Bill Nelson says state’s refusal to issue Dozier permits is “a dodge”

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Researchers at the University of South Florida responded to the state today, asking that they reconsider their decision to deny issuing permits needed to exhume human remains from an untold number of unmarked graves at the now-defunct Arthur G. Dozier School in Marianna, Florida.  

“USF researchers are not at Dozier to get ideas for a journal article, but to return lost human remains to their families,” the school’s chief lawyer wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner earlier today. 

In asking the state to reconsider its decision denying the permits, school officials challenged the state’s interpretation of Florida law saying “… it appears that you have misunderstood: (1) the nature of Dozier burial grounds; (2) the discoveries made by USF researcher at the Dozier burial grounds; and (3) The Division’s jurisdiction under Florida law in light of those discoveries.” 

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who has been advocating for the investigation since his office received requests for help from family members last year, was in Tampa earlier today and asked by reporters there for his reaction to the school’s latest move. 

“The state has ample authority here,” Nelson said.  “Their refusal to issue the permits is just a dodge.  The response by USF makes hash out of the state’s position.”


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.