Brechner report
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090012/00142
 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: October 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: UF00090012:00142


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TALLAHASSEE The video depicting the death of 18-year-old Eric Perez, who died while in the custody of the Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center in West Palm Beach on July 10, will not be released, under a new law banning public access to photos, videos and audio recordings related to deaths. Perezs mother initially requested a copy of the video, intending to make it public, but later changed her mind, according to The Miami Herald Perez reportedly died after hours of screaming and vomiting. BRECHNERREPORTTHE Volume 35, Number 10 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 October 2011 1st Circuit protects right to BOSTON In an important decision for the First Amendment, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that individuals have a right to videotape occurring in public places. In Glik v. Cunniffe prosecutors brought charges against Simon Glik for using his cell phone to record the activities of three Boston police excessive force to arrest a young man on the Boston Common. The charges were later dismissed, but Glik sued the Boston Police Department for violating his constitutional rights. In its Aug. 26 opinion, the 1st of their duties in a public space is a basic, vital, and well-established liberty safeguarded by the First Amendment. Source: The New York Times The law, which took effect July 1, prohibits the release of photographs or audio and video recordings of a person being killed, except to family members of the deceased. While some commentators applaud the laws efforts to protect the privacy of survivors of the deceased, others have criticized it as placing too heavy a burden on the grieving family to make the decision whether to release any photographs or recordings of the deceased. Source: The Miami Herald, Scripps Treasure Coast TALLAHASSEE The email accounts of Gov. Rick Scott and as many as 50 a private company which provided email service. Scott ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate after Scott acknowledged in August that the emails, spanning the two-month period from his election to inauguration, were missing. Documents show, however, that Scott Texas company, Rackspace, that the records no longer existed. Although Scotts public records adviser, Chris Kise, describes the deletion of emails as an oversight, public records experts say that failure to maintain the records may constitute a Public Records Law violation. If they closed that account and destroyed those records, they are in violation, said Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation. FDLE, Gerald M. Bailey, is employed by the Scott administration. Source: St. Petersburg Times RECORDS ACCESS TALLAHASSEE The Florida Supreme Court has adopted new rules regarding information that can be kept in online court documents. The rules, which take effect Oct. 1, represent an effort by the Court to balance privacy of an individuals information in court records with the publics right to know. Among the requirements, the rules by their initials; only the year of the electronic access, which would include internet access, to court records will make contained in those records more readily accessible to the public, the Courts June 30 opinion states. In 2009, the Florida legislature mandated that the judiciary and clerk of the circuit courts provide the public with electronic access to court records by Jan. 1, 2012. Source: Scripps Treasure Coast persons birth can be included; no portion of any Social Security number, bank account, debit card or credit card can be entered unless allowed by another statute or exception; and only the last four digits of a phone number, drivers license number or passport may be included. The inclusion of unnecessary of special concern because providing PRIVACY


2 The Brechner Report October 2011 ACCESS RECORDS CONTINUED HARRISBURG, Pa. Pennsylvanias high court joins a majority of states that allow some type of video or audio recording of arguments to come before the court. Beginning in September, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Pennsylvania Cable Network to videotape oral arguments heard in its court, although the oral arguments can still not be broadcast live. Only 13 states, including Florida, allow live video coverage of arguments in front of its supreme court, according to a report by the National Center for State Courts. Source: The Associated Press C OLUMBIA, Mo. Citizens have a growing interest in government transparency and are increasingly becoming more assertive in their right to government information, a survey by the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) shows. The rise in citizen interest is perhaps in spite of or in response to a decline in news media attempts to enforce compliance with state and federal freedom lawsuits. One of the reasons for this shift could be that media organizations lack resources to keep up the newsroom aggressiveness, FORT MYERS Collier County Circuit Judge Frederick Hardt has ruled that cameras will remain in the courtroom in the trial of 15-year-old Alexander Crain, despite concerns of an adverse impact on Crains fair trial rights. Crain, who is being tried as an adult, has been charged with two counts of murder of his parents, Thomas and Kelly Crain. ST. PETERSBURG Pinellas County school superintendant Julie Janssen was ethics complaint alleging intentional violation of Floridas Public Records Law. The complaint alleges that Janssen and members of her staff ignored legal advice and deliberately withheld public records, but Janssen and her attorney say she did nothing wrong. The St. Petersburg Times originally made a public records request in July for reports relating to a civil rights case pending against the district. The Times made six more requests for the reports before they received an email containing a link to the requested information on Aug. 11. A meeting was to be held on the civil rights case the same day. One of the reports contained school district suspension data. was no intentional delay in producing the requested documents, an email sent by Janssen to her staff showed that she suggested we hold all these reports until the board receives it and then we present the data to plaintiffs and then the press. As far as I knowthe law doesnt mean that you drop everything and send it, Janssen told the Times. School board attorney Jim Robinson pushed for the release of the report. The (Supreme Court) held that any sort of delay, no matter how short, impermissibly interferes with the publics right to examine the records, Robinson wrote in an Aug.15 email to Janssen, her staff and the school board. When the requested records are ready they must be given to the requesting party even if that means they are given before a workshop or a meeting at which they are to be discussed or presented. alleges that the school board owes her Source: St. Petersburg Times according to a joint study by the NFOIC and Media Law Resource Center. If ordinary citizens are becoming more aware of their access rights, and more assertive regarding them, it is indeed Bunting, NFOIC executive director. Source: NFOIC Crains attorney, Brian Bieber, argued that the cameras should be banned to protect his clients right to a fair trial. Judge Hardt disagreed. There is a presumption that we will allow the electronic media in courtrooms to let the public know what is happening in our courts and so that the public will Judge Hardt said. Source: The News-Press WASHINGTON The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a report providing guidance on employers social media policies. The report details the boards investigations into 14 unfair labor practice disputes involving employee use of social media. The cases were reviewed upon request for advice from regional directors. In some cases, the board agreed gratuitous griping about the boss. In others, the board found that the employee had a right to speak out about workplace conditions. The NLRB has received 129 cases involving social media in the year, according to a study released this month by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Source: NLRB.com, The Tampa Tribune COURTS


FREEDOM OF INFORMATION 3 The Brechner Report October 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 Kara Carnley Murrhee, Editor Christina M. Locke, Assistant Editor Emily Miller, Production Assistant 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. WASHINGTON The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, along with 21 other news brief in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting the contention that records related to a secret admission process at the University of Illinois should not be considered records. The case, C hicago Tribune v. University of Illinois Board of Trustees began in 2009, when the Tribune released a series uncovering a secret practice at the university granting preferential admission to other ties. The university is arguing that the records are protected from disclosure under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects student records and prohibits the sharing of grade point averages and test scores, even if the student isnt named. Source: RCFP.com JACKSONVILLE The Jacksonville scanners from local media and outside law enforcement agencies, citing budget cuts and public safety. Since 2005, media organizations, such as The Florida Times Union have leased its police scanners, which cost about a month. The media say the scanners are communicates over encrypted frequencies that can only be accessed with the scanners. scanners are needed for staff at a new courthouse. Without the scanners, Jacksonville media will have to rely on tips and police-issued news releases. policy change was for budgetary reasons really doesnt wash, since we pay for use of the scanners now and are willing to pay their full cost, Florida Times-Union Editor Frank M. Denton said. email and text alert messaging system will be improved for quicker reports. Reports are currently sent out about an hour after the initial call. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is also going to an encrypted system in order to comply with privacy laws, department spokesman Tom Francis said. Francis said rescue workers need to know they arent broadcasting private medical information while communicating with hospitals. Source: The Florida Times-Union CLEARWATER Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch has unfriended several of his colleagues on Facebook, citing legal concerns involving state Public Records and Open Meetings laws. Welch said he made the decision to unfriend several other commissioners after County Attorney Jim Bennett warned against using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate about public policy. State guidelines issued last year recommend that governments and communications posted on such sites if they pertain to public business, as laws regulating open government often cannot keep pace with technology. Source: St. Petersburg Times LAKE WALES Lake Wales Housing charged with violating the states Sunshine Law when he and two other board members walked outside during a housing authority meeting. Young, 81, has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. The board was discussing an update on parking lot repairs when Young invited board members outside to look at cracks in the asphalt allegedly caused by that Young created a separate meeting advance and that he did not take notes during the meeting. Young argues that the States actions constitute selective enforcement because neither of the other two board members present were charged and that even if the outside gathering was a separate meeting, it was not subject to the Sunshine Law since there was no discussion and no action taken. This is the second time Young has been charged with violating the Sunshine Law, which requires reasonable public notice meet and that the meeting be open to the public Source: The Ledger (Lakeland)


Eric P. Robinson Order or the intrigue of a John Grisham novel. But the video of a July 21 hearing on the plaintiffs request for a preliminary injunction in Gauck v. Karamian Civil No. an important milestone. The video, which is available in segments online at http://www.uscourts.gov/multimedia/cameras/player. in the federal courts new pilot program of cameras in selected courtrooms. It has been joined by video recordings of two other proceedings: jury selection and the trial in a contract dispute, Parma Community General Hospital v. Premier Anesthesia of Parma Civil No. 09-00325 2009); and personal injury trial, Morton v. Fort Madison Community Hospital Civil No. 09-00179 (S.D. Iowa posted online as part of a program approved by the U.S. Judicial Conference last year which allows court-operated cameras to cover civil proceedings in 14 federal trial courts, including the Middle District of Alabama and the Southern District of Florida. This experimental program is just the latest chapter in the long saga on the question of camera coverage of federal trial courts, with camera coverage of their proceedings. From 1991 to 1994, limited camera coverage of civil trials was tested in eight federal district courts, which led to a recommendation that federal courts allow televised proceedings. But the Judicial Conference which sets policies for all federal courts except the U.S. Supreme Court, which sets its own rules rejected this recommendation, concluding in 1994 that the intimidating effect of cameras on some witnesses and jurors was a cause for serious concern. The Judicial Conference then relented a bit, deciding in March 1996 to allow each federal Circuit to decide the issue for itself and the district courts in its geographic area, while strongly urging the Circuits to follow the Conferences 1994 policy. But the question of cameras in federal courts remains a contentious one, as shown by the recent controversies over the proposed video webcasting of a music downloading trial in a Massachusetts federal court, see In re Sony BMG Music Entertainment 564 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2009) (reversing trial court order allowing webcast), cert. denied, Tenenbaum v. Sony BMG Music Entertainment 130 S.Ct. 126, 175 L.Ed.2d 234 (2009), and the planned live broadcast and streaming of a trial challenging the constitutionality of Californias anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. See Hollingworth v. Perry 130 S. Ct. 705, 175 L.Ed.2d 657 (2010). new cameras experiment showcased some of the dilemmas that can arise with cameras in court proceedings. The case, Gauck v. Karamian was brought by Memphis, Tenn. television reporter Lauren Lee Gauck Giovannetti who uses the name Lauren against the owner of the TheDirty.com website, which she alleged published sexually explicit photos which the site falsely claimed were of her. The parties in the case had already agreed that the explicit photographs at issue in the case would be kept under seal. Thus, Chief Judge Jon Phipps McCalla, presiding over the case, announced at the start of the proceeding that By consenting to a video recording...neither party is agreeing or consenting to the public disclosure of material as to which they have previously asserted a privacy right or other claim...[The photos] will remain under seal and obviously since theyre under seal theyre not going to be displayed [on camera]. The current federal cameras experiment will continue for up to three years, with the Federal Judicial Center producing interim the program at its conclusion. courts being open to regular camera coverage, or if it will be just another short period of openness before cameras are once again left outside the courtroom doors. Eric P. Robinson is the deputy director of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Courts and Media, in Reno, Nev. January 2007 October 2011 By Eric P. Robinson