Florida Officials Use a Victim’s Rights Law To Stop a Newspaper from Printing Deputies’ Names
Florida deputies shot and killed a man during an eviction process, and now a judge is prohibiting a local newspaper from printing the names of the officers involved.
You can blame Florida’s Marsy’s Law for this unconstitutional censorship. These laws, passed through the ballot initiative process in a dozen states, were intended to detail certain rights for crime victims to be informed about criminal cases and protect their privacy. But in practice, the wording of the laws are often vague enough that police departments have been using them to conceal information about shootings their officers are involved with by classifying the officers as “victims” of crimes.
In Sarasota County, three deputies were sent to a condo in April to help evict 52-year-old Jeremiah Evans. According to Sarasota County Sheriff Department’s report, Evans pulled out a knife and threatened the deputies. One of the deputies shot and killed Evans.
Prosecutors determined that the shooting was justified. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune submitted a public records request to the State Attorney’s Office, and among the information they received were the unredacted last names of the deputies involved.
Then the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office swung into action, going to a judge to invoke Marsy’s Law to try to prohibit the newspaper from publishing the names of the officers involved. On Friday evening a judge granted a temporary injunction preemptively prohibiting the newspaper from publishing the officers’ names. Despite failing to redact the names by accident, the State Attorney’s Office also supported the sheriff’s department and joined the action against the newspaper, essentially attempting to shift responsibility onto the newspaper for the office’s own supposed breach of the law.
Florida’s Marsy’s Law has its own definition of who counts as a vic
Article from Reason.com