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After a Tampa Bay Times' review of 200 cases that involved the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law found an "uneven application" and "shocking outcomes," one Florida lawmaker is seeking to impede the media's ability to scrutinize the law.
Earlier this month, state Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) filed an amendment that would "severely limit access to court records in the self-defense cases," the Times' Michael van Sickler reports.
The amendment would allow those found innocent in a Stand Your Ground case to "apply for a certificate of eligibility to expunge the associated criminal history record."
Gaetz said his amendment was unrelated to the Times' Stand Your Ground investigation, the Associated Press reports. "The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground defense doesn't have their life ruined by the use of that defense," he said.
Gaetz's amendment has sparked concern among journalists, Media Matters reports, who say the loss of access to public records could have damaging effects. Alongside statements from editors at the Miami Herald and Florida Times-Union are the opinions of staff who worked on the groundbreaking review by the Times:
Free speech is free speech but it should come with a requirement for responsibility.
The media are irresponsible! Trial my media wrecks innocent lives.
In my view, no names of people charged or involved in any case, should be published until or if they are found guilty by a trial of peers.
Victims names should never be published, it can destroy the lives and well being of the innocent.
In this case, I agree that the innocent should be protected but, only by not allowing their names to be published. Other details should be a matter of public record.
Ultimately, we must protect the innocent and the victims and the media are ruthless.
reply to post by pheonix358
As long as public records are not expunged as a pretext ... I don't have a problem with this idea. The gun grabbers seem to have no problem with their own agenda, and I'd almost be willing to vote favorably for this ... on pretext. LOL
reply to post by Spider879
I didn't scroll down to read the cases because a man standing his ground
and being exonerated, is still a man standing his ground and being exonerated.
Character, nor circumstance should be an issue. The issue is the guilt or
innocence of the person as tried by a jury of peers who have access to
all the evidence.
I don't like secretive actions in government at all. But we do protect our
minors names from the media, when charged with, or a victim of, a crime.
So there is precedent.
"The point is to ensure that someone who appropriately uses a Stand Your Ground
defense doesn't have their life ruined by the use of that defense," he said.