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Politics

Special Session Set to Decide if Suspended Broward Sheriff Should Be Reinstated

October 21, 2019 - 7:00am
Scott Israel, middle
Scott Israel, middle

Florida senators have a tough task ahead. Today they convene in special session to decide the fate of suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Expect a high emotion quotient. More than two dozens Broward citizens, including parents of murdered children, vowed to travel to Tallahassee to have their say at the proceedings.

Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Israel from office three days after he was inaugurated, saying the Broward Sheriff's Department's response to the deadly mass shootings at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017 and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018 showed "incompetence" and "neglect of duty". 

Not so, responded Israel, who argued his case before Special Master Dudley Goodlette, a former Republican legislator from Naples appointed by Senate President Bill Galvano.

Israel's lawyer portrayed DeSantis as using the deaths of 17 students and staff members at MSDHS for political gain. He said DeSantis was promising to remove Israel even before the governor was elected in November.

Goodlette ruled Sept. 25 that the governor failed to back up his allegations against the sheriff with sufficient evidence. He recommended that the ousted sheriff get his job back.

“As ‘a conservator of the peace’ Israel is responsible for equipping deputies with the knowledge and resources needed to protect the residents of the county against criminal behavior,” Goodlette wrote.

“To that end, neglect and incompetence of the magnitude required for removal must be tied to institutional failure. It is not enough to show that a deputy (or deputies) acted improperly and failed to follow protocol, which is all the governor proposes here.”

DeSantis is fighting back. Rather than let the evidence speak for itself, he has hired GrayRobinson attorney George T. Levesque as outside counsel.

Dudley Goodlette and George Levesque
Dudley Goodlette and George Levesque

In a stinging editorial in September ("Case closed: Florida Senate must reinstate Scott Israel as Broward sheriff") The Sun-Sentinel, newspaper of record in Broward County, called for the governor to give Israel back his badge.  Likewise, The Palm Beach Post  came out in favor of upholding Goodlette's recommendation. The paper claims Levesque is only there "to twist (senators') arms."

The Post concludes the matter belongs in the hands of Broward voters who will get a chance next year either to re-elect Israel or vote in his replacement, Gregory Tony. Both men have filed to run for the job.

Wrote the Post, "Senators should vote to reinstate (Israel), and close the curtain on this bad political theater."

Goodlette received a death threat after his report was released in late September, Galvano spokeswoman Katie Betta confirmed to The News Service of Florida. Galvano directed the Senate sergeant to alert the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about the threat, which the Senate president considered “very serious,” Betta said.

In an email to NSF, she said, “The Senate is coordinating with Capitol Police to ensure the safety of all visitors, staff and senators attending meetings related to the special session. President Galvano has requested that enhanced security precautions and protocols, which are confidential, be in place for the proceedings."

The Senate will convene the special session at 9 a.m. But the real work starts when the Senate Rules Committee begins a 10:30 a.m. meeting in 412 Knott Building to consider Goodlette's recommendations. That meeting, hearing from all stakeholders, will clear the way for the full Senate to decide on Israel's reinstatement or removal from the sheriff’s job.

The special session will be televised on The Florida Channel.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 2 to 4 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do ........ http://xurl.es/j528e

Good luck with your new job Hillary. Glad to see you've found something more related to your skill-set.

nice

Put him (and us) OUT of HIS misery; WE Floridians don’t deserve it... we’ve had more than enough of his public *** groveling ALREADY ! END iT !

This is why the office of Sheriff should NOT be a political football position. Let the people decide. Governors shouldn't have a say. The people who he is sworn to protect, should be the final arbiter. I know that's a big word for all you clown supporters. Look it up! While you're at it, get you heads out of the quicksand.

Isreal had his chance to do his job. The lack of leadership he demonstrated directly lead to the deaths of students and teachers. Being Sheriff doesn't come with a do over. Those who lost their lives don 't have a do over. Do it right the first time. The consequences are huge.

A politicized witch hunt. Dudley Goodlette - a life-long and totally gung-ho Republican from Republican Central in Florida - DECIDED THE MATTER! Finished business! Move on! There's enough blame in the situation to involve a hundred different people and multiple organizations. DeSantis just wants to paint a scarlet letter on the Democrats in Palm Beach County.

Let's see if Senators' uphold the law and don't cower to DeSantis political pressure. The voters in Broward County should make the ultimate decision at the polls, not that Jackass DeSantis!!!

Broward County Voter CAN’T be trusted,....they drink the “ poisoned Kool Ade”, and have been for far too long!

Let the people decide. That is as it should be...

It was “the people” who gave us this “failed excuse” for a man. In normal circumstances he would be long gone!

That is one bad penny that won't get lost.

Two massacres under Israel's watch is not enough to warrant taking a new direction in leadership? Everyone clamors for accountability and when the Governor does just that, he is criticized for it? I don't get it. Would a third or fourth catastrophe be necessary before the local discredited political rags retreat from their patent progressive bent and support the Governors authority to do what's right for the community? If in doubt, uphold the removal and let Israel lobby the voters to reinstate him.

Using your "logic" president tRump should have been removed from office a long time ago with 1,624 mass shootings in 1,870 days. It was a political move by De Santis and Israel should be reinstated and, yes, let the voters decide in 1 year if they want to reelect him. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2017/oct/02/america-mass-shootings-gun-violence

Where do you live “Millie”?.. CHICAGO?!?!

The Antifa troll weighs in. Your rant insults the parents and families of the murdered

“Millie” needs a month’s vacation in the Golon Heights

Bulls-eye!

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