TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL- The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist today asked the full United States Supreme Court to take up the ongoing Florida case concerning crime scene and autopsy photos of Carlie Brucia, the 11-year-old Sarasota murder victim. The case involves the desire of some members of the news media to view these images while the Brucia family, among others including the Attorney General, maintains that Florida law prevents anyone outside of those involved in the trial of her convicted killer, Joseph Smith, from viewing them.
Following the Florida Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case and its decision to lift the stay then in effect, the Attorney General asked for a stay from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Justice Kennedy declined to issue a stay, prompting today’s action, known as filing a Writ of Certiorari.
Crist said on November 30 that federal action was needed in order to protect the rights of the Brucia family, asserting that existing state law and the Florida Constitution provide for an exemption such as this to state public records laws. In addition, the Attorney General expressed disappointment that the Florida Supreme Court did not decide the matter despite a state appeals court having declared it to be “a question of Certified Great Public Importance.”
The Attorney General has also expressed concern that despite assurances from those viewing the photos that they would not be published, there are no guarantees that others would not seek to do so. A concurring opinion from the November 22, 2005, ruling by the Second District Court of Appeal noted that the “… United States Supreme Court has not yet upheld a prior restraint …” This means that the Court has not permitted the prevention of publishing – different from viewing – material such as spoken words or images. The concurring opinion further stated that this issue “… remains for another day.”
“We will continue to fight to protect the dignity of Carlie Brucia and not allow the further victimization of her family,” said Crist. “The damage from having these images circulated in public view is incalculable.”
Florida’s filing for the Writ of Certiorari is available at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-6JPRNP/$file/Smith_petition.pdf