The Florida Times-Union of Jacksonville, FL reports that District Attorney Angela Corey doesn’t think media should know anything of criminal cases before they go to trial:
“I don’t read any newspapers,” she said. “My people tell me what I need to know.”
Corey is not the only politician to say she doesn’t read newspapers. Former President George W. Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are among others known for saying something similar.
Corey said the media shouldn’t be allowed to report on high-profile cases because they often end up reporting things that are never heard by a jury. She mentioned text messages in the George Zimmerman murder trial that were reported by many media outlets but never presented as evidence during trial.
“The public doesn’t need to know anything about a case before it goes to trial,” she said.
Her office is fighting every day to keep the media out of their cases, said Corey, who’s handled some of the state’s most-watched cases such as Zimmerman, Cristian Fernandez, Marissa Alexander and now Michael Dunn.
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s attorney, pushed back – as did the president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation:
“I would not want to live in a world where Angela Corey can charge whatever she wants and the public doesn’t know about it,” O’Mara said.
He said he thinks public records laws work now, even if the public sometimes learns things that are never discussed at trial.
“As long as we have an effective jury selection process, which we do, it shouldn’t be a problem for someone to receive a fair trial,” O’Mara said.
Barbara Petersen, president of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation, said Corey’s views were “baloney.”
“The whole purpose of our public records laws is accountability,” Petersen said. “And it’s especially important to hold prosecutors and law enforcement accountable.”
If the public doesn’t know what’s happening, prosecutors and law enforcement are more likely to abuse their power and withhold crucial information in a case, Petersen said.
Read the full story here.