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Croft, So. This statement from the Lee case gave birth to what has become known in the common law as the Police Secrets Rule. Generally speaking, that rule recognizes that certain police records are too sensitive to be made public and will therefore be exempt from public inspection. See Lee, supra , and AGO This judicially created exemption has its limitations, however, and has never been used to restrict such police records as crime and arrest reports from being publicly inspected.
See, e. In the Legislature added s. See s. That section effectuates the policy of the law by providing that "[e]very person having custody of public records shall permit them to be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under his supervision by any person. This same section of the law went on, however, to exempt certain public records from the inspection provisions by providing that "[a]ll public records which presently and deemed by law to be confidential or which are prohibited from being inspected by the public.
Focusing on the language "deemed by law to be confidential," the Second District Court of Appeal in the case of Wisher v. News-Press Publishing Co.
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While this decision seemed consistent with previous court cases which had held that some records not exempted from public inspection by a specific provision of statutory law could nevertheless be exempt if it was in the interest of public policy, the Legislature objected to this judicial construction of s. Consequently, it amended the law in by changing the language "deemed by law to be confidential" to read "provided by law to be confidential.
In Wait v.
Florida Power and Light Co. As the court stated, "[i]f the common law privileges are to be included as exemptions, it is up to the legislature, and not this Court, to amend the statute. The Wait decision meant, of course, that the continued efficacy of the Police Secrets Rule, with its common-law heritage, was in considerable doubt. Reacting to this uncertainty, the Legislature amended the Public Records Law during the session to provide a statutory basis for exempting certain police records from public inspection. The amendment to the Public Records Law expressly exempts from the disclosural provisions of s.
Among the records and information so exempted from public inspection are the identity of confidential sources s. The foregoing information is confidential and not subject to public inspection wherever it may be found. I would note that s. Consequently, should any of the foregoing information be contained in a record which is otherwise open to public inspection, it should be excised from the record; the record then should be held open for inspection.
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The amendment also exempts from the disclosural provisions of the Public Records Law active criminal intelligence information and active criminal investigative information. Criminal intelligence information is defined as "information with respect to an identifiable person or group of persons collected by a criminal justice agency in an effort to anticipate, prevent, or monitor possible criminal activity.
Section To be considered "active," criminal intelligence information must relate to "intelligence gathering conducted with a reasonable, good faith belief that it will lead to detection of ongoing or reasonably anticipated criminal activities. Criminal investigative information is defined as "information with respect to an identifiable person or group of persons compiled by a criminal justice agency in the course of conducting a criminal investigation of a specific act or omission, including, but not limited to, information derived from laboratory tests, reports of investigators or informants, or any type of surveillance.
To be considered "active," such information must relate to "an ongoing investigation which is continuing with a reasonable, good faith anticipation of securing an arrest or prosecution in the foreseeable future. In addition, criminal intelligence and investigative information is to be considered "active" while directly related to a pending prosecution or appeal.