Florida Senate - 2010                              (NP)    SB 24
       By Senator Lawson
       6-00128-10                                              201024__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act for the relief of Irving Hoffman and Marjorie
    3         Weiss, parents of Rachel Hoffman, by the City of
    4         Tallahassee; providing for an appropriation to
    5         compensate Irving Hoffman and Marjorie Weiss,
    6         individually and as co-personal representatives of the
    7         Estate of Rachel Hoffman, for the wrongful death of
    8         Rachel Hoffman, which was due to the negligence of the
    9         Tallahassee Police Department; providing a limitation
   10         on the payment of fees and costs; providing an
   11         effective date.
   13         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman, the only child of Irving Hoffman
   14  and Marjorie Weiss, was born on December 17, 1984, graduated
   15  from Florida State University, and lived in Tallahassee,
   16  Florida, and
   17         WHEREAS, on April 17, 2008, the Tallahassee Police
   18  Department conducted a search of Rachel Hoffman’s apartment and
   19  found approximately 150 grams of marijuana and six
   20  nonprescription pills, and at that time advised her that she was
   21  facing serious felony charges and prison time or she could “make
   22  all of the charges go away,” by serving as a confidential
   23  informant, and
   24         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman, who was in a drug court
   25  intervention program and represented by counsel, agreed to
   26  become a confidential informant for the Tallahassee Police
   27  Department without advice of counsel because she was told not to
   28  tell anyone, and
   29         WHEREAS, the Tallahassee Police Department violated its own
   30  policies and procedures by not advising the state attorney’s
   31  office and the drug court of what it had found in Rachel
   32  Hoffman’s apartment, and
   33         WHEREAS, if the Tallahassee Police Department had advised
   34  the state attorney’s office of its findings, Rachel Hoffman
   35  would not have been allowed to participate in the department’s
   36  confidential informant program because such participation is a
   37  violation of the terms of the drug court contract, and
   38         WHEREAS, according to Dennis Jones, Chief of the
   39  Tallahassee Police Department, and in conformance with the
   40  department’s policies and procedures, the supervising case
   41  manager should have terminated the use of Rachel as a
   42  confidential informant because of her lack of maturity and
   43  experience in serving as a confidential informant, and
   44         WHEREAS, the supervising case manager for the Tallahassee
   45  Police Department and Rachel Hoffman developed a plan whereby
   46  Rachel Hoffman would purchase 1,500 MDMA pills, also known as
   47  “ecstasy,” 2 to 3 ounces of cocaine, and a weapon from Andrea
   48  Green and Daneilo Bradshaw, who were targets of an investigation
   49  and with whom Rachel Hoffman had no previous contact or
   50  dealings, and
   51         WHEREAS, the Tallahassee Police Department knew or should
   52  have known that Andrea Green had a history of violence, had been
   53  convicted of violent crimes, and was dangerous, and
   54         WHEREAS, the Tallahassee Police Department knew or should
   55  have known that on May 5, 2008, 2 days before the controlled
   56  drug-buy operation, the other target of the investigation,
   57  Daneilo Bradshaw, was listed in a departmental police report as
   58  the prime suspect in the theft of a .25 caliber handgun from the
   59  car of a customer at a car wash where Bradshaw was employed, and
   60         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman had never purchased cocaine and did
   61  not have a history of dealing in cocaine or MDMA, and had no
   62  experience with firearms and had never purchased a firearm, and
   63         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman had never acted as a confidential
   64  informant, had never been involved in a controlled drug-buy
   65  operation, and was unfamiliar with the geographical area that
   66  had been designated for this particular transaction, and
   67         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman was assured by the Tallahassee
   68  Police Department that she would be observed by and in audio
   69  communication with law enforcement officers at all times, and
   70  that when the buy was complete the police would immediately
   71  respond, arrest the targets of the investigation, and rescue her
   72  from danger, and
   73         WHEREAS, on May 7, 2008, the Tallahassee Police Department
   74  conducted a briefing with the law enforcement officers assigned
   75  to participate in the operation, but, in violation of the
   76  department’s policies and procedures, they were not briefed that
   77  a gun would be present, and
   78         WHEREAS, the plan was for the controlled buy to take place
   79  at a designated location at a private home in a large
   80  subdivision off of North Meridian Road, but after the briefing
   81  and just prior to leaving the police station, the location was
   82  changed by Green and Bradshaw to Forestmeadows Park on North
   83  Meridian Road, and
   84         WHEREAS, Forestmeadows Park is a popular, highly frequented
   85  public park where families and children congregate and is not a
   86  suitable and safe location to conduct an operation involving a
   87  known violent criminal who was expected to have a loaded firearm
   88  present, and
   89         WHEREAS, the Tallahassee Police Department chose to engage
   90  the assistance of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency but
   91  not the Leon County Sheriff’s Department, even though sheriff’s
   92  department officers are more knowledgeable of the street
   93  locations in that geographical area, and
   94         WHEREAS, as Rachel Hoffman approached Forestmeadows Park in
   95  her vehicle at approximately 6:40 p.m. on the evening of May 7,
   96  Green and Bradshaw again changed the meeting location to a
   97  nearby plant nursery parking lot located north of the park on
   98  Meridian Road and outside the city limits, which was permitted
   99  by the supervising case manager and other law enforcement
  100  officers involved in the operation in violation of the
  101  department’s policies and procedures, and
  102         WHEREAS, after Rachel Hoffman drove past Forestmeadows
  103  Park, the Tallahassee Police Department lost visual sight of her
  104  and the listening device in her car ceased to function, but she
  105  had no way of knowing that none of the law enforcement officers
  106  entrusted with monitoring her safety were watching or listening
  107  to her, and
  108         WHEREAS, the targets of the investigation, Green and
  109  Bradshaw, directed Rachel Hoffman via cellular telephone to
  110  another location, Gardner Road, which was north of the plant
  111  nursery and outside the city limits, and
  112         WHEREAS, of the 19 law enforcement officers who were
  113  involved in the operation, only one knew where Gardner Road was
  114  located, and
  115         WHEREAS, after losing all contact with Rachel Hoffman, the
  116  Tallahassee Police Department negligently failed to timely
  117  intervene on her behalf even though the surveillance team was
  118  only 2 minutes from the Gardner Road location, and
  119         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman was shot to death by the .25
  120  caliber handgun that she was to have purchased from Green and
  121  Bradshaw, and
  122         WHEREAS, by the time law enforcement personnel arrived at
  123  the Gardner Road location, Rachel Hoffman, Andrea Green, and
  124  Daneilo Bradshaw were gone, and the only evidence recorded was
  125  one flip-flop sandal, two live .25 caliber rounds, one spent .25
  126  caliber round, and tire marks, and
  127         WHEREAS, hours later Rachel Hoffman’s cellular telephone
  128  was found in a ditch miles away from the Gardner Road location,
  129  and
  130         WHEREAS, at approximately 2 a.m. on the morning of May 8,
  131  2008, Sgt. Odom of the Tallahassee Police Department called
  132  Marjorie Weiss, the mother of Rachel Hoffman, and Irving
  133  Hoffman, the father, and advised them that their daughter was
  134  missing, but did not provide any further information, and
  135         WHEREAS, when Irving Hoffman and Marjorie Weiss arrived
  136  later that afternoon at the Tallahassee police station after
  137  driving from their homes in Pinellas County, they were met by
  138  the Chief of the Tallahassee Police Department and other police
  139  department officials and told that their daughter was missing
  140  but that no other information was available regarding the
  141  circumstances of her disappearance, and
  142         WHEREAS, it was not until 2 days later, on May 9, 2008,
  143  that Rachel Hoffman’s body was found near Perry, Florida,
  144  approximately 50 miles away, shot multiple times by the gun that
  145  the Tallahassee Police Department had required her to purchase,
  146  and
  147         WHEREAS, upon the discovery of Rachel Hoffman’s body, the
  148  Chief and Public Information Officer of the Tallahassee Police
  149  Department appeared before the media and blamed Rachel Hoffman
  150  for her death, stating that she had failed to follow
  151  “established protocols,” but refused to explain what those
  152  protocols were and did not admit any negligence or wrongdoing on
  153  the part of the department, and
  154         WHEREAS, while watching television, Irving Hoffman and
  155  Marjorie Weiss learned for the first time that their daughter
  156  was murdered while serving in an undercover capacity for the
  157  Tallahassee Police Department, and
  158         WHEREAS, the Tallahassee Police Department committed
  159  multiple acts of negligence in recruiting Rachel Hoffman as a
  160  confidential informant and in the planning and execution of the
  161  controlled drug-buy operation, and
  162         WHEREAS, on August 1, 2008, a Leon County Grand Jury
  163  returned indictments against Andrea Green and Daneilo Bradshaw
  164  for the murder of Rachel Hoffman, and, “[d]uring the course of
  165  [its] review of the facts, it became apparent to [the grand
  166  jury] that negligent conduct on the part of Tallahassee Police
  167  Department and D.E.A. attributed to Ms. Hoffman’s death,” and
  168         WHEREAS, the grand jury found that the transaction
  169  requiring the purchase of 1,500 ecstasy pills, 2 1/2 ounces of
  170  cocaine, and a firearm from individuals with whom she had no
  171  previous contact “placed her in a position way over her head,”
  172  and
  173         WHEREAS, the grand jury found that the command staff of the
  174  Tallahassee Police Department was negligent in its supervision,
  175  review, and execution of the planned controlled drug and weapon
  176  buy, and stated that, “letting a young, immature woman get into
  177  a car by herself with $13,000 to go off and meet two convicted
  178  felons that they knew were bringing at least one firearm with
  179  them was an unconscionable decision that cost Ms. Hoffman her
  180  life,” and
  181         WHEREAS, the grand jury determined, based on the evidence
  182  and testimony of police officers who participated in the
  183  surveillance operation, that Rachel Hoffman believed that she
  184  was being closely watched, followed, and listened to, and she
  185  remained on the phone with Green and Bradshaw as they directed
  186  her down Gardner Road, and
  187         WHEREAS, “[w]hen she finally spoke to a T.P.D. officer on
  188  the phone and told [him] where she was, she was told by the
  189  officer to turn around and not follow the targets. The officer
  190  heard no response and the phone went dead, and by that time it
  191  was too late anyway. With the exception of one officer, nobody
  192  else participating in the [t]ransaction even knew where Gardner
  193  Road was,” and
  194         WHEREAS, the grand jury determined that “through poor
  195  planning and supervision, and a series of mistakes throughout
  196  the [t]ransaction, T.P.D. handed Ms. Hoffman to Bradshaw and
  197  Green to rob and kill her as they saw fit,” and
  198         WHEREAS, the grand jury also determined that “[b]ased on
  199  [Rachel Hoffman’s] immaturity and poor judgment..., she should
  200  never have been used as a [c]onfidential [i]nformant. But if
  201  [the Tallahassee Police Department was] going to use her, [it]
  202  certainly had a responsibility to protect her as [it] assured
  203  her [it] would,” and
  204         WHEREAS, an investigation by the Florida Attorney General
  205  determined that the Tallahassee Police Department had
  206  insufficient policies and procedures and but also committed
  207  numerous violations of its policies and procedures, and
  208         WHEREAS, the internal affairs investigation conducted by
  209  the Tallahassee Police Department cited 14 acts of negligence
  210  based on its policies and procedures with respect to the
  211  planning, supervision, and execution of the operation that led
  212  to the murder of Rachel Hoffman, and
  213         WHEREAS, the City of Tallahassee reprimanded four law
  214  enforcement officers of the Tallahassee Police Department as a
  215  direct result of the negligent handling of the planning,
  216  supervision, and execution of the operation, and
  217         WHEREAS, the City of Tallahassee discharged from its
  218  employment the case manager who was responsible for the planning
  219  and execution of the operation, and
  220         WHEREAS, Rachel Hoffman’s murder has been a shocking and
  221  devastating loss to her parents, both of whom are in a state of
  222  intense, unresolved grief as a result of the death of their only
  223  child, NOW, THEREFORE,
  225  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
  227         Section 1. The facts stated in the preamble to this act are
  228  found and declared to be true.
  229         Section 2. The City of Tallahassee is authorized and
  230  directed to appropriate from funds of the city not otherwise
  231  appropriated and to draw a warrant in the sum of $      ,
  232  payable to Irving Hoffman and Marjorie Weiss, individually and
  233  as co-personal representatives of the Estate of Rachel Hoffman,
  234  deceased, as compensation for the death of their daughter,
  235  Rachel Hoffman.
  236         Section 3. This award is intended to provide the sole
  237  compensation for all present and future claims arising out of
  238  the factual situation described in this act which resulted in
  239  the death of Rachel Hoffman. The total amount paid for
  240  attorney’s fees, lobbying fees, costs, and other similar
  241  expenses relating to this claim may not exceed 25 percent of the
  242  amount awarded under this act.
  243         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.