Brechner report
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090012/00140
 Material Information
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: August 2011
Genre: serial   ( sobekcm )
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UF00090012:00140


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BRECHNERREPORTTHE Volume 35, Number 8 A monthly report of mass media law in Florida Published by The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida August 2011 HAINES CITY A judge dismissed an Open Meetings suit against the Haines City Commission, paving the way for the former city manager to receive her severance payment. owners, stemmed from meetings in April where the Commission voted to give departing city manager Ann Toney-Deal severance pay of approximately $312,430. Plaintiffs John Webb and Warren McKnight alleged that the Commission violated the Open Meetings Law by not placing the severance issue on a meeting agenda and by giving unreasonable three hoursnotice. Webb and McKnight also contended the Commission violated the law by not allowing public comment. Circuit Judge Michael Raiden the Open Meetings Law didnt require the Commission to only act on matters placed on the agenda and that the public had no right to speak at the meeting. Raiden ruled that because the plaintiffs had actual notice of the meetings, they couldnt sue over whether three hours notice was Email leads to Sunshine case ACCESS MEETINGS reasonable. [T]his order absolutely must not be read as approving a city policy that three in his ruling. It is not a green light to the city to continue this Raiden also called the three-hour notice a disaster Haines City requested legal fees from Webb and McKnight, but Raiden did not rule on that issue. Source: The Ledger (Lakeland) Judge throws out Sunshine suit but blasts policy FLORIDA KEYS A member of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District has pleaded guilty to a non-criminal violation of the Open Meetings Law. Joan Lord-Papy, a costs. The charge stems from an email response to an email from a fellow was related to interview dates for district director applicants. That email, sent by Commissioner Jack Bridges, included a warning that other commissioners should not reply to avoid violating the Open Meetings Law. Lord-Papy replied, upset that she was left out of the hiring process while out of the country. I also want to be on the record as opposing this cavalier and shoddy approach to hiring an she wrote. Source: The Florida Keys Keynoter High Springs found in violation HIGH SPRINGS A circuit judge ruled in favor of a citizen who sued the city of High Springs after she alleged they took too long to hand over a job applicants polygraph results. Judge Victor Hulslander ruled that the city unlawfully withheld the polygraph results of a Floridas Public Records Law has no set time within which agencies must respond to requests, but the with a public records request amounts to A failure to respond timely to a public records request due to oversight by the Robyn Rush requested polygraph results at the High Springs Police Department discrimination lawsuit against the Sarasota agency. A routine pre-employment polygraph was conducted on April 15, 2010, and High Springs resident Robyn Rush requested the results on April 18. She received one page of the three-page the other two pages on May 18. Hulslander ruled that the city was answers from the polygraph report. Source: Alachua County Today ACCESS RECORDS Doctors challenge gun gag law MIAMI An anti-gun violence group and 11,000 doctors have teamed up to prohibits physicians from with patients. The doctors, along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, are asking a federal judge to issue an injunction to prevent enforcement of the law and declare it unconstitutional. They say it violates their First Amendment free speech rights and could harm patients. Supporters of the law contend that it protects patient privacy and the Second Amendment right to carry a gun. The law took effect June 2. Source: Associated Press FIRST AMENDMENT


ATLANTA A federal judge has the family of a woman whose nude photos were published in Hustler magazine after her death. U.S. District Judge Thomas citing Georgia law that caps punitive damages. The family of Nancy Benoit sued the 2 The Brechner Report August 2011 ACCESS RECORDS CONTINUED Brothers use courts to advocate for open records Ethics Commission tackles texting transparency ZEPHYRHILLS Brothers Joel and records lawsuits in recent years, pitting them against medical examiners, police departments and other government agencies in Florida. Most recently, Robert Chandler sued Zephyrhills over a book the city produced, challenging the cost of the book and taking issue with sales tax being charged. City council members agreed to lower the cost of the bookwhich cost $18 to produce but was being sold for $32and stop charging sales tax. The city will also pay $4,000 for Robert Chandlers legal fees. I would like to see Zephyrhills become a role model for public meetings said. in suing the Polk County School Board for information about dependents receiving health care through the school district. Since then, he has continued to make public records requests to various agencies and litigate issues if he feels he is unlawfully denied. His brother Robert joined the cause in 2010 after being told a CD of licensing information for brothers protested the policy and eventually received the information. The commission has since changed its policy and provides the CD free of charge to requesters. Source: Tampa Tribune Hustler faces $375K penalty for publishing photos ATLANTA The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11 th Circuit has rejected a Florida womans claim that her privacy was invaded after she appeared on an Arlene Spilfogel sued the shows producers as well as Fox and TBS after she was recorded on a public street running stop signs and driving without a tag or working headlights. Spilfogel sued JACKSONVILLE The Ethics Commission for the City of Jacksonville has decided to consider developing a policy on text messaging in hopes of preserving government transparency. Its an effort to keep up with technology and maintain transparency for Miller said. Miller noted that text messages can be problematic if they are also public records. City Council members all have their own private providers, and if they dont contact those providers to request to have those messages saved, then they are normally erased from the providers After that, the only record would be on the cell phone itself, but that depends on whether or not the user deletes the In addition to public records concerns, council members were concerned about texting during meetings. Miller suggested that texting be banned during meetings or the messages be recorded and available to the public. Council member Bill Bishop cautioned against a ban on texting in Council chambers. If you follow that logic then maybe there ought to be a rule prohibiting conversations during Council meetings, of The legislative subcommittee of the Ethics Commission will research the texting issue. Source: Jacksonville Daily Record magazine but lost when a federal trial judge ruled that the magazine had a right to publish the photos because Benoits death was a matter of public interest. Benoits husband, Chris Benoit, was a professional wrestler who killed her and their young son before committing suicide The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal court rejects privacy claims against COPS for the torts of public disclosure of private facts and intrusion upon seclusion, both common law causes of action in Florida. Spilfogel described the facts disclosed about her as eccentric reactions and facts included: that she was upset with her daughter, that she keeps her cell phone in a plastic bag in her purse and uses the phone with the bag on it, and that she had a trunk full of items that she wanted 11 th Circuit reversed that decision, ruling that the notoriety of the death didnt give publishers free reign to publish images. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Hustler s appeal. The familys attorney said he will likely ask the judge to reinstate the original award. Source: Associated Press to give to hurricane victims but these The 11 th courts dismissal of Spilfogels suit, noting that the facts disclosed were unlikely to be considered by a juror to be private and offensive. The intrusion claim was dismissed because the events in question occurred on a public street. Source: Spilfogel v. Fox (11 th Cir., unpublished) PRIVACY


High Court: Free speech not implicated by legislative votes Scott prevails in challenge to FIRST AMENDMENT 3 The Brechner Report August 2011 Brechner Center for Freedom of Information 3208 Weimer Hall, P.O. Box 118400 College of Journalism and Communications University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-8400 http://www.brechner.org Sandra F. Chance, J.D., Exec. Director/Exec. Editor Christina M. Locke, J.D., Editor Alana Kolifrath, Production Coordinator The Brechner Report is published 12 times a year under the auspices of the University of Florida Foundation. The Brechner Report is a joint effort of The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, the Florida Press Association, the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and the Joseph L. Brechner Endowment. Former prosecutor settles free speech lawsuit against boss TALLAHASSEE A federal judge has struck down a Florida law that provided matching tax dollars to opponents of candidates who contributed in excess of the statutory threshold. For Gov. Rick Scott, that limit was $24.9 million in the Republican primary against Bill McCollum. Scott sued, arguing that the cap violated his First Amendment rights. For every dollar Scott spent over the limit, McCollum would have received a $1 match from taxpayers. The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle was handed down shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar Arizona law on free speech grounds. The Court held that the law burdened political speech without a compelling government interest. During his 2010 bid for governor, Scott funds. Gov. Scott views this as another big victory for taxpayers, who will no longer be forced by politicians to foot the bill spokesman Brian Burgess said. Source: The Miami Herald JACKSONVILLE A former prosecutor has settled her First Amendment lawsuit against her former boss, Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney KrisAnne Hall sued Jarvis last year, speaking at Tea Party and Republican events. Jarvis contended that Halls After court-ordered mediation in July, Hall and Jarvis agreed to settle. The pair issued a mutual statement and Jarvis agreed to pay a portion of Halls attorneys fees. Hall will not be resuming her position at the State In the statement, Hall wrote that she her constitutional right to speak out on issues of public concern. Jarvis wrote the authority to ask Hall to limit speech to preserve the integrity of the State Hall agreed to dismiss her case in Jacksonville federal court. Source: Gainesville Sun WASHINGTON The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state ethics of interests do not violate the First Amendment. The case, Nevada Commission on Ethics v. Carrigan stemmed from a Nevada city council members reprimand after voting on a casino project that was developed in part by his campaign manager. Michael Carrigan fought the sanctions by the state ethics panel, claiming the ethics law violated his speech rights. The Nevada Supreme Court struck down the law as overbroad and a violation of legislators speech rights. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled that ethics rules like Nevadas were common for hundreds of years and did not infringe on free speech. Voting is not a symbolic action as is, for example, the burning of while reading parts of the opinion he authored for the Court. [The public as a political representative engaged in the legislative process. Acting in that capacity, his vote is not his own speech but a mechanical function of Source: USA Today Judge delays release of juror names ORLANDO The judge who presided over the murder trial of Casey Anthony will keep the names of jurors under wraps until at least Oct.25, citing safety and privacy concerns. Anthony, 24, was found not guilty of the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. At a hearing two days after the verdict was rendered, attorneys for the media, including the Associated Press, Orlando Sentinel, St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune challenged Judge Belvin Perry Jr.s decision to keep the names secret It is no big secret that some people said. Some people would like to take Attorneys for the media urged the judge to release the names, citing increased public understanding and the importance of an open system. If you have an anonymous verdict, its attorney Rachel Fugate said. Anthony was found guilty of four misdemeanor charges of giving false Source: St. Petersburg Times


sources and key design concepts of weapons of mass Unfortunately, agencies do not currently honor these the intent of their creators. Forcing agencies to adhere than requiring a line-by-line review by a declassifying information, reduce the burden on the limited resource of security reviewers, and ensure that citizens are easily afforded access to This system is based on the belief that any agency can claim This means that documents are often referred and re-reviewed by multiple agencies. This daisy chain of referrals can often result in decades-long delay. Re-review of the same document secrets, they merely impede the publics access to information. Therefore, the National Security Archive proposed an Center in which reviewers can review documents a single time and avoid having to send documents to a plethora of agencies for and reforming the equity system to eliminate redundant and ensure that President Obamas vision of transparent and accessible government becomes reality. The By Nate Jones Back Page Nate Jones is FOIA Coordinator at the National Security Archive. January 2007 August 2011 Nate Jones President Obama has made substantial progress on improving how federal agencies implement the Freedom of Information Act. But for his administration respect to FOIA, Obama must fundamentally transform opportunity. He should seize it to mandate that agencies President Obama deserves credit for forcing more than half of federal agencies to improve their FOIA practices. But these incremental improvements are not enough to truly provide citizens the ability to know how their government is operating. Obamas FOIA reforms, certainly a positive step, have not tackled the root causes of glacial FOIA response times the failure of agencies to adhere to their and the wasteful and unnecessary issues and ensure that Americans have access to records in the In December 2009, President Obama instructed the Public President and Congress, to design a fundamental transformation In May, the National Security Archive presented two practical and feasible solutions to improve the FOIA process eliminate the redundancies in the equity system. automatically declassify documents, is already explained in the