Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Impartial justice in case tied to officers' killings

Too often, federal judges can appear all-powerful, arbitrary and arrogant. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr.'s thoughtful handling of the case against Cortnee Brantley, whose boyfriend is charged with killing two Tampa police officers, broke those stereotypes.

Brantley was found guilty by a jury of failing to warn authorities that Dontae Morris — a passenger in her car on that terrible day in June 2010 — was a felon with a loaded gun. Authorities say Morris shot and killed Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab as they moved to arrest him after pulling Brantley over for a traffic stop.

The killings outraged the community, then kept it on edge for the four days it took police to capture Morris. With Morris' trial expected in November, Brantley's case was the opening round in the search for justice.

Throughout the case, Moody stood for fair play and the presumption of innocence. He initially threw out the obscure charge against Brantley. When an appeals court ordered it reinstated, Moody barred police from wearing their uniforms in court to avoid prejudicing the jury and later took weeks to analyze the jury's decision before entering a judgment. He applied the law and the jury's verdict in a deliberate fashion, and he avoided labeling Brantley either a scapegoat or a victim. The year and one day sentence he imposed this week holds Brantley appropriately accountable. Moody acknowledged the loss of the officers remains as emotional for him as for the rest of the city, yet he did not let those emotions affect his judicial reasoning.

Comments
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the stateís fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the November b...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region wonít make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Floridaís citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nationís health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

St. Petersburg city officials are exploring how to cut down on single-use plastic straws, a commendable effort to make the city even more environmentally minded. But to succeed, City Council members should craft a modest, reasonable restriction that ...
Published: 04/10/18