In a move that should send a chill down the spines of thousands of elected officials in Florida, former Martin County Commissioner Anne Scott, a retired judge originally from Chicago, and current Commissioner Ed Fielding were booked Tuesday night into the county jail after being indicted in a public records scandal that already cost taxpayers upward of $25 million.
Scott, 69, who lives in Hobe Sound and lost her seat after one term in November, and Fielding, 73, were charged with two counts each of failure to permit inspection and copying of public records.
Each count is a misdemeanor that could, at worst for them although unlikely, see the elected officials spend up to a year in jail.
The arrests came hours after another sitting commissioner, Sarah Heard, was charged with a noncriminal violation of the same statutes, a set of laws that force public officials to surrender records of communications with other politicians, staff members and the public. Heard’s charge is a civil violation akin to a parking ticket, and she faces fines of up to $500.