Law & Order

The suspect arrested for the January shootings inside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had been held just months earlier on a mental health evaluation in Alaska.

While Governor Rick Scott has said he supports making it harder for mentally ill people to have guns, no such proposal is on the agenda for the coming legislative session.

Michael Auslen in the Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau spoke with WLRN's Gina Jordan about the latest calls for action dealing with mentally ill people and guns. Listen to the interview here: 

A bill aimed at decreasing the number of juveniles charged as adults is still alive in the Florida Senate, after narrowly passing its first committee Monday.

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) wants a more permanent death penalty fix.  But his committee has little interest in revisiting such a contentious issue.

Lawmakers Back Unanimous Juries In Death Cases

Feb 7, 2017

Florida juries would have to unanimously agree that defendants should be condemned to death for the sentence to be imposed, under a proposal given swift and overwhelming approval at its first Senate committee Monday.

Will a Stand Your Ground-related bill starting to move through the legislature have a disproportionate impact on minorities? While opponents of the bill appear to think so, supporters insist the bill is “color blind.”

A new bill under consideration by the Florida Legislature would make it easier for defendants to use the "Stand Your Ground" defense when faced with use of force charges. 

For years, Florida laws have  had provisions for self-defense immunity, protecting people who use force in self-defense from being prosecuted. There are certain restrictions on where and when you are justified in using various kind of force in self-defense.

Legislation by a St. Augustine lawmaker targeting illegal immigrants convicted of certain crimes in Florida barely made it out of a senate committee Tuesday.

Wife Of Pulse Gunman Arrested In California

Jan 16, 2017
Catherine Welch / WMFE

Authorities have arrested the wife of the gunman in the Pulse nightclub shooting. Noor Salman was arrested in California.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement that the FBI took Salman into custody on charges of Aiding and Abetting by providing material support to a terrorist organization and Obstruction of Justice.

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Police are urging anyone with information on the suspect Markeith Loyd to call 1-800-423-TIPS. Do not approach the suspect, authorities say he is armed and dangerous. 

Police have named a suspect in the shooting of an Orlando Police Department officer Monday. Orlando Police say the officer has died, and a Sheriff’s Deputy was killed in a traffic accident during the manhunt.

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday moved to intervene in a nearly year-old lawsuit against the Florida Department of Corrections, alleging that the state's prison agency "systematically violates the rights of inmates with disabilities."

Last year’s Orlando attack—the worst mass shooting in modern American history—is prompting Governor Rick Scott to put millions of dollars in his proposed budget toward counterterrorism and intelligence efforts in Florida. Law enforcement agencies around the state are praising Scott’s decision.

Bill Proposes Unanimous Juries In Death Penalty Cases

Jan 9, 2017

After the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a new death-penalty law was unconstitutional, the chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice committee Friday proposed requiring unanimous jury recommendations before defendants could be sentenced to death.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

While investigators try to figure out the motive of an Iraq war veteran accused of killing five travelers and wounding six others at a busy international airport in Fort Lauderdale, the suspected gunman was charged and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Esteban Santiago, 26, was charged with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death — which carries a maximum punishment of execution — and weapons charges.

Madeline Fox / WLRN

Dan and Janice Kovacs and their two children were passing through airport security when the gunfire erupted. They were shoeless — with wallets, passports and carry-on items chugging along a conveyer belt — when they sprang into the mass of people running to safety.

Now they're among stranded travelers at Fort Lauderdale trying to recover what the airport director says are 25,000 pieces of luggage, cellphones and other belongings separated from their owners during Friday's shooting rampage.

Updated at 5:52 p.m.

One day after five people were killed at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., more details are coming to light on the suspected gunman: Esteban Ruiz Santiago, a U.S. military veteran.

The 26-year-old was arrested by police shortly after the shooting began at the airport's baggage claim area. He is now at a Broward County jail, where authorities say he is being held on suspicion of murder. Authorities say there is no indication that Santiago worked with anyone else in planning or executing the attack.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport re-opened early Saturday, 16 hours after a gunman opened fire in a baggage claim area. Long lines were the common denominator while an estimate of 6,000 passengers tried to find a way to make it to their final destinations.

An analysis by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune has found that black defendants in Florida spend a longer time behind bars than white defendants for the same types of crimes.

Courtesy of Lenny Pozner

Lenny Pozner and his family moved from Connecticut to Florida after his 6 year-old son Noah was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting.  Pozner had hoped for some peace, but that's far from what he got.

Since his son died, Pozner says he's been constantly harassed by people who believe the shooting never happened. “Hoaxers,” he calls them.

A Senate effort to expand Florida’s hate crime law to include law enforcement could be called the “Blue Lives Matter Act.” But, while the Florida Sheriffs supports the intent, they’re not so happy about the name.

What’s on tap for Florida’s Juvenile Justice system in 2017? Officials have comprised their legislative wish list, aimed at helping both juveniles and the staff who cares for them.

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