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Hammer: Media has no right to report SYG cases involving dropped charges

@mikevansickler

Although she says she didn’t push a bill that is expected to pass the Florida House today, and which would extend “stand your ground protection” to people who fire a warning shot, NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer said she supports it.

That  includes an amendment by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, that was adopted by the House Wednesday night that would severely limit access to court records in the self-defense cases.

Gaetz said the intent of the amendment was to restore privacy for people who appropriately use the state’s “stand your ground” law in self-defense. Hammer said she had no hand in writing the amendment, but agrees with Gaetz that it is necessary.

“If you didn’t do anything wrong, why should you have a record that you did?” Hammer said Thursday. “Why would the public need to know that? A person’s right under the Constitution is to be free of persecution, so it’s not right that you could be persecuted because of something that is inaccurate, for something that you didn’t do.”

Under Gaetz’s amendment, which was passed by a voice vote Wednesday in the House, those whose charges are dropped by a prosecutor or judge based on an affirmative "stand your ground" defense could apply for a "certificate of eligibility" to expunge the "associated criminal history." According to the amendment, a court can only order the records be expunged after the defendant applies for it.

This could severely restrict court records available to researchers studying the implactions of the 2005 law. A 2012 Tampa Bay Times investigation reviewed 200 cases, including ones that wouldn't be available if lawmakers approve the new language, and found that the law was used inconsistently and led to disparate results.

Hammer said it wasn’t the right of the public or media to do such research.

“It’s overreacch on the media’s part to think they need to know everything about everybody’s life,” Hammer said. “The media wants to know this so they can create news. Privacy is an important thing in America. When people arer wronged it should be repaired, and it shouldn’t be anybody’s business.”

The language from Gaetz’s amendment was adopted by the Senate in an amendment by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and adopted by the Judiciary Committee on March 4 to be included in a bill sponsored by Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker.

Evers said during that meeting that it was a courtesy amendment.

Stacy Scott, public defender for the Eight Judicial Circuit, spoke in favor the amendment. It was adopted without objection by the committee. The bill will be discussed on the Senate floor later today. The House is scheduled to vote on it after 3:30 p.m.

Comments

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FLDemNinja

Matt Gaetz continues to go out of his way to protect racist rednecks and their ability to shoot black children and get away with it.
I'm sure all his good ole boys in the panhandle will be proud of him.

Can't take anymore

Looks like Little Mattie is the state House Republicans' official NRA go-fer. Licking Marion's boots may be his best bet to move up to Daddy's seat in the state Senate in the next election. At least he knows that the dead victims of gunshot wounds under SYG won't be able to vote against him.

FLMom

Matt Gaetz's daddy once said his son was more rightwing than his wife and it looks like Matt intends to prove those words are true. Floridians will tire of these gun nutz running their state and it's image into the ground eventually. Who really wants to live in a state referred to as 'The Gunshine State'? No sane person.

Redundant

Marion Hammer and Matt Gaetz logic - If you accidentally kill someone with your car it is a public record. If you intentionally kill someone with a gun it is nobodies business.

CL

If you happen to be reading the second amendment, look up a bit an you may catch the first amendment, with a little line about freedom of the press. Oh...I see, only your favorite parts of the Constitution apply.

Hmmmm...

The ignorance of the above posts is amazing.

Support the bill or amendment if you desire - oppose it... I don't care.

But for crying out loud, use facts in your arguments, and stay away from disparaging remarks and name calling.

Rational statements can be made on both sides of this issue... and the ones above that are opposed do nothing to help your side.

BHirsh

Bully. Any law that prevents a victim who used a firearm in lawful self-defense from being persecuted, either by the government or the media, is a GOOD thing.

A GOOD thing.

Jackson

I think they want to hide the disparate treatment people get when using Stand Your Ground.

By hiding the information the number of white people who kill black people, and successfully use SYG, goes down.

Its an attempt to make the law not look racist.

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