Hoffman Settlement Still Needs Legislative Okay

By: Julie Montanaro; Angelica Alvarez; Garin Flowers; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Julie Montanaro; Angelica Alvarez; Garin Flowers; Lanetra Bennett Email

UPDATED February 13, 2012 by Lanetra Bennett

The $2.6 million settlement between the City of Tallahassee and the parents of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman still needs an okay from the Florida Legislature.

The settlement could depend on a hearing held Monday.

The special masters hearing is the first step in the process of Florida legislators determining whether to pass the Hoffman claims bill. The Hoffman Family attorney laid out evidence to try to convince them to do so.

"There's no drug deal that's worth the life or the safety of a C.I." Says, Attorney Lance Block.

Block never got the chance to present his case in civil court in the death of Tallahassee Police informant Rachel Hoffman.

The City of Tallahassee and Hoffman's parents reached a $2.6 million settlement on the eve of trial in January.

Monday, Block got to present his evidence during what's called a Special Masters Hearing.

Block contends the police violated eleven policies when Hoffman was killed during a botched drug sting May 7, 2008.

He describes a part of the operation. "Just as they begin to make the loop, the radio went out. Now, they can't hear her anymore, and nobody's watching her anymore. Pender doesn't tell anybody that until it's too late."

State lawmakers have to sign off on any damages more than $200 dollars.

A representative from the House and Senate listened to evidence Monday so they can issue a report to each chamber.

Lawmarkers still have the final say and can either accept or reject their recommendations.

Block had to prove police were negligent.

Steve Carter, an attorney for the City of Tallahassee, says, "What happened that day with all the decisions that were made were reasonable and met the industry standard, that they followed what people are doing throughout the country."

Attorney Block says he's optimistic the legislature will pass the claims bill. He says if it doesn't he's going to try again next year.

The settlement does not require any state funds. It would be paid by the City's insurace.

Block says he expects the bill to be taken up in the Senate first. He says typically, claims bills come up towards the end of session.

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UPDATED February 13, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

The family of slain Tallahassee Police informant Rachel Hoffman is still awaiting legislative approval of a $2.6 million settlement.

A hearing is underway in Tallahassee right now before administrative law judge John Van Laningham.

A special master will evaluate the evidence and make a recommendation.

This settlement will be covered by the City of Tallahassee's insurance and does not require any state money, but Florida law requires the legislature to sign off on any settlements over $200,000.
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UPDATED January 9, 2012 by Julie Montanaro

The City of Tallahassee and the family of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman reached a settlement on the eve of trial. Now approval of that $2.6 million dollar settlement is in the hands of the Florida legislature.

The jury was seated after three days of inquiry. Within in an hour, its services were no longer needed. The City of Tallahassee and the parents of Rachel Hoffman reached a settlement of $2.6 million. It's the biggest settlement in city history.

"The damages in this case were for the pain and suffering of Irv Hoffman and Marjorie Weiss for the loss of their child," said family attorney Lance Block on Friday.

Florida law caps damages at $200,000 and requires state lawmakers to sign off on the rest.

"If the parties agree as we have in this case, you would hope you could get that claims bill passed in the first session, if not, the second," said Tallahassee City Attorney Jim English on Friday.

Florida Senator Mike Fasano of New Port Richey has already filed a claims bill for this session, but so far, there's no house sponsor.

"The representatives of the Hoffman family are working diligently to find a way possibly through committee to introduce it in the house before it's too late," Fasano said.

The settlement comes nearly four years after Rachel Hoffman was shot and killed in a drug sting. Her family sued claiming officers who lost track of the rookie informant were liable in her death.

Now the same senator who sponosred Rachel's Law in 2009 to try to better protect informants will try to shepherd the $2.6 million dollar settlement for her family.

The city's insurance will pay for it all, but lawmakers still have to give it a thumbs up.

"Most claims bills are easier to pass if it has no fiscal impact on the state," Fasano said.

The Hoffman family attorney says he is confident there will be a house bill and approval this year. "Where there's a will, there's a way in the Florida legislature," Block said.

We'll keep you posted.
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Updated January 6, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

After four years of uncertainty, the family of Rachel Hoffman finally has their answer.

"I'm grateful for this part of it to be over," said Irv Hoffman, father of Rachel Hoffman.

"This year has been the toughest year," said Margie Weiss, mother of Rachel Hoffman.

"With all the questioning it's just made Rachel's death more real to me, which I couldn't accept for the first two years."

The countdown to trial was near. After a rigorous jury selection campaign, the only thing stopping Hoffman versus the city of Tallahassee was time.

But, Friday night, the Tallahassee city commission officially put this case to rest.

Block, Hoffman Family Attorney, AT: 33
"This is what my clients wanted to do. They want to keep moving through their grief and this gives them an opportunity to do that," said Lance Block, Attorney for the Hoffman family.

"As difficult as it has been, it also I think has given us a lot of strength," Hoffman added.

The outcome of the special meeting of the city commission is a settlement for $2.6 million in the Rachel Hoffman civil case. The vote was 3 to 2.

City attorney, Jim English, is happy with the outcome.

"We're glad to have majority support and we'll hopefully execute the documents tonight and move along," English said.

The city says it will pay Hoffman's parents $200,000 within the next few weeks and the rest must be approved by the Florida legislature as a claims bill.

"The city manager and police chief said early on we wanted to be held accountable," English said.

Rachel Hoffman was acting as a police informant back in 2008 when she was shot execution style during a drug buy.

She was sent by herself with about $13,000 in cash to buy drugs and a handgun from two men.

"She's always in our hearts and we'll just always keep her memories alive by contributing and making this world a safer and better place in her name," said Weiss.

The city attorney says that as far as three years back they have put policies in place to try and prevent something like this from ever happening again.

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Joint Statement from the City of Tallahassee and the Family of Rachel Hoffman

January 6, 2012
The City of Tallahassee and the parents of Rachel Hoffman - Irv Hoffman and Margie Weiss - tonight agreed to a settlement in the amount of $2.6 million regarding Rachel's death while serving as a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police Department in May 2008. The settlement was voted on in a special meeting of the Tallahassee City Commission, following a 5:30 p.m. Executive Session at City Hall.

Rachel Hoffman was murdered by Andrea Green and Deneilo Bradshaw, who are both serving life sentences for her death.

"In reaching this settlement, the City wishes to express our deepest sorrow for the loss of Rachel Hoffman," said City Attorney Jim English. "We once again want to offer our most sincere condolences to her parents, Margie Weiss and Irv Hoffman. Each of us knows that no amount of money can soften the grief and pain that comes from losing a child and our sympathies will forever be with them."

"We must always be accountable for our conduct and we acknowledge that in this case, mistakes were made, and the life of a young woman was tragically lost," English added.

The terms of the settlement include a payment of $2.6 million to the parents of Rachel Hoffman. Two hundred thousand dollars will immediately be paid by the City and the City agrees to actively support the family in seeking legislative approval of a claims bill for the remaining $2.4 million by the 2012 Legislature.

"We stand by and have the highest regard for the men and women of the Tallahassee Police Department who put their lives on the line for us every day," said City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. "Within TPD, procedural changes have been implemented to help ensure something like this never happens again. We have steadfastly vowed to live up to our obligations both to Rachel's family as well as the taxpayers of this community. Today's settlement marks an equitable agreement by all parties in this matter with an eye towards moving forward."

PDF of settlement attached

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January 6, 2012 6:42

Jury selection had been completed in the Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee civil trial, however, a special meeting of the Tallahassee City Commission decides to settle for $2.6 million in Rachel Hoffman civil case.

City approves motion for settlement 3-2

Andrew Gillum and Mark Mustian were the commissioners to dissent.

The city says it will Hoffman's parents $200,000 within the next few weeks and the rest must be approved by the Florida legislature as a claims bill.

Irv Hoffman, Rachel's father, says he is relieved this is over and can try to move on with his life. Irv says he is thankful for the conviction of Deneilo Bradshaw and Andrea Green and for Rachel's Law which sets standards for police informants.

Hoffman's family attorney Lance Block says the $2.6 million award settlement is far less than what would have been returned from a jury; however, this is what his client wanted and this is the right deal at the right time.

City attorney Jim English says the city has acknowledged its mistakes and its role in this tragedy and will be doing all it can to try to get the claims bill passed this legislative session.
-----------------------
City settles informant death suit for $2.6 million

Tallahassee, FL (AP) - Tallahassee city commissioners have approved a $2.6 million settlement in the wrongful-death suit of a police informant who was fatally shot during a drug sting.

The parents of 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman filed suit after her 2008 death, seeking money damages from the city of Tallahassee. Commissioners decided to settle Friday, with the trial scheduled to begin Monday.

Hoffman's parents claim city police were negligent in setting up the Florida State graduate as an undercover informant after she was caught with marijuana and pills she didn't have a prescription for. She was shot five times after police lost track of her during a purported drug deal in a rural area north of Tallahassee. Her body was found 36 hours later in a roadside ditch in Taylor County, roughly 50 miles away.

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January 6, 2012 6:09pm

New developments in the civil case involving the death of a Tallahassee police informant.

A jury has now been seated for trial, but this case may not make it that far.

That closed door meeting started a little after 5:30.

Our cameras are waiting outside that 4th floor conference room.
Inside, the mayor, city commissioners, city attorneys, the city manager and police chief.

We understand they are discussing a possible settlement in the Hoffman case. We're standing by for more.

Just minutes before that meeting started attorneys seated a jury in the civil suit. Eight women and one man including a UPS driver, an educator and an engineer. Testimony in the case is slated to begin on Monday and last an entire month.

The question tonight, will the city and the Hoffmans makea last minute settlement here tonight? Or will the wrongful death suit go to trial as planned.

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January 6, 2012 5:43pm

A closed door executive meeting has begun to discuss litigation in the pending Rachel Hoffman civil case.

The meeting has been closed to the public, and is expected to last about 60 minutes.

We will bring the latest from this executive meeting as it becomes available.

----------------------------------------

January 6, 2012 5:24pm

Jury selection has been completed in the Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee civil trial.

The jury has just been seated.

--------------------------------

Jan 6 2:45pm

Defense attorney Lance Block told the jury pool that "the murderers aren't on trial here." He told potential jurors that Deneilo Bradshaw and Andrea Green are serving life sentences for Rachel Hoffman's murder. "This is not about their conduct, it's about the city's," he said.

He asked the potential jurors if they had any trouble with big jury awards. "No amount of money is going to bring that person back," one replied.

Block also admitted that Rachel Hoffman used marijuana, sold marijuana and "engaged" in other drugs. He asked the prospective jurors if any of them would hold that against Hoffman's parents. No one raised their hand.

City attorney Jesse Suber is now getting a chance to ask questions.

_______________________________

Jan 6 1:15pm

Special Meeting and Executive Session of City Commission

A special meeting of the Tallahassee City Commission will take place today, January 6, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in conference room 4-B on the fourth floor of City Hall.

The meeting is required to begin as a public meeting, to be followed by an attorney-client executive session which is closed to the public and the media pursuant to Section 286.011(8) of the Florida Statutes. The purpose of the attorney-client executive session and the only agenda item is to discuss litigation in the pending Rachel Hoffman civil case.

The entire attorney-client executive session will be recorded by a certified court reporter. The transcript will be made part of the public record upon conclusion of the litigation.

The individuals scheduled to attend the attorney-client executive session are Mayor John Marks, Commissioner Mark Mustian, Commissioner Gil Ziffer, City Manager Anita Favors Thompson, City Attorney Jim English, Deputy City Attorney Lewis Shelley, Steve Carter, special litigation counsel to the City of Tallahassee, and a court reporter. (Commissioners Andrew Gillum and Nancy Miller are out of town but will take part in the meeting by telephone.) The attorney-client executive session will last approximately 60 minutes.

At the conclusion of the attorney-client executive session, the meeting will be re-opened to the public to announce the end of the attorney-client executive session, followed by the end of the public meeting. The meeting does not include an opportunity for public input.

Any person who wishes to attend the public portion of the meeting and who requires special accommodation due to disability or physical impairment should contact (850) 891-8130.

_____________________________

Jan 6 1:15pm

Jury selection has resumed in courtroom 3G. Attorneys for Rachel Hoffman's family are asking potential jurors about life experiences that may impact their decision making in this case.

Defense attorney Lance Block asked potential jurors if any of them was the parent of an only child. Several said yes. One woman described her daughter as her best friend and the most important person in her life. Rachel Hoffman was an only child.

Block also asked potential jurors if any of them had experienced the loss of a child. Several fought back tears as they shared their experiences about the loss of family or friends. None of the prospective jurors had lost a child themselves.

Block is now asking prospective jurors if they've ever had a job in which they were responsible for someone's safety.
_____________________________

Friday, January 6 Noon by Julie Montanaro

A jury will be chosen today in the wrongful death suit filed by the family of a slain Tallahassee police informant. The parents of Rachel Hoffman are suing the city of Tallahassee for what turned out to be a deadly drug sting.

This is the 3rd day of jury selection in Hoffman vs City of Tallahassee. and the clock is ticking as testimony is expected to start Monday.

There are 21 people in the jury box in Courtroom 3G. It is likely that most of the final 6 will come from this pool. Among them? A UPS driver, a used furniture salesman, an insurance office manager, a state employee, and a retired military man. Attorneys are asking some painful questions now. They ask if any of the potential jurors have experienced the loss of a child, several of them were brought to tears as they described their experiences. Attorneys also asked how many potential jurors had an only child. One woman described her daughter as her world.

Attorneys are working to seat a jury by this afternoon. We'll let you know when they've decided on the final 6.

______________________________________

Friday, January 6 10am by Julie Montanaro

The judge is now reading the names of nearly 200 witnesses.

Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones and Officer Ryan Pender were the first names on the list. Pender was the officer who recruited Hoffman and coordinated the buy bust.

The men convicted of Rachel Hoffman's murder - Deneilo Bradshaw and Andre Green - are on the witness list as well.

The list includes more than three dozen officers with TPD, as well as DEA agents, and deputies from Taylor and Pinellas Counties.

City Manager Anita Favors Thompson, Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, former state attorney now circuit judge Jackie Fulford and state senator John Fasano are also listed as potential witnesses. So is former FSU quarterback Wyatt Sexton.

There are now 21 potential jurors in the jury box in courtroom 3G.

Among them are a UPS driver, a FedEx driver, an insurance office manager, a used furniture salesman, a retired bank employee and a state employee with the DOE.

__________________________

Friday, January 6 9:20am by Julie Montanaro

Jury selection is in its final day in the Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee civil trial.

The parents of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman are seeking unspecified damages. They contend Tallahassee police officers were negligent in her death.

Hoffman was killed during a botched drug sting in May 2008.

________________________

UPDATED 1.5.2011 by Julie Montanaro

The jury pool has been whittled down to 58 as the City of Tallahassee and the family of Rachel Hoffman prepare to face off in court.

Attorneys hope to select the final six in the morning.

Prospective jurors filled courtroom 3G for a second day.

"Can I get each of you to raise your right hand?" Circuit Judge James Shelfer asked the latest batch of prospective jurors.

The parents of Rachel Hoffman are suing the City of Tallahassee for unspecified damages in the death of their only child. She was murdered while working as a confidential informant for Tallahassee Police back in May 2008.

"Ms. Hoffman was to purchase drugs and a gun from Andre Green and Deneilo Bradshaw. Rachel Hoffman was murdered during the course of that operation," Shelfer told the prospective jurors.

The judge shared only the most basic details of this highly publicized case. Perhaps the most startling? It was less than three weeks from the day Hoffman started working as a CI to the day she died.

Hoffman's parents say officers were negligent in her death. The city says Hoffman herself is to blame.

Attorneys are trying to find six jurors and three alternates to weigh evidence in the month long trial. Most of those sent home Thursday were sent home because a seat on the jury would mean they couldn't earn enough to pay the bills.

"It's slated to last until February 3rd," the judge told the prospective jurors.

Those who are chosen won't be privy to everything. The judge has already ruled that they won't know about a critical internal affairs report, the subsequent discipline of five officers, or a grand jury presentment that found TPD negligent in Hoffman's death.

We will be in court in the morning and let you know when a jury is seated.
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January 5, 2012 1:05pm

The jury pool has now been narrowed down to 58 people.

Attorneys intend to select six jurors and three alternates tomorrow.

Later this afternoon, the judge will hear some final motions.

________________________________

January 5, 2012 Noon -

It is day two of jury selection in a civil suit pitting the family of a slain police informant against the City of Tallahassee. Rachel Hoffman's family is suing for negligence, but they have not yet specified the dollar amount they're seeking in damages.

Things are moving much more quickly on day two of jury selection.

26 prospective jurors have been questioned already this morning. Half of them have been sent home. Most have been sent home for health reasons or economic hardships. A city employee and the husband of a police dispatcher were promptly excused. Another juror who was sent home said he called "a spade a spade ... police used an amateur and didn't monitor it close enough." Another prospective juror who was asked to come back said she empathizes with both sides and that she imagines this is pretty traumatic for both.

Prospective jurors who have made the cut will be back on Friday. The judge hopes to choose a jury tomorrow morning.

______________________________

January 5, 2012 8:45am

Jury selection is now in its second day as attorneys try to find six jurors and three alternates to weigh the evidence in Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee.

Wednesday attorneys interviewed 54 potential jurors and asked 34 to come back Friday for further questioning.

Another 50 prospective jurors will be questioned today and those not excused will return Friday as well.

The family of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman is suing the city for unspecified damages for her death during a drug sting in May 2008.

_____________________

UPDATED 1-4-2011 11:43pm by Angelica Alvarez

In May 2008, 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman was killed in a botched drug sting with Tallahassee police. This story made local and national headlines. Now with the upcoming civil trial, some residents in Tallahassee aren't sure a jury can remain objective, given what the public already knows about the case.

Hoffman was serving as an informant for TPD in a deal at Forest Meadows. There, she was supposed to meet Deneilo Bradshaw and Andrea Green. That's when the plan went wrong. Police lost contact with her and later found her murdered.

Bradshaw and Green are behind bars, but now the Hoffman family wants the City of Tallahassee to pay. They say police were negligent, the city says Hoffman was negligent one.

Resident in Tallahassee remember the case well and have mixed opinions about the jury pool.

Some believe it could be a fair trial, but others say the case and the story has gotten so much publicity that it would be hard for anyone in the area to remain objective.

Karen Heath is a Tallahassee resident who remembers the case and she sympathizes with the family, "I think it will be terribly traumatic for the parents to have to go through this all over again, but I understand the civil lawsuit and the necessity of it."

In the end, attorneys will have to find six objective jurors to decide if police were in fact negligent and if the city does in fact owe the family financial compensation in the death of Rachel Hoffman.

They hope to wrap up jury selection this week, and the trial is scheduled to begin Monday.

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UPDATED 1.4.2011 6:20pm by Julie Montanaro

Attorneys have wrapped up the first day of jury selection.

34 jurors have been asked to return to court Friday for further questioning.

Another 50 prospective jurors are scheduled to report tomorrow morning.
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[UPDATE] 1-4 12:50pm

Attorneys have taken a break and will resume questioning potential jurors at 1:30.

Of the 30 people questioned so far, 22 people have been asked to return Friday for further questioning.

Testimony is expected to begin on Monday.

______________________________

[UPDATE] 1-4 Noon

The family of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman and the city of Tallahassee are now squaring off in civil court.

The 54 prospective jurors reported to 3G this morning. Attorneys are trying to find just six jurors and three alternates to weigh the evidence in Hoffman versus Tallahassee.

Police informant Rachel Hoffman was killed in a botched drug sting in May 2008.

Her family is suing the city of Tally for negligence in her death. The city contends it was Hoffman who was negligent that day. Jurors are being questioned one by one behind closed doors. We sat in and listened. All of the prospective jurors except for one had heard about the case from the media. Most said they could set aside what they had heard and focus on the evidence, but one woman said there was no way she could do that. She even expressed her condolences to Hoffman's mother out the door.

Of the first dozen jurors questioned, nine were asked to come back on Friday for further questioning.

_____________________________

[UPDATE] 1-4 10:20am

Potential jurors are being questioned behind closed doors.

Attorneys are trying to find out if they would be able to serve for a month without undue hardship.

They are also questioning potential jurors about what they have heard about the case on the news or read about it in the paper.

The first eight people questioned had all seen media reports about Hoffman's murder.

One woman said she is under the impression that "somebody dropped the ball" and was leaning toward the city being at fault. The woman was asked to return for further questioning on Friday.

The judge says he will not excuse anyone just because they had seen media reports, because in his opinion "everybody" has heard about this case.

Another man said he had difficulty with the "reasonableness" of an operation that could and did lead to the death of a confidential informant. He said he would try to set aside those feelings and base his decision on the evidence in the case. He was also asked to return on Friday for further questioning.

A woman said she had seen media coverage of the Hoffman case for years, but said "there are two sides to every story" and the truth is usually somewhere "in the middle." She was asked to return on Friday.

One woman said as the mother of two daughters she "empathizes with the parents" and would not be able to set those feelings aside. As she left the room she paused and told Rachel Hoffman's mother "So sorry for your loss." She was excused from jury service.

Attorneys are also discussing whether any current city employees or retired city employees would be allowed to serve as jurors in the case or if they should be stricken for cause.

____________________________

[UPDATE] 1-4 8:59am

Jury selection is now underway in Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee. There are 54 potential jurors in courtroom 3G. The judge intends to question each of the potential jurors behind closed doors.

The family of slain police informant Rachel Hoffman is suing the police department for negligence in her death. The city contends it was Hoffman who was negligent.

Eyewitness News has a reporter in court. Stay with WCTV for details.

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[UPDATE] 1-4 8:15am

Rachel Hoffman was acting as a police informant back in 2008 when she was shot execution style during a drug buy. She had been sent by herself with about $13,000 in cash to buy drugs and a handgun from two men.

Andrea Green and Deneilo Bradshaw are serving life sentences for Hoffman's death. Her family is suing TPD and the city, claiming the officers coordinating and supervising the deal were negligent.

100 potential jurors will report to the courthouse over the next two days. Attorneys are trying to find six jurors and two or three alternates to weigh the evidence in this case.

For civil court, in most cases, it comes down to two basic questions: Was anyone negligent? And what damages were caused as a result of that negligence?

We'll have a reporter in the courtroom covering this trial so stay tuned to Eyewitness News.

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UPDATED 1.3.2012 by Julie Montanaro

The family of a slain police informant and the City of Tallahassee are about to face off in court.

Rachel Hoffman was killed in a botched drug sting in 2008 and tomorrow attorneys will try to find a jury to decide if Tallahassee Police are to blame for her death.

Andre Green and Deneilo Bradshaw are both serving life sentences for the May 2008 murder of police informant Rachel Hoffman.

Her parents are now headed back to the same courtroom to sue the Tallahassee Police Department for negligence in her death.

"We are looking forward to holding the Tallahassee Police Department accountable for setting this nightmare into action," Hoffman's mother Margie Weiss said after Bradshaw's trial in December 2009.

The City of Tallahassee changed 11 policies in the wake of Hoffman's death, including policies which deal with confidential informants, buy busts and flash money. Four of its officers were disciplined. Officer Ryan Pender was fired.

"In this case we are talking about good police officers who made
mistakes, but we have to be held accountable," City Manager Anita Favors said when the city released TPD's internal affairs report in September 2008.

Pender told an arbitrator Hoffman did not follow orders that night and went to meet Green and Bradshaw on a lonely dirt road miles from the agreed upon spot at Forest Meadows.

The Hoffman family attorney balked when Pender was rehired in 2010 in the wake of an arbitrator's decision.

"We're right back to where we started," Lance Block said in April 2010, "Ryan Pender is back at work. All the other officers involved are working. The city is denying any wrongdoing and placing all the blame on Rachel Hoffman."

Soon it will be up to a jury to decide if the police department is liable in Hoffman's death and if it is, how much it should pay for it.

Jury selection in the civil trial begins tomorrow morning.

100 jurors have been summoned to the courthouse over the next two days.

Attorneys will choose six jurors and two or three alternates for what is expected to be a month-long trial.

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Four years after a 23-year-old Tallahassee police informant was killed in a botch drug raid, the civil suit may finally be heading to trial.

Jury selection for the Rachel Hoffman wrongful death suit against the city of Tallahassee is slated to start this Wednesday at the Leon County Courthouse.

Hoffman was acting as a police informant back in 2008 when shot execution style during a drug buy. She had been sent by herself with about $13,000 in cash to try and buy drugs and a handgun from two suspects.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Mike on Jan 12, 2012 at 11:26 AM
    And TPD and Friends keep the lies coming on and on. The only "Trust, Loyalty and Commitment" TPD has is to themselves, and protecting their now completely dirtied reputation from their own deadly incompetence, negligence and further dishonesty for lying and refusing to accept responsibility for having caused a murder.
  • by Ann on Jan 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM
    YOU PEOPLE ARE DISGUSTING. How can you easily and so insensitively talk about a young womans life like that. You talk like she was some hoodlum thug who was a drug addict. Rachel Hoffman, among many other young girls, got caught. This does NOT make her a bad person ESPECIALLY saying she deserved to die. If your daughter had made some mistake could you just say, "Well, she experimented with drugs (like the common 20something year old) so she deserves to die" She wasn't properly informed and aware of the consequences of doing a drug sting like that. I'm a 21 year old and I can see her reasoning to agree to do that. She was fooled into it. Even that being said, the police should have stopped it before it went that far. She thought she was being protected by the police. And she wasn't. And too the person that said "Greedy for profiting off the death of your child", did you even consider the amount of money cases like that cost. Not to mention the fact that her mother passed a law preventing this from ever happening to a human life. It's so easy for you people to hide behind a computer screen and rip apart this family. They have been dealing with the unjust loss of their daughter for years. Put yourself in their shoes, if this was your brother, daughter, a best friend.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM in reply to Ann
      It's all TPD and their friends, trying to save face for having caused a murder. They've been lying for 4 years and now TPD has been SPANKED HARD AGAIN, and they still refuse to accept the truth and responsibility.
  • by Jake on Jan 11, 2012 at 07:24 AM
    Wow, over a thousand comments!!! This story is a winner!!! Go WCTV!
    • reply
      by Grace on Jan 11, 2012 at 09:17 AM in reply to Jake
      It's just because one individual can make a gazillion comments using gazillion different names (whoever names their child "To the Self rightous Haters"?). Add to that the "anonymous" ones. It's obvious there is one person who made at least 500 of these comments. Yes, pathetic life they have! WCTV should lock you into a "screen name" so everyone knows the same loser is making the same comments over and over. Pretty obvious anyway - few have such unreasonable hate for anything TPD, and need to justify drug dealers.
  • by chris Location: tally on Jan 11, 2012 at 04:48 AM
    GREEDY GREEDY GREEDY Parents who want to profit off the death of their ill parented child. Guess they miss the drug money they may have gotten from future sales by their daughter. Why should they profit? If it is not about the money lets see them give it all to charity.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 05:40 AM in reply to chris
      Vendetta. It is a mafia thing.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 09:18 AM in reply to chris
      something tells me they aren't very charitable people....
  • by Adult Child of an alcoholic on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:53 AM
    Law Officers should not be permitted to determine who life has value and who's can be sacrificed for their personal career advancement. They were right to sue to prevent you all from continuing to do that. I don't care that she was an addict. My mother was an addict and I assure you her life had value and if you had done this to her I would be suing you too.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 09:07 AM in reply to Adult Child of an alcoholic
      yes, we heard you the last five times you parroted this. You keep repeating it does NOT make it true. Rachel herself was the one who decided that her life did not mean more than pushing drugs, even though her parents had SACRIFICED for her to get a college education. That's the sad fact - she herself chose such a sorry path in life.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:09 PM in reply to
        It does not mean LE should have the right to kill her or put her in a position to be killed. They had no business doing what they did.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM in reply to Adult Child of an alcoholic
      She chose her path. Plain and simple. She did not have to, or had any obligation to, help TPD. She chose to because she could not face up to the punishment of her own crimes. This wasn't her first bust. She was on probation for drug dealing when she was re-arrested.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 06:26 PM in reply to
        And should she have been run over in the parking lot by a careless cop, the city would be liable. LET IT GO.
  • by To the Self rightous Haters on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:27 AM
    Just because people have children out of wedlock, does not mean LE has the right to sacrifice those children for their drug bust. Their life has just as much value as you child's life does.
  • by BorderShift Location: Slingerland on Jan 10, 2012 at 06:51 PM
    Lisa: "Yes, Your Honor, I was carelessly spinning my pistol around my finger like Wild Bill Hickok and it discharged, striking and killing the informant. But it was her fault, your Honor! If she had not CHOSEN to do drugs, she never would have CHOSEN to be an informant, and she would not have CHOSEN to be there in my squad car that day." Judge: "Sorry you can't face reality, Lisa."
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:49 AM in reply to BorderShift
      You're really sounding ridiculous.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 06:42 AM in reply to
        Well, you know, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 05:21 PM
    I say good riddance to people of such low character. I definitely would not vote for any politican who voted for this settlement. Florida seems to wallow in paying people of low character when they put themselves in the position. Time to get a back bone and say no to these idiots.
    • reply
      by To the Self rightous Haters on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:31 AM in reply to
      Low character? When did men who serve young women up to thugs become the shinning example of men with good Character?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 12, 2012 at 11:29 AM in reply to
      TPD caused the murder with their own lethal negligence and failing to follow many of their own instructions. The City realized that THIS jury was going to agree with the Grand Jury that you and TPD have been trying to discredit for four years. Justice has been finally served, although it's a shame payment wasn't made high enough for you to accept the truth and respect the decision.
  • by Bill E Location: Disgusted in Tally on Jan 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
    Regardless of your opinion on the war on drugs, you have to look at the facts here. TPD used a female CI. Age of equality, no problem. TPD used this CI who was arrested for Marijuana to plan a purchase of marijuana, ecstasy, and a gun. Way more than she was involved in. Her "protectors" were operating in an area they weren't familiar with. All cops should know the area they operate in for several reasons. In fact they are required. So yes, Ms. Hoffman did disobey orders, but the agency that placed her there, they should have a plan B,C,D,E, and F. They didn't. So lets recap: A girl with no history of guns or hard drugs was told to purchase these things from 2 male suspects. TPD knew they had a gun, because they told her to buy it. These murderers knew she had $13,000 cash because of the amount of illegal contraband that TPD ordered Ms. Hoffman to buy. TPD then lost her as a result of poor planning, and is murdered by the same gun TPD told her to buy. Not going to trial saved Tally tons of money. To all who responded on this board: may the joy you spread be the joy you receive in all of life.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 02:25 PM in reply to Bill E
      if i am not mistaken, she was caught with ecstasy, so because she may not have been caught in the past, it was likely she had sold them before. saying it is a fact that she never sold "hard" drugs or had weapons, is, in fact, not fact at all.
      • reply
        by Adult Child of an Alcoholic on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:37 AM in reply to
        You can not stop an addict from using. You can choose not to profit off of their addiction. You want to end the sale of pot allow people to grown it just not sell it for profit. You want to end alcoholism, allow people to make it just not buy it. It as simple as that. Our laws make it profitable to be a pusher of alcohol and drugs. Our laws are what create the Demand for suppliers to supply. If the addicts could produce their own their would be no need for suppliers or their pushers. They only do it because it is profitable for them to do it. You want them to stop doing it than take the profit out of it.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 03:02 PM in reply to Bill E
      Listen TPD you all were wrong. Mrs Hoffman was not your subordinate. If she was unable to follow your procedures that you all go to school and receive training on that is all the more reason why you should not be using these young girls for this dangerous activity. Get it. They did not loose her. They set her up. We were not born yesterday. It was a deliberate setup.
      • reply
        by Bear on Jan 10, 2012 at 05:25 PM in reply to
        Rachael Hoffman did not flow the rules!!!! First She trusted too many, Second, She talked about what she was going to do, Third Drug dealers has eyes & ears on all colleges and universities, Fourth she wanted to start dealing the "Hard Stuff", Fifth this state does not need Rachael's Law, It has been proven that once a defense Lawyer get a few mixed Drinks in then, they talk like a tape player running on nitro oxide and racing fuel. Rachel's law is one of Charlie Crist's big mistakes.
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          by Anonymous on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:11 PM in reply to Bear
          She was not your subordinate, you should not have been acting like she was. You should not have been giving her rules.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jan 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM in reply to
        Mrs. Hoffman? who's that? Her mother wasn't even married to Mr. Hoffman.... 23 yr old = young girls, wow, better to keep quiet than sound so stupid!
        • reply
          by Bear on Jan 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM in reply to
          I happen to know of three successful C.I's that did work for a Federal law enforcement agency , in a different part of the United States. they acheived 25 convictions 4 major dealers,4 homicides and the youngest was doing work in the high school that he was attending, they even got credit for busting a Dirty Cop, He is in a super-max prison for life without parole,probation.
        • reply
          by To the Self rightous Haters on Jan 11, 2012 at 03:44 AM in reply to
          My mother was an alcoholic, that does not mean her life did not have value. Ms Hoffman's father loved her that is why his name was listed on her birth Certificate. You did not have the right to sacrifice his daughter life for your career advancement just because you are alleging the child was conceived out of wedlock. You do not have the right to determine who life has value and who's can be sacrificed for your career advancement.
  • by Bear on Jan 10, 2012 at 11:09 AM
    I seriously doubt that it will any Legislative consideration. In fact in the long run Lets hope Rachel's Law gets repealed, A C.I does not need to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can not shut up after they get a few beers or a few mixed Drinks in them.
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