Judge Denies Request to Unseal Documents in Controversial 2014 Jail Death Case in Charlotte County

Charlotte, Florida – A judge has recently denied a former prosecutor’s request to unseal documents related to a 2014 jail death in Charlotte County. Charlotte Circuit Judge Lisa Porter ruled that the grand jury records in the case of Matthew Walker’s death are exempt from release due to Florida Statutes. The records, notes, and transcripts are confidential and kept in a sealed container that is not open to public inspection.

The request for the documents was made by Christopher Crowley, who ran for state attorney in the Republican primary against Amira Fox in 2018. Crowley seeks the materials in his defense for a Florida Bar complaint filed against him by then-State Attorney Steve Russell in 2018. The complaint alleges violations of bar rules, claiming that Crowley publicly disparaged Fox during the campaign.

Since then, Fox has denied transcription and in-camera reviews of the grand jury proceedings. Porter’s ruling confirms that the requested records in Walker’s case have never been transcribed. Crowley has also filed a lawsuit against the Charlotte Clerk of Court in an effort to obtain the transcripts.

Matthew Walker’s family was present in the courtroom during the hearing. Walker died in 2014 while in custody at the Charlotte County Correctional Institute. According to reports, he was beaten by correctional officers after mouthing off to an officer who woke him up for a room check. A grand jury in 2015 failed to indict prison staffers for Walker’s death.

The family expressed their frustration at the lack of indictments, believing that it was a clear case of murder. They claim that authorities didn’t identify the specific prison guard responsible for the incident. Crowley’s efforts to have the proceedings transcribed are seen as a potential way for the family to find closure and gain more information about what happened.

The ruling by Judge Porter to deny the release of the grand jury proceedings adds another layer of secrecy to the case. The decision has left the Walker family and their supporters disappointed, as they continue to seek justice for Matthew’s death.