WTLV First Coast News by Kenneth Amaro
July 18, 2017
Recently the behavior of JSO officer Tim James has come into question. On June 10, James was arrested for the battery of a 17-year-old who was in the backseat of his patrol car.
Three days later, Attorney John Phillips would file a public records request with JSO. Phillips wanted to know James entire employment history with the department.
“I’m a decent lawyer so I am broad,” Phillips said. “I don’t want anything left out.”
His five-page public information request included 30 items, from 911 calls to accident history.
Phillips represents the family of Blane Land. Land was hit and killed by a JSO cruiser driven by James in May.
“We want to know about Tim James: His disciplinary history, his history operating motor vehicle recklessly or negligently. Nothing out of the ordinary,” he said.
A month after his public records request, JSO notified Phillips the total cost to pull the records is $314,687.91.
“It is offensive,” he said.
In the breakdown, $313,646.07 was charged for the Internal Affairs search.
Phillips, who has yet to file suit, called JSO’s estimate offensive, obscene and a deterrent.
“They’re saying it is going to cost $300,000 to even open the courthouse doors of course,” Phillips said. “That’s a deterrence.”
Phillips described it as roadblock as he develops his lawsuit against JSO. He said if he prevails in a lawsuit, the most he would get, due to statutory limits, is $200,000 to $300,000.
“Imagine the phone call to the family when I say look we’re working hard for you, we’re doing all we can, but before we can proceed with your case, JSO wants $314,000,” Phillips said.
The JSO notice said it is the first of two or three estimates. Phillips said it could be a violation of public records law.
“This draws a line in the sand that I think is unfortunate,” he said. “It is unfair and it is offensive.”
The Florida First Amendment Foundation has seen a number of outrageous public records before and this reaches the top. [READ MORE]