Senate Hearing

Senate President Jim King has ordered a special legislative panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping and murder of Carlie Brucia, including the circumstances, which allowed murder suspect Joseph Smith to be out on the streets after two parole violations

As a former prosecutor, State Sen. Rod Smith recognizes the state of Florida didn't kill Carlie Brucia, but he's worried the legal system may have failed to protect the little girl.

“Whoever committed this crime, they're to blame for it. I'm wanting us to examine this system to see if there are things that can be done,” says Smith.

Smith is calling for Senate hearings like this one to take sworn testimony on whether there need to be changes in current laws or whether lawmakers should be redirecting state funding into areas like drug treatment in prisons or more probation officers to handle burgeoning case loads.

The prime suspect, Joseph Smith, was out on probation in spite of this lengthy criminal record and two apparent parole violations.

Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist is reviewing whether parole violators should be locked up without bond no questions asked a proposal that could cost the state of Florida a half a billion dollars.

“It's not cheap to have a safe society but the better question I think is what does it cost not to do it. In some case it cost lives,” says Attorney Gen. Charlie Crist.

But Smith says he doesn't want lawmakers to rush to file bills in Carlie's name.

“We have a tendency sometimes to overreact to things, and sometimes to under-react to things. What I think we need to do is not ignore the circumstances but let's take a deliberate approach,” says Smith.

An approach he hopes will explore whether the system really is broken and what the best way would be to fix it. Hearings into the Carlie Brucia murder could begin as early as the first week of March, pending approval from the House speaker.