Coleman v. FL Attorney General (and Countrywide) re: 88,000 pages of Documents - FL v. CW Public Records

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Coleman v. FL Attorney General (and Countrywide) re: 88,000 pages of Documents – FL v. CW Public Records

Coleman v. FL Attorney General (and Countrywide) re: 88,000 pages of Documents – FL v. CW Public Records

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA
FIRST DISTRICT

CASE NO. 1D12-1513

JERRY COLEMAN, individually,

and

JERRY COLEMAN, P.L.
Appellants,

V.

ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA,
Appellee.

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SECOND
JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR LEON COUNTY, FLORIDA

L.T. CASE NO. 2008-CA-3218

AMENDED REPLY BRIEF OF APPELLANTS TO
ANSWER BRIEF OF COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC.

EXCERPTS:

The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th1 Circuit not long ago
decided a case dealing with facts sufficiently close in relevant respects to those we
respectfully ask this Court to resolve, Alley v. US. Dept. of Health & Human
Services, 590 F.3d 1195 (11th Cir. 2009)(citation omitted). In Alley an Alabama
resident made a Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (“FOIA”) request for
documents a Florida federal district court had enjoined a federal agency from
releasing pursuant to a FOIA request made 30 years earlier.

[…]

As we argued, both to this Court and below, it is undisputable that the
documents at issue are Florida public records as long as the Attorney General’s
office has them. Nat? Collegiate Athletic Ass ‘n v. Associated Press, 18 So.3d
1201 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009). And the office still possesses them.

2. THIS COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO ADDRESS EVERY
MATTER THAT COULD AFFECT THE RESOLUTION OF THE
CASE BE IT ONE RAISED BY THE PARTIES OR BY THE
COURT ON ITS OWN INITIATIVE AND IT SHOULD DO SO IN
THIS CASE

We believe this Court can readily discern which matters it should for
various reasons address now, despite Countrywide’s repeated but untrue claims
of Appellants’ “failure to preserve for appellate review” bona fide issues
presented to this Court and Countrywide’s mischaracterization that what we ask
this court to do is render an “Advisory Opinion”. See, e.g., Florida Dept. of
Revenue v. New Sea Escape Cruises, Ltd., 894 So. 2d 954, 962 (Fla,
2005)(nothing requires a court to “turn a blind eye” to the facts laid before it);
Layne v. Tribune Co., 146 So. 234, 237 (FlEa. 1933)(“What everybody knows the
courts are assumed to know, and of such matters may take judicial
cognizance”(citation omitted)). What Countrywide urges this Court to do is to
turn a blind eye to, as Marvin Gaye’s famous lyrics call it, “what’s going on”
(e.g., at best, the at best unseemly machinations below: the AG suing
Countrywide in Broward Circuit court, but Countrywide bringing the action
below to seal the relevant AG investigative records up in Leon County, away
from glare of press and public alike; a brief hearing prohibiting Chapter 119 AG
disclosure of 88,000+ pages of documents without the court ever seeing more
than a “sampling’ of whatever Countrywide brought to that hearing and just how
many documents could realistically have been reviewed in ten minutes)’what
went on’ was about as “secret[] [of a] proceeding[s]” as one can pull off in a
Florida court. See Nat’i Collegiate Athletic Ass ‘n v. Associated Press, 18 So. 3d
1201, 1214 (FIa. Dist. Ct. App. 2009). Well, so far. Countrywide mistakenly
contends that this Court lacks jurisdiction to weigh in on issues beyond simply
whether or not the lower proceeding must be reopened. This Court can and
should not hold back regarding the scenario that played out in late 2008.

[…]

Additionally, while appellate courts usually defer to a trial court’s
interpretations and many factual conclusions regarding the trial court’s own
injunctions and protective orders, “‘[t]o the extent [a trial court judge]
interpreted the terms of [an earlier] judgment, which was entered by a different
[trial] judge, we accord [the latter judge’s] interpretation no deference and
review the requirements of that judgment de novo.” Alley, supra at 1202. Here,
just as in Alley, the judge who refused to reopen the case below was not the
judge who first entered the protective order drafted by Countrywide’s counsel.
That order found almost 90,000 pages of public records to be trade secrets after
what appears to have been a 10-minute “inspection of sample records”. (R25-27)

[…]

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