Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From FL AG Bill McCollum

AG <> Wed, May 13, 2009 at 2:35 PM
The Office of Attorney General Bill McCollum has received your email
regarding your complaint against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
and the state attorney’s office.

I must advise you that the Attorney General has no legal authority to
investigate the actions of law enforcement officers as they pursue their
official duties. You may wish to voice your concerns to Florida Department
of Law Enforcement's Office of Inspector General at:

Office of Inspector General
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Post Office Box 1489
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489
Telephone: (850) 410-7225

The Office of Inspector General is established to provide a central point
for coordination of and responsibility for activities that promote
accountability, integrity, and efficiency in government. If you believe
that a criminal violation has occurred, it is the responsibility of the
state attorney to prosecute. This office does not have jurisdiction over
the actions of the state attorney. The state attorneys are independent
constitutional officers; they are not a part of the Attorney General’s
Office and this office has no authority over the prosecutorial decisions
made by such officers. I would note, however, that the Governor, under
part II of chapter 27, Florida Statutes, has the authority to issue
executive orders assigning 'special prosecutors,' which are state attorneys
assigned to handle criminal matters outside of their particular circuits.
See section 27.14, Florida Statutes, which provides that if a state
attorney is "disqualified to represent the state in any investigation,
case, or matter pending in the courts of his or her circuit or if, for any
other good and sufficient reason, the Governor determines that the ends of
justice would be best served, the Governor may, by executive order filed
with the Department of State, either order an exchange of circuits or of
courts between such state attorney and any other state attorney or order an
assignment of any state attorney to discharge the duties of the state
attorney with respect to one or more specified investigations, cases, or
matters, specified in general in the executive order of the Governor." And
see section 943.03(2), Florida Statutes, which states that “[u]pon specific
direction by the Governor in writing to the executive director, the
department [of law enforcement] shall investigate the misconduct, in
connection with their official duties, of public officials and employees
and of members of public corporations and authorities subject to suspension
or removal by the Governor.” The contact information for the Governor's
Office is:

Executive Office of the Governor
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001

As to your complaints about your attempts to obtain public records, it is
the local state attorney, not the Attorney General, who is responsible for
prosecuting violations of the public records law. Since your complaint is
with the state attorney’s office, you may wish to contact the Governor’s
Office on this matter. As noted above, the Governor has the authority to
appoint a special prosecutor when a state attorney has a conflict of

While this office has no specific enforcement authority over the public
records law, we do operate an informal mediation program to assist in
obtaining records. The program is voluntary and all sides must agree to
consider mediation if the program is to be initiated. It is not intended to
serve as a forum for determining whether an agency has or has not violated
the law. If you are interested in participating in the voluntary mediation
program, please contact Anna Phillips, Mediation Coordinator, at the
following address: The Office of the Attorney General, PL-01, The Capitol,
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050; telephone (850) 245-0140; email: We will need a list of the records you
have requested and to whom the request was made. We will then contact
those agencies to determine whether they wish to participate in mediation.

You may also wish to consider consulting a private attorney if you need any
legal advice. A private attorney would be able to provide you with the
legal advice this office is precluded from offering. If you do not know an
attorney, The Florida Bar offers a Lawyer Referral Service, which you may
contact toll free at (800)342-8060, or by mail at 651 East Jefferson
Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300.

Thank you for contacting the Attorney General’s Office.

Joslyn Wilson
Assistant Attorney General

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