The Florida media organized against Florida SB 118 shortly after its recent passage through the state’s legislature and is now urging the Governor to veto it. Newspaper editorial boards are all the sudden worried about an amendment to the bill that was added back in the beginning of April that provides automatic administrative sealing of arrest records for those found not guilty, acquitted, or who never make it to trial. Keep in mind not one lawmaker in either the house or senate voted against this bill. The press had an entire month to voice their wholehearted concerns regarding this provision but chose to wait and coordinate editorials against it at the last minute in an abrupt, last ditch effort to kill the bill.
A central argument behind not automatically expunging records is name dropping defendants of well-publicized arrests and court cases like George Zimmerman who due to failure in the judicial system were acquitted. SB 118 in no way restricts news commentary on arrests or ongoing trials (or subsequent arrests as in the case of Zimmerman.)
For those of you who aren’t acquitted murderers and likely enjoyed practical obscurity in the headlines from a past arrest, please contact Florida Governor Rick Scott and ask him to sign this common sense piece of legislation protecting the due process rights of those who are innocent until proven guilty.
The Honorable Rick Scott
Office of the Governor
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001