CHARLOTTE COUNTY – The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office must disclose the terms of its settlement with the family of Denise Amber Lee, says an expert on public records law in Florida.
Attorneys for Lee and for the Sheriff’s Office settled the lawsuit on Friday morning, on the fourth day of the trial. Both sides said in court that the terms of the settlement would not be disclosed, and declined to comment on the settlement.
The Sheriff’s Office has not yet responded to a public records request for the records sent by a reporter.
“The settlement agreement is a public record subject to disclosure, regardless of what they might have agreed to in the terms of the settlement,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, an expert on public records laws.
“When the government is sued and they settle, they’re settling with our tax dollars,” Petersen said. “We want to know what they did, and what they agreed to do to right the wrong. That’s our money.”