Prosecutors seek OK to create phony files
By DAN CHRISTENSEN AND PATRICK DANNER
Florida’s prosecutors are floating a proposal to the Legislature to give them the power to secretly falsify public court records — with a judge’s approval — for undercover law enforcement purposes.
Spurred by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, the draft bill would limit the authority to manufacture and plant fake documents in court files to 180 days. But it also provides for an unlimited number of 30-day extensions.
“Judges would be very involved in the monitoring. It all has to go through a judge,” said Arthur I. ‘Buddy’ Jacobs, general counsel for the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which supports the bill.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida opposes the idea.
“The fundamental problem is that it so goes against our notion of the way our justice system ought to work,” said ACLU legislative director Randall Marshall. “How would we ever be able to trust anything in the judicial record knowing that something could be intentionally falsified with a judicial seal of approval?”
Tallahassee Public Defender Nancy Daniels said the proposal undermines constitutional protections for those charged with crimes.
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