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New Florida Bill Lets Cops Fight Blacklisting

The proposed legislation guarantees due process rights to officers placed on a Brady List – allowing them to appeal the decision and request an investigation.

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — A bill strengthening the rights of law enforcement and correctional officers was met with resounding bipartisan support during Wednesday’s Appropriations Committee on Civil and Criminal Justice.

Sponsored by Sen. Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville), SB 618 guarantees due process rights to officers placed on a Brady List. Named after the Brady v. Maryland Supreme Court case, an officer can be placed on a Brady List if he or she is suspected of misconduct or lack of credibility. These lists are often compiled by prosecutors.

“Officers should have notice before their names are placed on a Brady system,” Sen. Yarborough said, “The placement on the system will have the potential to negatively affect their career and personal lives.”

The legislation attempts to remedy the lack of due process present in Brady List placements, as many officers are given no notice of their inclusion and no opportunity to appeal it.

“We provide individuals on death row the right to appeal their convictions, the same should be provided to police officers and correctional officers,” Yarborough argued.

Democratic Senator Victor Torres, a former police officer, voiced his support for the legislation: “When you get placed on a list, or any type of document, you have the right to say, ‘wait a minute’,” he stated. “I want to protect officers.”

Sen. Yarborough’s bill is only one of many pro-police resolutions pushed forth this legislative session, demonstrating Florida’s focus on law enforcement officer rights.

Following the unanimous decision to propel the bill on, it will land next in the Committee on Fiscal Policy. The House version, HB 95, will be heard on the House floor Thursday afternoon – lending credibility to its potential for becoming law.