Florida v. Cruz (Sun Sentinel Contempt Proceeding)

August 14, 2018

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.

Letter to Florida legislature regarding FOIA fee shifting legislation

January 28, 2016

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 24 news organizations urged Florida lawmakers to reject two bills that propose the elimination of mandatory fee-shifting for public records requestors who are successful in cases where records are "unlawfully" withheld.


James B. Lake
Deanna K. Shullman
Thomas & LoCicero PL
601 South Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33606
Tel: 813-984-3060
Fax: 813-984-3070

Bill enhancing Florida's anti-SLAPP law heads to governor for approval

Kimberly Chow | Libel | News | April 29, 2015
April 29, 2015

A Florida bill that would revise the state’s narrow anti-SLAPP law to provide a greater level of protection for speakers against meritless lawsuits has passed both houses of the legislature and now awaits Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

Florida’s anti-SLAPP law, Fla. Stat. § 768.295, currently only provides for the speedy dismissal of SLAPP suits when such frivolous suits are filed by government entities. In practice, "strategic lawsuits against public participation," or SLAPPs, are filed by a wide range of plaintiffs, with far more deleterious effects on speakers than just those suits brought by the government.

Florida Supreme Court rules to close out public, media in redistricting case hearings

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Secret Courts | News | May 28, 2014
May 28, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to allow third-party records and email to be admitted as evidence in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a congressional redistricting plan, but also held that the materials must be under seal and the courtroom closed when attorneys discuss the materials.

This ruling overturns an appellate court's decision not to let in the records of political consultant Pat Bainter and his consulting firm, Data Targeting, Inc., which Bainter argued contained trade secrets. The League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other democratic voters had wanted to use the documents as evidence in their challenge to the redistricting plan, which they say was created in an illegal manner and unfairly favors Republicans.

Florida court rejects 30-day delay on release of trial records

Emily Grannis | Secret Courts | News | December 19, 2013
December 19, 2013

An appeals court in Florida has ruled that a lower court may not put a 30-day delay on releasing documents to the media in a high-profile murder trial without first allowing media representatives to argue for openness.

A trial judge in Jacksonville imposed a 30-day delay on the release of any records in the murder trial of Michael Dunn after reporters obtained copies of letters Dunn had written from prison and published racially sensitive comments from them, according to The Florida Times-Union. The judge imposed the delay out of concern that Dunn would not receive a fair trial otherwise.

Florida prison board reverses decision to ban newspaper over hunger strike coverage

Latara Appleby | Prior Restraints | News | October 16, 2013
October 16, 2013

The Florida Department of Corrections overturned a decision on Friday that forbid inmates from receiving a socialist newspaper that contained an article about hunger strikes in a California prison.

Emergency protective order denied in Fla. prior restraint case

Latara Appleby | Prior Restraints | News | September 11, 2013
September 11, 2013

A Duval County, Fla., judge on Wednesday denied a motion for an emergency protective order that sought to ban news organizations from publishing details of James Patrick Tadros’ arrest.

Florida news organizations to fight prior restraint at Monday court hearing

Latara Appleby | Prior Restraints | News | September 6, 2013
September 6, 2013

Florida news organizations are planning to attend a hearing on Monday to fight a judge's order not to publish the arrest report of a man accused of attempting to murder a 9-year-old girl at a Best Buy restroom.

Judge orders Gawker to take down Hulk Hogan sex video, accompanying article and reader comments

Nicole Lozare | Prior Restraints | News | April 26, 2013
April 26, 2013

The popular website Gawker partially complied with a Florida judge’s order to take down a clip of a Hulk Hogan sex tape but refused to delete the accompanying article, citing the restraint as a violation of the gossip-news outlet's First Amendment rights.

Pinellas County Circuit Judge Pamela A.M. Campbell on Wednesday ordered Gawker to take down the video, the 1,400-word accompanying article and the 466 user-submitted comments at the famous professional wrestler’s request.