Law & Order

Law & Order
3:57 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

DOJ To Investigate Florida Prison System

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:30 pm

Hundreds of inmate deaths with questionable circumstances have sparked a potential federal investigation into the state's corrections system.

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified state authorities it will look into potential abuses of inmates after 320 people died behind bars in Florida this year - the highest number of inmate deaths on record.

At the same time, there's been a doubling of incidents involving the use of force by corrections officers.

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Law & Order
3:45 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Study: Just 20 Percent Of Female Campus Sexual Assault Victims Go To Police

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 5:52 pm

Young women who are sexually assaulted are vastly unlikely to report those crimes to police, according to a newly released Justice Department report.

Even more striking, women ages 18 to 24 who are in college or trade school are less likely to report such incidents than those who aren't in school, despite the increasing number of sexual assault advocates and counselors on campus in recent years.

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Law & Order
7:23 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Thrasher On Revived Bill Allowing Guns On Campus: 'My Position Hasn't Changed'

Dr. Robert Cowie, Feb. 22, 2011, speaking to lawmakers against SB 234. His daughter, an FSU student, was killed at a frat house just weeks before. Cowie's testimony along with then-Sen. Thrasher helped defeat the bill.

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:26 pm

Florida State University President John Thrasher says his position has not changed since the recent filing of a bill allowing people to open carry on public college and university campuses. It’s the same bill Thrasher helped defeat in 2011 when he was a state senator.

In 2011, the testimony of Dr. Robert Cowie, a friend of Thrasher, also helped derail the bill. Just weeks before, Cowie’s daughter, FSU Student Ashley, had been accidentally shot by a rifle and killed at a frat house.

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Law & Order
3:25 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Some 'Very Pleased' By Gov. Scott's 4th Permanent Prison Chief Pick, Julie Jones

Former Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Julie Jones speaking about a proposed license plate redesign, Oct. 9, 2012.

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 2:41 pm

Governor Rick Scott has chosen a new permanent leader for the Florida Department of Corrections. And, some are calling Scott’s fourth pick for prison chief “a good fit.”

On Wednesday, Scott announced Julie Jones, the former head of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, will lead the state’s troubled prison system.

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Law & Order
12:33 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Report: State Juvenile Detention Exceeds $55,000 Per Youth Annually

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 10:21 am

The long-term cost of incarcerating the nation's youth is $8 to $21 billion, according to a report out Tuesday. The Justice Policy Institute’s “Sticker Shock” report says Florida’s base cost is $55,000 dollars per juvenile per year.

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Law & Order
2:19 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

Police Brutality Protests Spread to Tampa, Miami

Protestors gathered in downtown Tampa Friday night.
Credit Bay News 9

Protests against police brutality that have spread across the country reached Florida Friday night with events taking place in Tampa and Miami.

While demonstrators shut down I-195 in Miami, Tampa's protest disrupted the city's holiday tree lighting ceremony.

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Law & Order
1:27 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

Should Fla. Lawmakers Or High Court Have Power To Change Stand Your Ground Law?

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 8:26 am

Should the Florida Supreme Court or the state Legislature have the power to shift the burden of proof to a defendant or the state prosecutor in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was recently before the high court as well as the Legislature earlier this year. So, could that come back into play again next legislative session?

The Case Before The Court

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Law & Order
10:28 am
Sat December 6, 2014

#ShutItDown Protest Of Police Killings Blocks Art Basel Traffic

At the closing of the protest, a line of people stood holding a sign saying "black lives matter."

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:55 am

Protests in Miami and Fort Lauderdale shared the spotlight with Art Basel this weekend.

During Friday rush hour, around 400 people gathered in Midtown Miami, eventually moving to completely block Interstate-195.

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Law & Order
11:46 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Florida Lawmaker Files Police Body Cameras Bill, Says 'It's Not Anti-Police'

Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park)

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 7:10 pm

A Florida lawmaker has filed a bill requiring law enforcement officers to wear body cameras while out on patrol.

It’s not a coincidence Rep. Shevrin Jones’ (D-West Park) bill was filed after the nationwide debate began over police officers’ use of force, sparked by the fatal incidents in New York and Missouri.

“I know there’s a lot going on as it pertains to Eric Garner, I know the Ferguson situation is going on, a lot is going on, but those incidents’ were not the entire impetus behind the filing of the bill,” said Jones.

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Law & Order
10:15 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Florida Supremes Hear Back-To-Back Tobacco Cases

Rockenbach represents the Ciccone family who are arguing for inclusion in the class of smokers from an earlier ruling.

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:09 pm

The tobacco company R.J. Reynolds came before the Florida Supreme Court Thursday in two back-to-back liability cases.  Even though the cases raise different questions, they both spring from a class action suit begun in mid-nineties.

The two tobacco cases stem from the so-called Engle case.   Engle started as a class action lawsuit, and the courts eventually did rule against the tobacco companies. But to award damages, the state Supreme Court decided to split the class up, leading to thousands of individual cases like the two heard Thursday. 

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Law & Order
5:46 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Appeals Court: Welfare Drug Tests Unconstitutional

Credit AP

 Less than two weeks after hearing arguments in the case, a federal appeals court Wednesday again rejected a Florida law pushed by Gov. Rick Scott requiring welfare applicants to submit to drug tests before they can receive benefits.

The 2011 law "offends the Fourth Amendment" protections from unreasonable searches by the government, a three-judge panel ruled in a 54-page opinion authored by Judge Stanley Marcus.

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Law & Order
3:53 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

FSU's Winston, Accuser Testify In Code Of Conduct Hearing

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 3:40 pm

Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston's student code of conduct hearing began on campus Tuesday. He and the former FSU student who accused him of sexual assault each presented their side of the case to a hearing officer.

The hearing comes a year after State Attorney Willie Meggs declined to press charges against Winston for a 2012 sexual assault allegation. A probe by the Tallahassee Police Department languished for months.

The Heisman trophy winner walked into the hearing with his attorney but did not answer any questions.

 

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Law & Order
11:59 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Florida Prison Reform 2015: Creating 'Stability And Consistency' Within FDOC

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:26 am

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

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Law & Order
7:22 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Family Finally Able to Bury Brother Who Died at Dozier (video)

An undated family photo of Thomas Varnadoe sits near an urn holding his remains.
Mark Schreiner WUSF 89.7 News

"They brought him here today to be with his brother."

Those were the words of Richard Varnadoe, 86, who was at last able to put his brother Thomas in his final resting place alongside a third sibling, Hubert, at a service at Hopewell Memorial Gardens in Plant City last week.

Hubert Varnadoe's son, Gene, told a small crowd of family and friends, including University of South Florida anthropologists, that it was fitting to place Thomas alongside Hubert for eternity.

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Law & Order
10:24 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Ferguson Businesses Destroyed After Overnight Protests

Chaos returned to the streets of Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the death of Michael Brown — a decision that enraged protesters who set fire to buildings and cars and looted businesses in the area where the unarmed, black 18-year-old was fatally shot
Credit AP Photo

Smoke billowed from burned-out buildings and sidewalks were strewn with broken glass Tuesday morning after Ferguson erupted over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the killing of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.

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