Court: UF must disclose locations of animal research labs


Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 9:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 9:07 p.m.

The University of Florida has to release the locations of its animal research labs after a court battle with animal rights activist Camille Marino ended with an appeals court ruling that the locations are public record.

The First District Court of Appeal filed the opinion this week, reversing a lower court's ruling. Marino, part of the animal rights group Negotiation Is Over, had already won one legal battle over the release of the records.

UF spokesman Chris Moran said UF was disappointed in the ruling but would remain vigilant in protecting its researchers.

"This is about the safety of our people," he said. "That's what this is about."

Last year, several UF employees said they had been harassed or threatened after their home addresses were posted on the website for Negotiation Is Over.

Marino pursued the appeal last year while awaiting trial for an unrelated case in Michigan. She was arrested in Gainesville in February 2012 during a protest outside a ceremony at Emerson Alumni Hall at UF. Gainesville Police arrested her on an out-of-state warrant from a case related to her protests of a Wayne State University researcher.

In December, Marino was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to trespassing and unlawful posting charges in a plea deal.

According to the website for the Michigan Department of Corrections, Marino is listed as on probation.

Marcy Lahart, Marino's attorney, said on Thursday she fully expected the appeals court to rule in their favor.

"You can't just decide that something is exempt because you wish it was," she said.

Lahart said she had not yet spoken with Marino, but the ruling had been relayed to Marino through a friend.

Moran said UF will comply with the records request, and the university has no plans to appeal any further.

"As far we're concerned, the case is now done and closed," he said.

Contact Joey Flechas at 388-3166 or joey.flechas@gvillesun.com.

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