Broward News

Judge Jay Hurley Modest About Role Preparing Florida for Terrorist Attack

During last month's meeting of the Sun-Sentinel editorial board, Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley departed from his stump speech to mention an exciting, previously unheard credential: He had devised a plan for the governor to follow in the event of a terrorist attack in Florida.


For some reason, Hurley wasn't as eager to talk about this role when I called him Friday. "I know that no matter what I tell you, you're not going to write a fair article," he snapped. 

Now that sounds like a challenge! Ultrafair article, after the jump.

For those wondering why a call from the Juice gets Hurley's trademark bow tie a-spinnin', check out this post from February. Or this one from April.


But let's get to the very serious matter at hand: terrorism response. Late in 2006, two years before Hurley was appointed to the bench, Charlie Crist made Hurley a member of the transition team, advising the governor-elect on the state of the Department of Military Affairs. (Hurley was in the same Florida State fraternity as Crist, and he's a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer.)

While taking a close look at that agency, Hurley made a discovery: "No one had ever addressed the issue of how to respond to a potential terrorist attack," he says.

So that's what Hurley did, giving particular focus to the possibility of a terrorist strike at a sporting event or theme park. 

I asked Hurley if he still had a copy of his plan. "No," he answered. "I shared it in a discussion with the governor and the lieutenant governor."

I asked whether the governor acted on Hurley's recommendations. He didn't know. "We haven't had a terrorist attack," says Hurley. "So we haven't needed to put it into action."

Seems a bit informal and unofficial; but then, if there is a specific way for the Florida National Guard to respond to a terrorist attack, the governor probably wouldn't be eager to share the details with the world.

In any case, it was part of a productive discussion with the Sun-Sentinel, which gave Hurley its endorsement last week in his race against Fort Lauderdale attorney Melissa Minsk Donoho. 

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Thomas Francis