State’s Attorney Sigmeister will never investigate violations of the Sunshine Law in WS

In Attorney General Opinion 04-15, the issue considered was whether a tape recording of a staff meeting was a public record in light of Shevin v Byron, Harless Schaffer, Reid & Associates, Inc.  In that case, the Florida Supreme Court contrasted public records which it considered to be records intended to communicate, perpetuate, or formalize information with materials prepared as drafts or notes, which it characterized as “precursors” of governmental records not intended to be final evidence of the knowledge recorded.  This office concluded that tape recordings were public records since they were made at the request of the executive director as an independent record of the proceedings and unlike tapes or notes taken by a secretary as dictation, were intended to perpetate the discussion at a staff meeting.

 

The Florida Supreme Court has stated there is no exception to the Sunshine Law which would allow closed-door hearings or deliberations when a board or commission is acting in a “quasi-judicial”  Thus, the fact that a board or commission is acting in a quasi-judicial capacity does not remove it from the (reach) of section 286.011 Florida Statutes.

Any determination of a violation of the Government in the Sunshine or the Public Records Law is the province of the State Attorney in the judicial circuit in which the complaint is filed.  This office (Attorney General) is not a fack finder and has no authority to investigate whether a violation of law has occurred or prosecute such a violation

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