Law & Order

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It's happening again, and may happen more and more.  A death sentence has been overturned in Florida, because the sentence was imposed under a state law that is now unconstitutional. 

The Hamptons condo and apartment complex in Tampa is quintessential Florida. Lush and modern, the stucco homes are painted in a soft rainbow of pastels. All around are palm trees, Spanish moss and lily pads.

"It is a very quiet place. You have a lot of children that live here. A lot of professionals live here, retirees," said resident Michael Colon, 66.

But on May 19, that tranquility was shattered in an improbable case that involves four young roommates at the complex.

Two of the men are dead and the other two are in jail.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Tampa is in the market for a new police chief as of Thursday, after Eric Ward submitted his resignation.  The city will now start a nationwide search for a successor.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has scheduled the state's first execution in more than 18 months.

Executions have been on hold in Florida since the U.S. Supreme Court deemed parts of the state's sentencing procedure unconstitutional in January 2016.

That same month, Scott first signed a death warrant for Mark Asay, as member station WFSU reported. Now, "in a letter to the prison warden, Scott is setting Thursday, August 24 for Mark Asay's execution."

The Florida lawmaker who authored this year’s changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law says the legislature does have the right to update the law. It’s in response to a judge’s ruling Monday declaring the revised version unconstitutional.

A new law takes effect Saturday that would allow a state law enforcement agency to better conduct investigations into the treatment of Florida prison inmates.

Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law that’s meant to be an update to the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. The aim is to help exonerees have an easier time receiving compensation for a wrongful conviction. It’s because over the past decade, few have been compensated due to a provision that blocks those with a prior felony record.

Group Of Lawyers Backing Challenge To Anti-Hazing Law

Jun 26, 2017

A statewide organization of criminal defense attorneys wants to support a former Florida A&M University band member in his challenge to the constitutionality of a state anti-hazing law.

Scott Signs ‘Stand Your Ground’ Change

Jun 12, 2017

A measure changing the state's controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law was among 16 bills that Gov. Rick Scott signed into law late Friday.

Governor Rick Scott recently signed a bill into law requiring autism awareness training for Florida’s law enforcement officers. But, some may not see the merits of the new law—that gained traction after a high profile incident last year.

Renata Sago

A disgruntled former employee opened fire Monday inside a Florida awning manufacturer, killing five workers before killing himself, authorities said.

Attorney General Pam Bondi and the head of Florida’s Juvenile Justice system are just some of the speakers at this year’s annual conference focusing on preventing crime in the black community.

The U.S. Supreme court’s silence on Florida’s appeal settles it:  capital cases in the state require unanimous jury sentences.  But many are dubious about how state courts are applying the standard to previously settled cases and state officials remain uncertain of how far the changes reach.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee has announced he plans to retire at the end of September.

In a letter to employees Friday, Gee called it one of the most difficult decisions of his career. He also thanked them for their service and said he's retiring to devote his time to his family.

Open government advocates are urging Governor Rick Scott to veto a measure that would seal nearly three million criminal records from public view.

The bill started as a non-controversial proposal to crack down on internet publishers of police booking photos. But Sarasota Republican Greg Steube quietly added an amendment on the Senate Floor.

“This amendment addresses the concerns from FDLE and would enable the department to administratively seal the criminal record of a person found not guilty or where the charges against that person have been dismissed.”

Governor Rick Scott has signed a body-camera related bill into law. But, while it has the support of Florida law enforcement groups, others continue to have reservations.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

5/11 12:15 a.m. UPDATE: Updated at end with details of meeting between Coach Charlie Strong and Hillsborough Co. judge Margaret Taylor

A former University of South Florida football player who was arrested for an on-campus sexual battery last week is back in jail after being arrested for another alleged assault this past March.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says LaDarrius Jackson, 22, sexually battered a woman he knew in the bathroom of her Hillsborough County home March 27.

A bill seeking to make it easier for more people wrongfully convicted of a crime to receive compensation is now heading to Governor Rick Scott for approval. It would make changes to a Florida law that currently denies compensation for those with a prior felony record.

The Florida Senate is considering more juvenile justice legislation. It’s looking at measures classifying certain kids as prolific offenders and changing sentencing for juveniles who commit felonies.

According to official records, more than 1,000 people in South Florida overdosed last year on opioids including heroin and carfentanil -- a drug so potent it’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.

The growing threat of the opioids epidemic is mobilizing law enforcement and community leaders to form new partnerships and collaborate in events such as last week's discussion hosted by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). 

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