Chief judges’ administrative records are public

first_imgChief judges’ administrative records are public March 15, 2003 Regular News Information that a circuit chief judge receives about possible misconduct by another judge is not exempt from public records laws, unless the matter has been referred to the Judicial Qualifications Commission for investigation, according to the Florida Supreme Court.Ruling February 13 in cases brought by a Tampa television station and newspaper over allegations of sexual misconduct by a 13th Circuit judge, the court also asked the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee to study ways to challenge denials of access to court records.The case involved allegations that a judge had made inappropriate comments to and sexually harassed two female judges and two judicial assistants. Complaints were initially made to former Chief Judge F. Dennis Alvarez who investigated. Eventually, the case wound up before the JQC, which filed charges that led to the judge resigning.The newspaper and television station asked Alvarez for any records he had relating to the case. Alvarez declined, saying the information would remain confidential until introduced in evidence in a JQC hearing after charges were filed. The information Alvarez had gathered included affidavits collected from the judicial assistants, e-mails from the judge in question, and memos prepared by Alvarez.The Second District Court of Appeal majority upheld that position, saying the Florida Constitution and court rules do not give judges a role in judicial discipline and any information received by Alvarez was outside his role as chief judge. But it certified the matter to the Supreme Court, which in turn rephrased it as two questions:• Whether such documents given to or made by the chief judge in such a case are public records.• Whether those records, if public documents, are exempt from disclosure after the JQC finds probable cause.The court found the documents were public records, agreeing with the dissent from the Second DCA that the majority had too narrowly construed the definition of public court records. It also said such records do become public after the JQC finds probable cause.The court noted it has traditionally construed broadly constitutional and statutory protections guaranteeing public access to government records. It also said the records met the definition of judicial records in the Rules of Judicial Administration because they were made or received “in connection with the transaction of official business by any court or court agency.”Checking on such allegations comes under the chief judge’s duties of administering court operations, justices said. But they noted when the JQC became involved, the records would become confidential because of provisions of the Florida Constitution.“This opinion does not seek to shield members of the judiciary from public scrutiny,” the opinion said. “All we hold today is that when an individual complains to a chief judge about judicial misconduct involving sexual harassment or sexually inappropriate behavior, any records made or received by the chief judge constitute public records. However, when that complaint is sent to the JQC, the complaint and the records associated with the complaint are confidential until the JQC finds probable cause. Once the JQC finds probable cause, the records in the possession of the chief judge are no longer exempt and become fully available to the public.”The newspaper and television station also asked the court on its own motion to set up a procedure for appealing a judge’s refusal to turn over records, but the court referred that to the rules committee.Justices Charles Wells, Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince, and Senior Justice Major B. Harding concurred in the per curiam opinion. Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead, Justice Fred Lewis, and Senior Justice Leander Shaw concurred in the result only.In a concurring opinion, Pariente said several related issues may also have to be addressed, such as when a chief judge investigates a case and is unaware there is a separate JQC probe.The consolidated cases are Media General Convergence, Inc., v. Chief Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit and Charles J. Crist, Jr., v. Chief Judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit, case nos. SC01-1396 and SC02-1398. The complete text of the opinion can be found on the court’s Web site at www.flcourts.org.center_img Chief judges’ administrative records are publiclast_img read more

Rays Beat Yanks in 12, 4-3

first_imgNEW YORK — Following a long stretch of futility, Tampa Bay’s fortunes have turned.Logan Forsythe hit a tie-breaking single with two outs in the 12th inning and the Rays beat the New York Yankees 4-3 the night of June 30 despite squandering a late lead.“This is my own personal theory, is that to win on the road in extra innings really is good for a team’s morale,” Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon said.Kevin Kiermaier homered in his third straight game and Matt Joyce also went deep for the resurgent Rays, who have their first three-game winning streak since taking a season-best four in a row May 22-25.They’ve won five of six overall and no longer own the worst record in the majors, a distinction that had belonged to them since June 4.“Nobody quit,” Maddon said. “To lose a game like this would have been really hard to walk in here. It’s very difficult, and you don’t know the negative complementary impacts it’s going to have.”The only real bad news for the Rays was that shortstop Yunel Escobar is headed to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 25, because of a sore right shoulder. “Pretty much on target for a minimal stay,” Maddon said.Brian Roberts homered off Rays reliever Joel Peralta with one out in the ninth to tie it 3-all. As the ball cleared the right-field wall, Peralta crouched near the mound and pounded his fist into his glove.But the scuffling Yankees were unable to muster any more offense and lost for the seventh time in nine games.“They were able to get the big hits at the end and we weren’t,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve had two extremely tough losses on this homestand.”Chris Archer nearly became the first pitcher in more than a century to win his first five outings against the Yankees, and Tampa Bay hurlers finished June with 287 strikeouts — breaking the major league record for one month set by the Chicago Cubs, who had 286 in August 2002.“It was so special,” Archer said. “We’re going to be etched in stone for a while.”Brandon Guyer drew a two-out walk from Jose Ramirez (0-2) in the 12th and stole second. Forsythe lined the next pitch into center field, scoring Guyer easily.“Big boost in confidence. That’s why we keep battling every game,” said Forsythe, who also played excellent defense at second base. “We never think we’re out of it, and it’s great to be that guy tonight.”Brad Boxberger (1-1) pitched two perfect innings for his first major league win in 72 appearances. “Really dominant kind of stuff,” Maddon said. “He was in total command of the moment.”Archer went seven innings and was in line for the victory until Roberts homered. The last pitcher to start his career 5-0 in five games against New York was Washington Senators Hall of Famer Walter Johnson from 1907-08 — back when the club was still called the Highlanders.The 25-year-old Archer has a 1.51 ERA in 35 2-3 innings against the Yankees.Ryan Hanigan gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the eighth with an RBI single off closer David Robertson. Hanigan’s clutch hit came after Dellin Betances issued consecutive two-out walks.“I couldn’t make pitches with two outs,” Betances said. “That’s why I was so frustrated: I couldn’t end the inning.”New York pitchers have walked 16 in the last two games.Despite his team’s record (36-49), Maddon is optimistic the Rays have turned things around in time to make a run. Tampa Bay’s bats busted loose for 12 runs Sunday in Baltimore, and Joyce picked up right where he left off.Joyce, who tied team records with five hits and 12 total bases the day before, connected off David Phelps in the first inning for his third home run in two games.Going into June 29, Joyce had three homers all season — none since May 11.Kiermaier, who had three hits, made it 2-0 with a leadoff shot in the third, but the Yankees finally broke through against Archer in the bottom half. Brett Gardner grounded an RBI triple inside first base and scored on Derek Jeter’s groundout.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more