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How To File Criminal Charges on Agencies/Officials that Violate Laws on Public Meetings

Background: Legally, the public must have a well-noticed opportunity to attend public meetings
Problem: A state agency/official conducted the public's business in a secret meeting
Solution: You follow this guide for charging that agency/official [for violating the law]

I. Glossary

a written statement made under oath before an officer of the court, a notary public or other person legally authorized to certify the statement. Administrative Agency
a government body responsible for control and supervision of a particular activity or area of public interest... Administrative agencies are also called REGULATORY AGENCIES. Notice of Publication
method of bringing... attention of parties who may have an interest therein by publishing notification of it in a newspaper of general circulation; permissible only where specifically allowed by statute and generally limited to actions involving land, estates or status. Public Official
any elected or appointed person holding a public office and having duties relating to the sovereign powers of government. The term does not apply to public employees having purely ministerial duties. Standing
the legal right to challenge in a judicial forum the conduct of another. In the federal system, litigants must satisfy constitutional standing requirements in order to create a legitimate case or controversy within the meaning of Article III of the Constitution. In construing this language, courts have held that the gist of a question of standing is whether the party seeking relief has alleged personal stake in the outcome of the controversy so as to insure that real, rather than remote or possible, adverseness exists to sharpen the presentation of issues. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

II. Legal Citations

§286.011 FS
(1) All meetings of any board or commission of any state agency or authority or of any agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, including meetings with or attended by any person elected to such board or commission, but who has not yet taken office, at which official acts are to be taken are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, and no resolution, rule, or formal action shall be considered binding except as taken or made at such meeting. The board or commission must provide reasonable notice of all such meetings.



(b) Any person who is a member of a board or commission or of any state agency or authority of any county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision who knowingly violates the provisions of this section by attending a meeting not held in accordance with the provisions hereof is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
28-109.004 FAC
(2) No proceeding otherwise subject to Section 286.011, F.S., shall be conducted exclusively by means of CMT if the available technology is insufficient to permit all interested persons to attend. If during the course of a CMT proceeding technical problems develop with the communications network that prevent interested persons from attending, the agency shall terminate the proceeding until the problems have been corrected. Art. I §24(b) FL Constitution
(b) All meetings of any collegial public body of the executive branch of state government or of any collegial public body of a county, municipality, school district, or special district, at which official acts are to be taken or at which public business of such body is to be transacted or discussed, shall be open and noticed to the public and meetings of the legislature shall be open and noticed as provided in Article III, Section 4(e), except with respect to meetings exempted pursuant to this section or specifically closed by this Constitution.

III. Samples

# PDF Comments
1 logoAdobe √ Success | Florida (FCHR) | 'Technical Difficulties' barred public's attendance. Agency relented. iconPriceTag
2 logoAdobe √ Success | Florida (FCHR) | 'Shotgun Meeting' barred public's attendance. State Attorney got involved. iconPriceTag

IV. Templates

# Word Comments
1Replace all of the placeholder tags with real information (eg "[plfName]" becomes "John Doe").iconPriceTag

V. Quick Analysis

Complete this process in the following 5 phases.


Contact the perpetrator (ie, the state agency/official).

Tell the perpetrator that he/she/it has broken the law.

Ask the perpetrator to obey the law. Specifically, require the perpetrator to:

(a) annul every official act that he/she/it carried out during the secret meeting; and
(b) reconvene the public meeting.

Sample Communication: MS Outlook Email


Choose a date/time that will give the perpetrator reasonable time to comply [with those two conditions - above].

Tell the perpetrator that if he/she/it doesn’t comply then you will take legal action.


Take legal action by filing a criminal complaint.

Send the complaint to your state/federal attorney’s office.

Typically, you'll file your charges in the location/jurisdiction in which the agency/official conducted its secret meeting.


Stay in contact with the state/federal attorney.

Follow the docket.


If the government doesn’t force/compel the perpetrator into compliance then take action yourself.

You can do so by filing a lawsuit:

see SunshineManual

Alternatively, you can find other ways to imbue the government with the integrity it needs to enforce its own laws.

VI. Quick Commentary

VII. Additional Notes

VIII. Conclusion

With the use of the templates/forms (as well as the samples above), you can more easily effectuate criminal prosecution against a state agency/official who has violated laws on public meetings.

Bottom Line: the government can't hold secret meetings about the public's business.


Congratulations! You're now booked up on how to Effectuate a Criminal Prosecution against State Agencies/Official Who've Violated Laws on Public Meetings!

Please get the justice you deserve.


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