Florida Supreme Court Will Take Up Evidence Case

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Update: Associated Press
June 24, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A divided Florida Supreme Court says it will settle a dispute over secret evidence used at a trial to decide whether legislators broke the law when drawing up new political maps.

In a 5-2 decision, the court on Tuesday said it will hear an appeal over whether evidence taken from a Gainesville political consulting firm should have been used in a redistricting trial. The trial dealing with maps for Congress ended earlier this month.

The evidence was heard at the trial, but it was kept from the public under a previous order from the high court.

The firm Data Targeting and its employees maintain that disclosure of emails and other documents will violate trade secrets and First Amendment rights.

A verdict in the trial still has not been reached.


Update: Associated Press
June 19, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida appeals court says it shouldn't have intervened in a trial over whether state legislators broke the law when drawing up new political maps.

In a highly unusual move, the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday ruled that three judges on the court were wrong when they decided in May that evidence taken from a Gainesville political consulting firm could not be used in a redistricting trial.

The appeals court by a 5-4 vote ruled the state Supreme Court should have been asked to resolve the dispute immediately. Six judges recused themselves from the decision.

The evidence was heard at the trial after the Florida Supreme Court ordered it. But the evidence was kept secret from the public.

A verdict in the trial still has not been reached.


Update: Associated Press
June 16, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida judge is being given starkly different versions of what happened when state legislators drew new political maps for Congress.

Attorneys for the Florida Legislature and groups suing them have submitted closing statements to Circuit Judge Terry Lewis. Lewis must decide whether or not the Legislature broke the law when it came up with new congressional districts in 2012.

The trial wrapped up earlier this month, but both sides turned in lengthy legal briefs going over the evidence.

The groups suing the Legislature contend a shadow process was used to draw maps beneficial to Republicans. Legislative attorneys assert the evidence did not show that.

Lewis could call on the Legislature to redraw the districts. But it is very likely that the case will be appealed no matter who wins.


News Release:Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A landmark trial over whether Florida legislators broke the law when drawing up new political maps for Congress is reaching its conclusion.

Attorneys for the Legislature are expected Tuesday to put their final witnesses on the stand. Both sides in the case may give closing statements on Wednesday.

It will then be up to Circuit Judge Terry Lewis to decide whether or not legislators violated a 2010 constitutional amendment.

The "Fair Districts" amendment states that districts cannot be drawn in a way to favor incumbents or members of a political party.

Lewis has already stated he plans to render a verdict in the case by the end of the month. Lewis could order legislators to draw up new districts although it is likely the case will be appealed either way.


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