Gov. Scott’s pipeline investment gets a boost from Florida environmental regulators

Gov. Rick Scott

By Dan Christensen
State regulators are quietly backing the award of a crucial environmental permit to a company that wants to build a controversial $3-billion natural gas pipeline in North Florida. The company’s investors include Gov. Rick Scott.

Billionaire car dealer Braman also gives big to Lopez-Cantera’s Senate run

Norman Braman, left and Carlos Lopez-Cantera

By Francisco Alvarado
Having raised $5 million for Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations, billionaire automobile dealer Norman Braman is also betting big money on another Miami Republican who is seeking to succeed Rubio in the U.S. Senate in 2016, Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

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Hollywood neighbors beset by traffic fear further expansion by Ben Gamla school

Work on the new Ben Gamla school in Hollywood nears completion. Photo: William Gjebre

By William Gjebre
Representatives of a traffic-congested Hollywood neighborhood are expressing new fears regarding the Ben Gamla middle-high public charter school complex, now under construction, after discovering that ex-congressman Peter Deutsch, a top school official, is linked to acquisition of additional nearby properties which they say could be for future expansion.

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Trump money too hot to handle, but tainted donors back Miami-Dade mayor, opponent

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and School Board Member Raquel Regalado

By Francisco Alvarado
As Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez gears up for a tough 2016 re-election battle against Miami-Dade School Board Member Raquel Regalado, the political organizations supporting the two candidates are taking money from donors with scandalous histories.

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Evidence of police dishonesty leads to overturned convictions nationwide

Debra Jean Milke

By Nancy West
Maybe Debra Jean Milke masterminded the murder of her tow-haired son Christopher in Phoenix just before Christmas 1989 to collect the 4-year-old’s $5,000 life insurance policy.
Or maybe – as Milke has insisted all along – she was just the innocent victim of a corrupt cop with a proven pattern of lying who was out to win a conviction.

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Better late than never: Online access to court files arrives in South Florida


By Dan Christensen
Nearly two decades after the federal courts did it, state courts in South Florida and across the Sunshine State have begun to allow the public online access to documents contained in case files.

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More Medicare Advantage audits in South Florida and elsewhere reveal overcharges


By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
Government audits just released as the result of a lawsuit detail widespread billing errors in private Medicare Advantage health plans going back years, including overpayments of thousands of dollars a year for some patients.

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Federal judge tosses out town’s RICO suit against residents seeking public records

By Dan Moffett
The Coastal Star
Gulf Stream’s legal offensive against residents Martin O’Boyle and Chris O’Hare suffered a huge setback late last month when a federal judge in West Palm Beach threw out the town’s federal racketeering suit against the two men.

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Sex offender convinces appeal court to reverse Broward judge

Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach

By Dan Christensen
Every day, state prisoners flood Florida’s courts with appeals and pleadings about their cases that they’ve written themselves. Those pro se filings – Latin for “on his own behalf” – rarely get far. This spring, however, an inmate sex offender serving a life sentence convinced the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal that a Broward judge erred when she failed to order prosecutors to explain potentially serious discrepancies about his Miranda rights warning form.

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Bulldog Extra

By T. Christian Miller, ProPublica  FBI-seal

This story was co-published with The Atlantic.

QUANTICO, Va. — More than 30 years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigation launched a revolutionary computer system in a bomb shelter two floors beneath the cafeteria of its national academy. Dubbed the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, or ViCAP, it was a database designed to help catch the nation’s most violent offenders by linking together unsolved crimes. A serial rapist wielding a favorite knife in one attack might be identified when he used the same knife elsewhere. The system was rooted in the belief that some criminals’ methods were unique enough to serve as a kind of behavioral DNA — allowing identification based on how a person acted, rather than their genetic make-up. Full Story »


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