St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Bill may put a stop to inmate drivers
  • Panther death offers hope
  • Man pounds 10-foot gator with rock to free child
  • 3 from Tampa are on panel to protect bases
  • Around the state: Big boom set in bomb test
  • Legislature: Bill alters law on autopsy photos
  • Bill puts limits on suits against some polluters
  • How many classrooms? 2,602, new data say
  • Nursing home showdown begins
  • Hurricane forecast gains 2 days
  • Cops to chat with Heimlich hoaxer
  • Family fights over boys who killed dad

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
    Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times


    Bill alters law on autopsy photos

    Today is the eighth day of the 60-day session.

    By LUCY MORGAN, Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 11, 2003

    A bill limiting access to autopsy photos was amended Monday in an effort to spare surviving family members from having to view photos to acquire them.

    The bill to make autopsy photos exempt from Florida's public records law was originally passed two years ago after NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash at the Daytona Beach Speedway.

    Earnhardt's widow, Teresa, requested passage of the law after the Orlando Sentinel requested copies of her late husband's autopsy photos.

    The 2001 bill, rushed through the Legislature after thousands of NASCAR fans wrote to support Mrs. Earnhardt, said only surviving family members would have access to autopsy photos.

    Rod Smith, D-Alachua, is the sponsor of a bill that would allow survivors such as Mrs. Earnhardt to designate someone else to view or obtain the photographs and other autopsy records.

    Smith said the language in the original bill placed a hardship on family members who didn't want to see autopsy photos. The constitutionality of the original bill has been challenged by a number of news organizations. Lower courts upheld the law but those decisions have been appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, which has yet to rule.

    Crist seeks more authority

    A bill that would expand the civil rights authority of Attorney General Charlie Crist was approved Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Crist said the extra authority is needed for situations such as one that developed in Perry when a bar owner refused to serve a black member of the Maryland Assembly.

    Federal law would allow a civil rights lawsuit to be filed, but the state has no similar authority, Crist told committee members.

    "It's important to me," said Allison Bethel, head of the civil rights division for Crist and former attorney general Bob Butterworth. "We should be able to handle these cases with our own laws without the need for federal intervention."

    The bill passed unanimously. It goes next to the Senate Appropriations Committee. A similar bill filed in the House is scheduled for a committee hearing Wednesday.

    Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk