The Reporters Committee and 30 news media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of the Sun Sentinel and two of its reporters after the School Board of Broward County filed a petition to initiate contempt proceedings against them for publishing an article containing information from a report that the school board had released to the public. The report detailed the school system’s interactions with student Nikolas Cruz, who killed 17 people in a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. A court’s order permitted the school board to redact the report before it was released to the public, but the version of the report that the school board uploaded to its public website, allowed any member of the public to access the full report. The amicus brief argues that the First Amendment prohibits the Sun Sentinel and its reporters from being held in contempt for publishing information that they obtained legally and that the school board released in a format that allowed anyone to access the portions intended to be redacted.
Update: The School Board’s petition to invoke contempt proceedings against the Sun-Sentinel and its reporters was dismissed on May 13, 2019. This decision comes nine months after Judge Scherer of the Broward Circuit Court held a hearing on the contempt petition in August of 2018.