speech in
defamation cases.
Justice Clarence Thomas, along with
Justice Antonin Scalia, dissented because
they believe that the Court should have
dismissed the case because they felt that an
appeal had been "improvidently granted."


CS/HB 379 Student Assessment
HB 475 and SB 1828 Access/DCFS
SB 504 and HB 713 Electronic
Voting Systems
SB 682 Adverse Medical Incidents
SB 942 Shell/Adverse Medical
Incident Reports
CS/HB 947 and CS/SB 1810 -
SB 1092 Exemption/Unemployment
Compensation Records
CS/HB 1135 and CS/SB 1982 -
CS/SB 1142 and CS/HB 1919 -
Exemption/Trade Secrets
CS/SB 1144 and HB 1721 Chapter
119 Reorganization
SB 1226 Shell/Domestic Security
HB 1307 and CS/SB 2142 -
Exemption/Library Donors
SB 1332, HB 1571, and CS/HB 1903
-Exemption/SlotMachine Licensee

CS/HB 1387 and CS/SB 2056 -
Offender and Murderer Registration
CS/HB 1411 and SB 2526 Exemption/
Florida Transport Authority
HB 1491 and CS/SB 1922 Exemption/
Municipal Ethics Commission
HB 1509 and SB 2034 Exemption/
Vaccine Research Institute
CS/HB 1591 and CS/SB 2178 -
SB 1594 -Exemption/Shell Bill
SB 1596 -Exemption/Shell Bill
HB 1609 Patient Records
CS/SB 1628 Exemption/Home
Addresses Juvenile Probation Officers
HB 1695 and CS/SB 2220 Exemption/
PreK Education Program Record
HB 1851 and CS/SB 2644 Exemption/
Legislative Information Services.
SB 1896 -Exemption/Shell Bill-
SB 1898 -Exemption/Shell Bill
SB 1946 Exemption/Ethics Violations
SB 2248 Exemption/Private Donations

The Brechner Report July 2005 3


TALLAHASSEE- The followingbills
enacted during the 2005 legislative
session create new exemptions to the state
Public Records and Open Meetings laws.
Copies of the legislation are available at
the Florida Legislature's Web site, Online
Sunshine, at http://www.leg.state.fl.us.
Chief sponsors of the bills are in
parentheses at the end of the bill

CS/HB 185 Exemption/Child Abuse
Death Review Committees: Creates a
public record exemption for information
identifying a deceased child's surviving
siblings, family members or others living in
the home of the deceased, in records held
by the State Child Abuse Death Review
Committee or local committees. Provides a
penalty for the knowing or willful
disclosure of exempt information.
(Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie)
CS/HB 449 Exemption/H. Lee Moffitt
Cancer Center: Expands the current
exemptionforproprietary confidential
business information in Section 1004.43 of
the Florida Statutes to also exempt
information relating to methods of
manufacture or production, potential trade
secrets, potentially patentable material or
proprietary information received,
generated, ascertained or discovered
during the course of research by the
Center. (Ambler, R-Tampa)
HB 627 Exemption/Florida Consumer
Finance Act: Creates a public record
exemption for investigative and
examination information held by the Office
of Financial Regulation of the Financial
Services Commission until the
investigation is complete or no longer
active. (Detert, R-Venice)
CS/HB 729 Exemption/Florida Self-
Insurers Guaranty Association: Creates
a public record exemption for claims files
of the Florida Self-Insurer Guaranty
Association, stipulating that the records
become public upon termination of all
litigation and settlement of all claims
arising out of the same incident. Also
creates an exemption for medical records
and other information relating to the
medical condition of a claimant that are
part of a claims file. Creates an exemption
for those portions of association board
meetings during which exempt claims files
are discussed, requiring that the closed
portions be recorded and transcribed.
Finally, exempts the minutes of all closed
meetings until settlement of the claim and
termination of all litigation. (Goodlette, R-

4 The Brechner Report July 2005

CS/SB 798 Exemption/Parental
Notification: Amends Section390.1116
of the Florida Statutes, making minor
changes to the public record exemption
for information in records held by a court
that could identify a minor seeking a
waiver of parental notification of abortion
CS/HB 1091 Exemption/Independent
Education Commission: Creates public
record exemption for all investigatory
records held by the Independent
Education Commission in conjunction
with investigations into complaints,
including minutes and findings of exempt
probable cause panel meetings convened
in conjunction with such investigations.
Stipulates that such information will be
exempt for no more than 10 days after the
panel makes a determination regarding
probable cause. Also creates an
exemption for portions of meetings of the
probable cause panel at which exempt
records are discussed. (Greenstein, D-
Coconut Creek)
SB 1098 Exemption/Guardians Ad
Litem: Creates a public record exemption
for any information held by a guardian ad
litem that is related to the best interests of
a child. Also exempts information
maintained by a guardian ad litem that is
otherwise confidential or exempt. Creates
a public record exemption for the home
address, telephone number, place of
employment and photographs of current
or former guardians ad litem, as well as
the names, home address, telephone

number, and place of employment of the
spouses and children of such persons if
the guardian ad litem provides a written
statement that he or she has made
reasonable efforts to protect such
information from being accessible through
other means available to the public.
Finally, allows disclosure of information
exempt under Chapter 39 of the Florida
Statutes to the director, or the director's
designee, of a child's advocacy center.
(Smith, D-Gainesville)
CS/HB 1469 Exemption/Funeral,
Cemetery & Consumer Services Board:
Creates public meetings exemptions for
the Funeral, Cemetery & Consumer
Services Board when the board is meeting
for the exclusive purpose of creating or
reviewing licensure examination questions
or answers. Also exempts meetings of the
board's probable-cause panel. Creates a
public record exemption for records of
exempt meetings of the probable-cause
panel, stipulating that such records
become public 10 days after a
determination is made regarding probable
cause. Also creates public record
exemptions for information held pursuant
to a financial investigation until the
investigation is complete or no longer
active; an inspection until the inspection
is complete or no longer active; and
investigations of violations until the
investigation is complete or no longer
active or until 10 days after a
determination is made regarding probable
cause. Finally, creates a public record
exemption for records revealing trade

secrets held by the board. (Kreegel, R-
Punta Gorda)
HB 1591 Exemption/Voter
Registration Information: Creates a
public record exemptionfor the Social
Security number, driver's license number,
and Florida identification number of a
voter registration applicant or a voter.
Prohibits copying voter registration
applications and signatures. Stipulates
that the exemption applies retroactively.
(Brown, R-DeFuniak Springs)
HB 1695 Exemption/VoluntaryPre-K
Education Program: Createsapublic
record exemption for individual records of
children enrolled in the Voluntary Pre-
kindergarten Education Program held by
an early learning coalition, the Agency for
Workforce Innovation or a voluntary pre-
kindergarten education program provider.
Stipulates that such records include
assessment data, health data, records of
teacher observations and personal
identifying information of an enrolled child
and his or her parents. Stipulates that the
exemption is retroactive.
HB 1801 Exemption/Domestic
Security Oversight Council: Creates an
exemption for portions of meetings of the
Domestic Security Oversight Council at
which active criminal investigative or
intelligence information is heard or
discussed if the council chair announces
at a public meeting the need to discuss
such information and declares the
specific need to close the meeting in
writing. Stipulates that the entire closed
session must be recorded and no
portions may be off the record and limits
who may attend the closed session. Also
creates a public record exemption for
audio or video recordings and any
minutes or notes generated during closed
meetings, until the criminal investigation
is no longer active or the security system
plan is no longer in use.
CS/SB 1922 Exemption/Municipal
Ethics Commissions: Amends Section
112.324 of the Florida Statutes to create a
public record exemption for complaints
and records relating to the complaint and
any preliminary investigation held by a
municipal ethics commission. Also
exempts any proceedings conducted by
such commissions. Stipulates that
records and proceedings become public
once the complaint is dismissed, the
alleged violator requests the records and
proceedings be made public or until the
commission determines probable cause.
(Sebesta, R-St. Petersburg)

HB 1939 Exemption/Hurricane Loss
& Exposure Data: Creates a public record
exemption for "reports of hurricane loss
data and associated exposure data"
specific to a particular insurance company
reported to the Office of Insurance
Regulation or a state university for the
purpose of developing a hurricane loss
projection model. "Hurricane loss data
and associated exposure data" is defined
as the type, age, wind mitigation features,
and location of each property insured; the
amount and type of coverage written on
each of those properties; the amount,
date, and type of damage paid for by the
insurer on each property; and the amount
of any reserves held by an insurer for
future payments or expenses on damages
associated with the date(s) of occurrence
of hurricanes. Also creates an exemption
for trade secrets and for portions of
meetings at which trade secrets are
The following exemptions were
reviewed and reenacted during the 2005
session under the OGSR Act.
SB 288 Seaport Security Plans:
Reenacts, with technical modifications,
Section. 311.13 of the Florida Statutes, to
provide a public record exemption for
seaport security plans. Also exempts
photographs, maps, blueprints, and
similar material depicting critical seaport
operating facilities if the items contain
information that is not generally known
and that could jeopardize security
HB 169 Interference with Custody:
Provides an exemption for information
provided to a sheriff or state attorney by a
person who takes a child under certain
specified conditions. As amended, the
name of the person taking the child and
the current address and telephone number
of the person and child contained in
reports made to a sheriff or state attorney
is exempt from public disclosure. The
exemption must be reviewed and
reenacted in2006.
HB 1729 FloridaPrepaid College
Program: Reenacts an exemption for
records of the Florida Prepaid College
Savings Program. As amended, provides
a public record exemption for information
identifying the purchaser and the
beneficiary of any prepaid college
program plan or any college savings
CS/HB 1817 Certified Capital
Company Act: Reenacts public record
exemptions for certain specified
information relating to investigations or

reviews of certified capital companies by
the Financial Regulation Office. Repeals
the CAPCO Act as well as the public
record exemptions effective December 31,
HB 1861 School Readiness Records:
Reenacts the exemption for individual
records of children enrolled in school
readiness programs held by the early
learning coalition or the Agency for
Workforce Innovation.
HB 1921 Domestic Violence
Fatalities: Reenacts and expands current
exemptions for records of domestic
violence fatality review teams to stipulate
that any confidential or exempt
information obtained by a domestic
violence fatality review team retains is
confidential or exempt status, and create a
public record exemptionfor information
that would reveal the identity of a
domestic violence victim or the victim's
HB 1923 Telecommunications-
Proprietary Business Information:
Amends and reenacts an exemption for
proprietary confidential business
information obtained from a
telecommunications or franchised cable
company by a local government for the
purpose of imposing fees or assessing
services taxes, to stipulate that such
informationwillbe exempt from public
disclosure only if the information is
treated by the company as confidential;
would be reasonably likely to be used by
a competitor to harm the business
interests of the company; and is not
otherwise readily ascertainable or publicly
available "by proper means by other
persons from another source in the same
configuration as requested by the local
government entity."

The following bills were introduced
but not passed during the !,., ihl, ..C
session. Summaries of the bills are
available at http://www.leg.state.fl.us.
SB 58, HB 217, and HB 1435 -
Exemption/Home Addresses Medical
CS/HB 111 and SB 654 Expunction/
Arrest Records
CS/SB 284, CS/HB 481, and CS/SB
978 Unlawful Use/Personal Information
SB 306 Exemption/Accused Law
Enforcement Officers
SB 322 and HB 429 Outsourcing
CS/HB 365 and SB 2536 Sinkhole
Investigations Reports

The Brechner Report July 2005 5

Center builds strong foundation for access

Ten years ago this summer, I left the Brechner
Center for Freedom of Information, Ph.D. in
hand, a newly minted FOI warrior ready to
defend the homeland from secretive officials.
Little did I know how much I had learned, how
well I had been trained, or how important the little
FOI center on the third floor ofWeimer Hall had
become. With the myopia of a doctoral student, I
left UF determined to help as an FOI advocate in

C( It. /h. ,

any way that I could.
Forgive me the moment of nostalgia, but it couldn't be
helped. From my vantage point at the Missouri School of
Journalism's Freedom of Information Center, and as the
newly appointed executive director of the National
Freedom of Information Coalition, I have a good grasp of
the FOI landscape. Now,
The more than ever, the
B ack Page Brechner Center's role in
that landscape is apparent
By Charles Davis to all.
Few Brechner Report
readers could know how influential the Center is in the
intellectual life of access, of the dozens of doctoral
researchers and attorneys nationwide who have worked
in the Center and studied FOI law. The NFOIC -
essentially the umbrella group of state FOI groups is a
case in point.
The NFOIC, founded in 1992, supports First
Amendment and open government organizations from
individual states as they seek to protect public access to
information through the education of media professionals,
attorneys, academics and citizens. The NFOIC nurtures
start-up FOI organizations in the states and assists its
members state FOI groups through joint fundraising,
project planning and community outreach programs.
Go to an NFOIC meeting, and the Brechner Center's

influence on the FOI community is unmistakable.
Bill Chamberlin, the Brechner Center's founding
director, played a major role in the NFOIC's
creation. Professor Sandra Chance continues
that leadership today as an NFOIC member. In
Washington State, North Carolina, Pennsylvania
and other states, Brechner alumni serve on the
boards of state FOI groups.
Davis Now, in a move designed to strengthen grass
roots open government efforts nationwide, The
Missouri School of Journalism's Freedom of Information
Center is partnering with the National Freedom of
Information Coalition. It's a dream come true for this
Brechner alum, an opportunity to help launch FOI
organizations and strengthen existing coalitions. It's a
testament to the Brechner Center's importance
nationally, as it helped create the NFOIC and plays a
central role in its operation today.
The NFOIC works to initiate joint fundraising efforts
with state organizations; to develop FOI education
programs, projects and publications and to support the
state FOI groups in obtaining funding.
The NFOIC co-hosts an annual conference on state
FOI issues; serves as a resource to state coalitions and
citizens through an active web site (www.nfoic.org); and
operates a pass-through grant program to fund state FOI
coalition activity. The generous support of the James S.
and John L. Knight Foundation enables the NFOIC to
distribute some $84,000 annually to state FOI activities.
And it's safe to say that none of it would have
happened without the Brechner Center.

( 1., I, I Davis is the executive director of the National
Freedom of Information Coalition and an associate professor
at the Missouri School ofJournalism, where he teaches
controls of information and j,.gi, la.i. i, of cyberspace.

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