At last it looks like there is some relief
for the Earnhardt family. Thank you, legislators of the State of
Florida for doing the right thing!
March 29, 2001
Florida restricts access to autopsy photos
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Standing beside Dale Earnhardt's widow, Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill Thursday to keep autopsy photos closed to the public unless a judge approves their release.
The law sprang from an outcry over the Orlando Sentinel's request to see Earnhardt's autopsy photos. Teresa Earnhardt led the protests, saying she wanted to protect her family's privacy.
March 29, 2001
Statement from Mike Helton, NASCAR president
The following is a statement from Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, regarding Thursday's signing of the Earnhardt Family Protection Act by (Florida) Governor Jeb Bush:
"On behalf of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and Teresa Earnhardt,
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of those who led the charge to pass the
Earnhardt Family Protection Act that was signed into law earlier today by
Governor Jeb Bush. Full
March 29, 2001
Statement by Teresa Earnhardt
I am pleased and grateful for what has happened here in Tallahassee today.
I would like to recognize and say thank you to Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Senators Jim King and Bill Posey, Representatives Jeff Miller and Randy Johnson, and most of all, the tens of thousands of people in Florida and elsewhere who spoke out in defense of my family's fundamental right to privacy.
Help the Earnhardt Family in their
fight against the Orlando Sentinel and the release of Dale Earnhardt's
autopsy photos. You CAN make a difference!
Teresa Earnhardt Speaks Out, Asks for your
March 4, 2001-
In a brief press conference at the Las Vegas Motorspeedway Teresa Earnhardt spoke out against the Orlando
Sentinel concerning their efforts to obtain autopsy photos and report of her late husband, Dale Earnhardt.
"This is the first time I have spoken in public since we've lost Dale. Honestly, I'm not very comfortable being here. It is to soon. But this issue is of vital importance. Not just to my family, but to any one ever faced with losing a loved one and being exploited from it. Please help us by speaking out. We need you, right now. Thank you for your support and enjoy the race today."
of Teresa Earnhardt's Statement
Why it was necessary for Teresa to make this
Note: Progress is being made,
led by Governor Jeb Bush of the State of Florida. He is leading the fight
for legislation to be passed that would prohibit the release of the
autopsy photo. However, we must keep up the battle until it is
concluded. Thanks to those who have already sent email to the
appropriate parties. Those of you who haven't done so yet, click on
the link below as make yourself heard.
UPDATE March 16, 2001
Agreement reached, Independent medical expert will look at photos
March 16, 2001 - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Lawyers for Dale Earnhardt's widow and the Orlando Sentinel reached an agreement Friday that allows an independent expert to view the autopsy photos of the racing legend before they're permanently sealed.
Within a week, court-appointed mediator John Upchurch will choose the medical expert who will view the photos, said Sentinel Editor Tim Franklin. Representatives of the Sentinel will be allowed to ask the expert three specific questions concerning Earnhardt's head injuries and cause of death. The photos will then be sealed.
"Mrs. Earnhardt is very pleased with this," said Earnhardt family spokesman Pete Himler.
The agreement came after 18 hours of negotiations over two days.
"The settlement enables the newspaper to pursue its independent investigation of NASCAR driver safety issues, but at the same time prevents the photos from being released publicly or published," Sentinel publisher Kathleen M. Waltz said.
Earnhardt was killed Feb. 18 in a last-lap crash at the Daytona 500. The Volusia County medical examiner's autopsy report said the 49-year-old Earnhardt died of a massive blow to the head.
Teresa Earnhardt and Sentinel executives were not present at the talks Friday, but had attended Thursday's negotiations. Mrs. Earnhardt was available to her lawyers by telephone.
Mrs. Earnhardt had sued to stop the release of the autopsy photos, which under Florida law are public records. The judge agreed to temporarily block their release.
Mrs. Earnhardt's attorneys have argued in court papers that releasing the photos will violate her privacy.
Sentinel executives had said repeatedly they had no intention of publishing the photos but only wanted a medical expert to review them for an investigation into NASCAR safety.
But Mrs. Earnhardt's attorneys argued in court papers that other news organizations would be able to have access to the photos if the Sentinel was granted permission, "opening a Pandora's box ... and there will be no protection for the sanctity of the Earnhardt family's rights."
The president of a Web site who joined a lawsuit seeking access to the photos was not invited to Friday's negotiations and is not part of the settlement. Michael Uribe, who runs websitecity.com, has promised to fight for unfettered access to the photos, even if the Sentinel and Mrs. Earnhardt's attorneys reached a settlement.
In Tallahassee, lawmakers are considering cutting off the public's access to autopsy photos unless a judge can be convinced there's good cause to look at them.
A bill that would close access to the photos is expected to come up for debate in the House on Wednesday. A similar Senate bill has a committee hearing Wednesday.
The mediation meeting on Thursday brought
no compromise or conclusion to the battle over the autopsy photos. In
fact a website is also trying to obtain the photo's. Teresa Earnhardt
will have to meet again today with the mediator, the Orlando Sentinel
Please read these article below and then continue below to contact
appropriate people who can help in this battle to protect the Earnhardt
Read Matt McLaughlin's Every
Picture Tells a Story
March 16, 2001 - Without meaning to, the Orlando Sentinel has finally shown us their true colors and it's turns out they are scabrous yellow and pussy green after all.
The Sentinel is of course trying to obtain access to the autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt against the strongest wishes of his widow Teresa. Teresa Earnhardt and the Sentinel have been engaged in a public relations campaign to get their side of the story out. Mrs. Earnhardt held a simple and tasteful press conference at Las Vegas, asking for fan's of her husband to help the family by sending letters or emails to Florida legislators and the Orlando Sentinel.
About the Photos by Broom Boy
March 16, 2001 - Some bottom-sucker named Michael Uribe
(email@example.com) has decided that as long as the Sentinel is doing some investigative reporting that he will tag along for the ride. Unlike the Sentinel, whose goal is to have a head trauma expert simply review the photos under supervision from a judge and the family, this Uribe loser has designs on using Florida law to actually publish the photos on his website, which until now has basically been a traffic-free black hole on the Internet. Don't bother to visit his website, but feel free to click on his e-mail link to tell him what he can expect upon entering that special Hell reserved for soulless exploiters of misery. Make no mistake. Uribe is not a journalist just because he has a website, any more than we here at SCR are journalists (don't insult us!). Uribe understands one thing, the same thing guys like John Gearan understand -- that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Throw up those
pics, slap on some banner ads, and watch the bucks roll in. Full
March 15, 2001
The following is a statement from Bill France, NASCAR's Chairman of the Board: "NASCAR fans have always been dedicated, loyal and supportive of their heroes. The support that has been shown the past couple of weeks from NASCAR fans over the issue regarding the autopsy photographs of Dale Earnhardt proves to all of us the strong bond between our competitors and the fans. We want to thank the fans for their continued support of both NASCAR and Teresa Earnhardt in this matter."
March 14, 2001
Judge orders mediation for Earnhardt's widow, Sentinel
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt's widow and Orlando Sentinel lawyers were ordered Tuesday to meet to try to resolve their dispute over autopsy photos of the NASCAR great. The judge's order came as a Florida Senate committee unanimously approved a bill that would restrict the public's access to autopsy photos.
Under state law, the photos are a public record, but Circuit Judge Joseph G. Will blocked their release pending a March 19 hearing on Teresa Earnhardt's request to keep them private. Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18.
At a court hearing in Daytona Beach, Will told lawyers for Mrs. Earnhardt and the Sentinel to meet Thursday morning. The Sentinel had filed a request to have an independent authority look at the photos.
A bill that would require a judge to approve any requests by the public to see autopsy photos won unanimous approval Tuesday from the Senate Criminal Justice Committee in Tallahassee.
efforts are helping! Please continue to read below and don't let up in
your support of the Earnhardt Family and help put a stop to this.
March 4, 2001
Teresa Earnhardt's request:
"I ask anyone, who feels as strongly as we do, to let your voice be heard. Over the next few days, please contact the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and the President of the Florida Senate, both of whom are in Tallahassee, and will hopefully be taking up this issue shortly. Ask them to protect the privacy of citizens by preventing the publication of autopsy photos. Then do the same in your own state. Please also contact Florida Governor Jeb Bush and then contact your own governor. Finally, we encourage you to let the Orlando Sentinel know how you feel about this unfortunate situation."
Teresa Earnhardt's Full Statement
Here are some things you can
do to help with Teresa Earnhardt's plea to stop the release of the autopsy
From everything I have read
we must act now to be heard. I believe the parties involved, The
Earnhardt Family and the Orlando Sentinel, are scheduled to be back in
court on Thursday, March 8th(UPDATE: Now March 19th see above AP
release). I have read the Sentinel explanation of
why they are pursuing this and I am not satisfied that their ultimate
desire is for the best interest of NASCAR safety.
Cindy Bailey of SpeedFx.com writes, "So, what does the Sentinel have to gain in all of this? Why are they even a part of this? Perhaps if this happened in a different era, in one of days past, when compassion and caring was the motivating factor instead of today's greed and profit, race fans and perhaps even Teresa Earnhardt herself may have taken a different fix on this. But in a day when crash videos and horrific tragedies make every night television viewing ratings, there is hardly one iota of speculation in my own mind as to the real underlying purpose that the Sentinel may actually have. And the sad part of it is, that the company behind this news organization most likely has more money than Earnhardt herself to fight this and could even outlast her appeals. It is easy enough for me to see, such a company who is owned by Tribune Interactive, a holding company with other assets such as but not included to, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles.
WGN-TV Chicago, the Chicago Cubs, Showtime, and a half dozen radio stations across the USA, the acquisition of the Earnhardt photos would be a feather big enough to cover a lot of media
Stand up and speak out now to stop this. Dale Earnhardt was a hero to
millions of people worldwide, but he was also a family man and they need
peace and healing. The release of photos in any fashion will only
do more harm and cause more pain to the Earnhardt family.
Below is contact information so that you can be heard. Please
contact these people and let them know how you feel about this matter.
Blk3GM's Dale Earnhardt Site.
Tell the Orlando Sentinel
that you want them to drop the law suit and not to pursue trying to
obtain the autopsy photos of Dale Earnhardt.
Ask these people to
help the Earnhardt Family stop the Orlando Sentinel or any one else
from obtaining the autopsy photo's of Dale Earnhardt.
Sign a petition,
There are currently three petition at petitiononline.com
To: The Orlando Sentinel and The Tribune
We the fans and followers of Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR along with subscribers to the Orlando Sentinel request that you rescind your request to view the autopsy photographs of Dale Earnhardt.
We do not feel that the public will learn anything new about this incident and that it will only cause more hurt and pain for his fans and most of all his family and friends.
While you may have a legal right to view these photos and report on them, we ask that you take the moral high ground and allow his family to grieve in peace by allowing them their privacy in this most difficult time.
Here to Sign.
To: Florida House of Representatives, president of
Florida Senate and Florida Gov, Jeb Bush
This is a Petition to the Florida
House of Representatives, the president of the Florida Senate and
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, asking them to "Protect the privacy and
respect the Earnhardt Family, by denying the release of Dale
Earnhardt's autopsy Photo's. The photo's should be turned over to Theresa
Earnhardt and never seen or considered to be placed in the hands of
any other. Click
Here to Sign.
To: The State of Florida and All Media Resources
In this very difficult time of
grieving, we, the fans, find it unnecessary to view the autopsy
photographs of Dale Earnhardt.
Though you may have legal rights to view and publish these pictures,
we find it morally degrading to Dale Earnhardt and the entire
Earnhardt family. Please allow our fallen hero to rest in peace, and
give his family the opportunity to grieve in privacy. We request
that all access to these photographs be revoked.
Here to Sign.