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Ex-DCF worker accused of falsifying records

State law enforcement agents are investigating allegations that a Department of Children and Families child-abuse case worker in the Panhandle falsified records, possibly leaving vulnerable children in danger.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has begun a preliminary inquiry into possible criminal charges, spokesman Al Dennis said Friday. No child was injured or died in the dozens of cases being investigated, DCF spokesman Bill Spann said.

Last month, DCF officials found 35 confidential child-abuse and neglect investigative files in a shed behind the house of fired case worker Allison Harris, records show. They should have been in a Pensacola DCF office.

The agency later fired Harris for "poor performance, negligence, (and) conduct unbecoming a public employee," records show.

Harris said Friday that because of the tremendous workload on DCF employees, it is "standard procedure to take the files home."

She said she closed the cases, stored them in a box and later forgot about them. She denied falsifying any records but said some documents might have been omitted from files because of the heavy volume of work.

Miami law professor, influential author dies

John Hart Ely, an influential constitutional law scholar and author who taught at Yale, Harvard and Stanford, where he served as dean of the law school from 1982 to 1987, has died.

Mr. Ely, 64, died Oct. 25 in Miami of cancer. He had taught at Stanford until 1996, when he moved to Florida as the Richard A. Hausler Professor of Law at the University of Miami.

Mr. Ely probably was best known for the first of his three books, Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review. Published in 1980, the book focused on the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in interpreting the Constitution and was dedicated to his mentor, Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The book was listed by the Journal of Legal Studies as the single book (of those published between 1978 and 2000) most frequently cited by lawyers.

Mr. Ely is survived by his wife, Florida state court judge Gisela Cardonne Ely; two sons, Robert, New York, and John, Washington, D.C.; and two grandchildren.

_ Compiled from wire reports