TC Palm by Lisa Broadt
November 28, 2017
Two commissioners and one former commissioner were charged Tuesday with violating public records law.
Commissioner Ed Fielding and former commissioner Anne Scott each face two criminal misdemeanor charges for failure to allow inspection of public records, according to Christine Christofek, Martin County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Fielding turned himself in to the Martin County Jail at 5 p.m., and Scott turned herself in at 8 p.m., Weiss said. Both were processed, booked and released on their own recognizance, she said.
County Commissioner Sarah Heard on Tuesday afternoon pleaded not guilty to a noncriminal infraction related to violating state public records law.
The alleged public records violations stem from the county’s long-running civil lawsuit with Lake Point rock quarry and allegations that county commissioners destroyed or failed to produce emails pertinent to the case.
Heard and her attorney were at the Martin County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon but did not appear before a judge. Heard made her not-guilty plea in writing. She did not respond to a request for comment.
A knowing violation of public records law by an elected official is a first-degree misdemeanor, according to state law. It also can be grounds for removal from office or impeachment, the law says.
An unknowing violation of public records law by a public official can result in a noncriminal infraction punishable by a fine up to $500, according to Florida law.
The investigation into commissioners’ handling of Lake Point emails is ongoing, Assistant State Attorney Ryan Butler said Tuesday afternoon. [READ MORE]