Allied Vets’ success appears due in part to Carroll’s patronage. While a state representative in 2009 and 2010, she ran a consulting firm that represented Allied Vets, and she sponsored a bill legalizing internet casinos. (Carroll later withdrew the bill from consideration.) She continued to support Allied Vets after Scott chose her as a running mate in 2010, appearing in an ad for the nonprofit.
In an email statement announcing her resignation, Carroll insisted she had done nothing illegal, but was leaving office to avoid sinking Scott’s agenda. “Although I do not believe I or my company are targets of the investigation, I could not allow my company’s former affiliation with Allied Veterans to distract from the administration’s important work for the families of Florida,” she wrote. Scott echoed this in the only public statement he’s made: “I have no knowledge that she broke the law.” See the full video below:
If Carroll’s behavior—profiting while in the Legislature by freelance consulting for a firm that stood to gain from legislation she’d introduced—is legal, it still raises serious questions about the partiality of her public policy work. How closely might she coordinate with groups that have a financial interest in her work, and what impact did that have on her decisions? Last year, I saw firsthand how Carroll worked hand-in-glove with military contractors as a key member of the state’s Defense Support Task Force, shooting down Osama bin Laden in an F-35 cockpit simulator and cheerleading for defense dollars to pour into Florida; more recently, after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Carroll headed the state committee that reviewed Florida’s radically permissive “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law…and concluded, along with gun lobbyists, that the law worked fine.
Why is it legal for legislators in Florida to make big bucks by consulting while they’re legislating?
Carroll’s involvement with Allied Vets raises a larger question: Why is it legal for legislators in Florida (and elsewhere) to make big bucks by consulting while they’re legislating? Elected state officials are part-timers, working only a single 60-day legislative session each year, meaning they’re given great leeway to do outside work. That “creates a situation that forces elected officials to serve two masters: the people who elected them, and the employers who employ them,” recently elected Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemons, who sits on the ethics committee, told the Palm Beach Post. “If you are employed as an insurance agent, or with a trial attorney, a bank, or as a teacher, you may often be put in the position of having to choose between your employment (feeding your family) and what is best for your constituents.” The result, he argues, is “bad government.”
Lawyers for George Zimmerman, who has been charged in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, announced Thursday that their defendant has sued NBC for defamation.
Zimmerman is also suing two people fired by the network and an owned-and-operated affiliate for their role in airing edited audio of a 911 call that was made before the shooting. Also being sued is one person still employed by the network, as well as the network itself.
Florida prosecutors seeking to convict a neighborhood watch volunteer of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager may be hamstrung by the state’s own laws in a case defense lawyers said will also hinge on physical evidence and emergency call recordings.
George Zimmerman shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, a central-Florida town of 54,000 people north of Orlando. Zimmerman, 28, told authorities in the aftermath that he shot Martin in self-defense, a potent claim in a state with a law allowing the use of force instead of retreat by citizens who fear for their life.
Trayvon Martin’s parents Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton reacted to the news of George Zimmerman’s arrest and second-degree murder charges for the killing of their son.
Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law enables individuals who feel threatened in a public place to “meet force with force,” rather than back away. The law prevented police from arresting Zimmerman in February, officials said at the time, and may play a role in derailing any conviction, according to several Florida defense lawyers.
Bruce Fleischer, a veteran criminal defense attorney in Miami, said what Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher and what he said in his first statement to police will be key to his case. Any evidence showing he believed “his life was in danger” will be central to a self-defense claim.
“The argument is going to be, ‘What did he believe and what did he perceive?”’ said Fleischer, who has defended dozens of people accused of murder and manslaughter and has argued self-defense in the past. That assertion by Zimmerman, he said, is the biggest obstacle faced by the prosecution.
“It’s a recognized defense under the law, and Stand Your Ground has enhanced it,” he said.
As controversy over the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin swirls, all sides are anxiously awaiting a decision this week by a special prosecutor whether to bring charges against the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed the teen.
The case could be taken up as early as Tuesday by a grand jury that is expected to convene in Seminole County, Florida.
But, like so many details of the case itself, it is unclear how the special prosecutor plans to handle possible legal proceedings.
Angela Corey, the special prosecutor, has to make one of three choices: File charges, drop the case or send it to a grand jury.
Two prosecutors are working to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against 28-year-old George Zimmerman for the February 26 shooting in Sanford, Florida.
Corey said she has never used a grand jury to decide on charges in a justifiable homicide case.
“We do a thorough investigation. We make that decision ourselves,” she said.
It’s unlikely that Federal hate crime charges would succeed, and the reason this has blown up to become a national case is because the local sheriff failed to do his duty. Any murder of this nature needs a full investigation and arrest, stand your ground law or not.
Suspects need to be arrested and then released if cleared so that the community knows that the murder is being investigated as a murder, justifiable or not. Arrests are also needed so that other would-be xenophobic vigilantes know that they don’t have license to murder because of the stand your ground law.
Republicans joined the call for an investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on Friday, adding rare, bipartisan support in the racially-charged case.
The main Republican presidential contenders each decried the shooting of Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, allegedly by a neighborhood watch member, and joined with President Obama and other Democrats in supporting a Department of Justice investigation into the incident.
“What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy. There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity,” Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney said in a statement.
Rick Santorum, Romney’s main rival for the GOP nomination, added: “It’s a horrible case, and it’s chilling to hear what happened … I think it’s pretty clear the problems we’re seeing in this case, and hopefully the state Attorney General and local community is reacting and responding, and hopefully this matter will be an example of what law enforcement has to do in a case like this.”