criminal justice


Gun sales across the country are surging and in Florida, there have been several record-setting days in the past few weeks. Tallahassee-based Red Hills Arms is struggling to keep up with demand and its owners say as is the case with other gun stores, it's seeing a boom in first-time buyers.

Florida Supreme Court
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Law enforcement and court officials are working to keep coronavirus out of their systems. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil says his department is working to create more space inside their detention centers to comply with social distancing recommendations. That could involve releasing some inmates and using more discretion when it comes to booking new ones.

Man in suit and tie smiles as he walks up to the podium. Beside him are three women.
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

A man wrongfully imprisoned for almost 43 years could soon get more than $2 million from the state. The proposal cleared the Florida House on Tuesday and is on its way to the governor's desk.

Meralyn Kirkland stands at the podium with her six-year-old granddaughter, Kaia Rolle to recount her granddaughterts arrest in Orlando after throwing a tantrum at school.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

The Florida House has approved a measure that includes a plan to curb the arrest of children under 10. It came after last-minute negotiations and personal pleas from six-year-old Kaia Rolle and her grandmother.

A man wrongfully imprisoned for more than 40 years could be awarded about $2 million if his claim clears the Florida House and Senate. Two bills moving alongside that claim could help other people found innocent receive compensation as well.

Tom Flanigan

A new process that connects to a national DNA database now awaits all felony suspects booked into the Leon County Detention Facility. The goal is to connect more suspects with unsolved crimes.

Jail inmates playing chess in cell, prison hobby
motortion / Adobe Stock

With time winding down bills that haven’t gotten a first hearing are starting to near their death. One measure running out of time would allow non-violent prisoners to be released sooner. It would increase the amount of time off for good behavior. Gain time bill sponsors are trying to rally support.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is pushing the state clemency board to ease its rules and clear the way for more felons to regain their rights. The move comes amid an ongoing court battle over 2018's Amendment 4 which restored voting rights to most felons, and a law implementing the amendment which requires them to pay restitution, fines and fees before registering to vote.

Chinnapong / Adobe Stock

Florida lawmakers say it should be a crime for fertility doctors to inseminate patients with their own sperm without consent. Several cases have popped up recently as the popularity of at-home genetic testing has grown--revealing the actions of unscrupulous doctors. But most states have no laws against the act.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

As Republican and Democratic Florida lawmakers push criminal justice reform bills through both chambers, law enforcement groups published a report they say legislators should contemplate. The Florida Sheriffs and Police Chiefs associations are trying to prove low-level drug offenders are violent, and took that argument to the Capitol Tuesday.


More than 40,000 voters in Leon County are not registered to vote with either the Democratic or Republican party. That means they can’t vote in the primary. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley recently visited the Leon County Detention Center to register voters behind bars. 

Business concept with calculator, judge gavel, money and documents.
Evlakhov Valeriy / Adobe Stock

More than 97% of criminal cases in the U.S. are resolved through plea deals. But sometimes those offers are better for defendants who have more money. Lawmakers say that’s not fair and are trying to fix it.

Jamee Johnson
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Twenty-two-year-old Jamee Johnson had plans to graduate this Spring from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University alongside his sister. But in December he was killed by police officers during a traffic stop in Jacksonville. His family is demanding more answers and some lawmakers joined that call at the Capitol Thursday.

Local school board, city and county commissioners could soon be allowed to carry guns during public meetings. Rep. Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is sponsoring the plan; it cleared a key committee Tuesday.

Rich Pedroncelli, File / AP Photo

State estimates show Florida could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if it were to allow certain inmates to be released from prison early.

Man speaks at podium. He's surrounded by women, one of which holds a sign that reads, "Justice 4 Tammy."
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

Dignity Florida is backing bills aimed to change how pregnant incarcerated women are treated. The push comes after a woman gave birth alone in a jail cell. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Senate Appropriations Chair Rob Bradley’s marquee criminal justice reform bill is headed to a vote by the full chamber. The measure would put a cap on sentences for low-level drug possession, and allow judges to use discretion in sentencing traffickers.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

A bill that would remove time limits for prosecuting sexual battery on minors cleared its first hurdle in the House Wednesday. Lawmakers heard powerful testimony from a survivor of sexual assault, who now advocates for victims.

Close up look at marijuana plant growing in Gardena, CA
Richard Vogel, File / AP Photo

A Republican lawmaker wants to change Florida’s medical marijuana system as well as legalize the drug for adults. 

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) hasn’t been shy in the past when it comes to criticizing the current system and now wants to dismantle it.

Senator Tom Lee's plan to close the so-called "gun show loophole" and require background checks for private sales is already running into headwinds. Lee  was tasked by the Senate President Bill Galvano to come up with ways to combat gun violence in Florida. His answer comes in the form of  Senate Bill 7028. It was taken up Monday by the Senate's Infrastructure and Security Committee.

blue and red lights flash on a police car. The sky behind the lights is dark.
Photo by Andrea Ferrario on Unsplash

It’s been about five months since the Tallahassee police Department joined the A&E series “Live PD.” The show features local officers doing police work and makings arrests. TPD’s Damon Miller talked with WFSU about how what’s on the show might differ from reality.

Tom Flanigan

The controversy over the naming of Lawrence Revell as Tallahassee's new chief of police continued earlier during the final week of 2019. Meanwhile the new chief was moving quickly to name a second-in-command.

Florida Supreme Court building in front of blue sky
Nick Evans / WFSU

Interviews are scheduled to start next week for two new Florida Supreme Court Justices.

A man in a police uniform smiles in front of an American flag
Tallahassee Police Department

During a Thursday morning press conference, Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad named Lawrence Revell Tallahassee's new chief of police. The move comes after Antoni Gilliam, who had been named chief earlier this month, rescinded his acceptance of the job.

A group of men gesture at one another while engaged in conversation
Regan McCarthy

Tallahassee City Manager Reese Goad will announce the new chief of police Thursday. The announcement comes after the recently named chief, Antonio Gilliam, rescinded his acceptance of the job.