March 22, 2012

Riviera Beach Confidential: Fourth DCA Rejects Notion of Privilege for Confidential Informants

City of Riviera Beach v. State of Florida
Case No. 4D10-4522

The office of the state attorney subpoenaed information from the City of Riviera Beach that included the names of confidential informants the City had used. The trial court ordered the City to comply with the subpoena. The City filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the court of appeal seeking to quash the order. The Fourth DCA held that no privilege for confidential informants protected the information the state attorney requested in the subpoena. Additionally, the Fourth DCA held that the state attorney’s investigative subpoena did not implicate the right to privacy under Article I, section 23 of the Florida Constitution. The Fourth DCA noted that both the City and the state attorney are required by statute to keep the information confidential. The Fourth DCA therefore determined that there was no departure from the essential requirements of law, denied the City’s petition, and held the state attorney was entitled to the names of the confidential informants under section 27.04, Florida Statutes (2010).