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State Lawmakers File Bills for Injured Parties

A bill to compensate the family of late Florida State grad Rachel Hoffman has been filed as senators rushed to beat the claims bill deadline Friday.

Rachel Hoffman was a 23-year-old recent college graduate who was busted for selling drugs and then tried to make a deal with Tallahassee cops to lessen her charges. However, Hoffman didn't go to the place where police had arranged for her to meet two men to buy cocaine, Ecstasy and a gun. Instead, she went to a location that was picked by the suspects. Police lost contact with Hoffman and found her dead a few days later. The two men she was supposed to meet have been charged with murder. Tallahassee police later admitted that they had made some serious mistakes in allowing Hoffman, who was in a drug treatment program, to serve as an informant. Legislators passed a law this past spring that would strengthen restrictions on confidential informants that was lobbied for by the family.

The claims bill (SB 24), filed by Sen. Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, does not state an amount because the bill is contingent on the Hoffman family first settling with the city of Tallahassee, said the Hoffman family’s lawyer, Lance Block.

The deadline in the Senate to file claims bills, legislation that compensates people who harmed by government agencies, was Friday at 5 p.m.

OTHER CLAIMS BILLS...

A record breaking $30 million claims bill has again been filed on behalf of Eric Brody, who was severely injured in a 1998 car accident caused by a speeding Broward County sheriff's deputy. Brody, who was a high school senior at the time, is now wheelchair bound and brain damaged. The bill cleared the Senate last year, but did not come to a vote in the House. (SB 68)

$1.35 million bill would go to William Dillon, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years. If passed it would be paid out in sums of $50,000 per year. (SB 22)

A $1.8 million claims bill has also been filed on behalf of the parents of Devaughn Darling, a Florida State football player who collapsed and died during football practice. (SB 42)

An unnamed amount would be awarded to students who “were abused while confined to the Florida Reform School for Boys in Marianna and Okeechobee and sustained injuries and damages as a result of such abuses perpetrated by the personnel of the reform schools.” (SB 48)

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