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Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

January 9 to 11, 2006

The following summaries are drawn from briefs and lower court judgments. They are meant to provide a general idea of facts and issues presented in cases, and should not be considered official court documents. Facts and issues presented in these summaries should be checked for accuracy against records and briefs, available from the Court, which provide more specific information.

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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Monday, January 9, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

State of Florida v. Steven Paul

SC05-656

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here.

9:00

Paul was convicted of four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a 13-year-old boy. He challenged his convictions, arguing the acts comprised a single episode and that prosecution and conviction of four separate counts violated double jeopardy. The trial judge disagreed but the 4th District Court of Appeal partially agreed and reversed two of the counts. In this appeal to the Supreme Court, the state argues that three of the counts are based on separate subsections of the lewd and lascivious statute – lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd and lascivious exhibition, and lewd and lascivious molestation. The fourth count, the state argues, is based on an act that occurred in a separate room, which allows it to stand independently. Paul argues it's not clear that state lawmakers intended to punish the separate offenses outlined in the statute independently.

Broward County

Kathleen Miller v. Scottsdale Insurance Co.

SC05-936

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here.  

Approx. 9:40

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asks the Supreme Court to rule on the scope of a Florida statute governing cancellation of an insurance policy for non-payment of premium. The issue arose in a lawsuit filed by Miller, who was injured at the Cuban Club and awarded $331,000 in damages. A federal judge agreed with Scottsdale that it was not liable because the insurance policy it had issued for the Cuban Club had been canceled four days before Miller was injured. Miller appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She argues the policy cancellation had not yet taken effect because Scottsdale had not yet notified the bank that financed the Cuban Club and been named as an insured in the policy.

Hillsborough County

Robert L. Henry v. State of Florida

SC03-1312 | SC04-1285

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30

Henry was convicted of the murders of Janet Thermidor and Phyllis Harris, who were fatally beaten and burned in a Deerfield Beach fabric store in November 1987. The jury voted death for both murders, by votes of 9-3 and 8-4, and Henry was condemned. The Supreme Court upheld the convictions and sentences but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that decision and directed the state Supreme Court to reconsider the case. After doing so, the Florida Supreme Court again upheld the convictions and sentences and Henry filed an appeal in trial court. After a hearing on some of the issues, the judge rejected the appeal and Henry challenges that decision in this appeal. He raises several issues.

Broward County

Lynford Blackwood v. State of Florida

SC03-1553 | SC04-945

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10

Blackwood was convicted of fatally choking Caroline Thomas-Tynes in January 1995 in Fort Lauderdale. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction and sentence and Blackwood filed his first post-conviction appeal in trial court. The judge upheld the conviction but overturned the sentence and ordered a new penalty hearing. In this appeal, Blackwood challenges the part of the ruling that upholds his conviction and the state challenges the part of the ruling that strikes the sentence.

Broward County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Melvin Trotter v. State of Florida

SC03-735 | SC03-1967

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

Trotter was convicted of fatally stabbing 70-year-old Virgie E. Langford in her store in Palmetto in 1986. He was condemned but the Supreme Court overturned his sentence. In his second penalty hearing, the jury voted 11-1 to recommend death and he was condemned again. The Supreme Court upheld the second sentence, and the circuit court denied his motion for postconviction relief. In this appeal, Trotter argues he is mentally retarded and thus shielded from the death penalty.

Manatee County

J.I.S. v. State of Florida

SC05-1097

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40 J.I.S., a juvenile, was adjudicated delinquent for lewd and lascivious battery and was committed to a high-risk program for an indeterminate period. He argues he is entitled to credit for the five months he spent in secure detention before trial. The trial judge and the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected that argument. The District Court ruled it was not logical to adjust an indeterminate sentence for time served. The District Court also distinguished the juvenile system, which it said was designed for rehabilitation, from the adult justice system, which does provide credit for time served but is designed for punishment. Clay Couty

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Shannon Nichols

SC03-1483 | SC03-1653

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

 

Removed from the calendar

Orange County

V.K.E. v. State of Florida

SC05-1176

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30

V.K.E., a 16-year-old, pled no contest to one count of simple battery after a fight with an unrelated person. In addition to restitution, V.K.E. was ordered to pay more than $350 in assessments to fund domestic violence and rape treatment services. The 5th District Court of Appeal upheld the surcharges but asked the state Supreme Court whether such fees, which are mandatory in adult cases, are also required by state law in juvenile cases.

Marion County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Ass'n v. Florida Dept. of Administrative Hearings

SC04-227 | SC04-666

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

9:00

The two cases consolidated in this appeal deal with the statutory provisions that govern the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan, which was created to provide Florida's obstetricians with an administrative alternative to medical malpractice lawsuits in cases where an infant sustains neurological injuries during the birthing process. In both cases, the association created by statute to administer the Plan is challenging rulings by the 2nd District Court of Appeal dealing with whether an Administrative Law Judge may determine if families were adequately notified of their health care provider's participation in the Plan.

Pinellas County

Pasco County

Ronald McLean v. State of Florida

SC03-1732

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 9:40

McLean was convicted of attempted sexual battery and lewd molestation of an 8-year-old boy and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The only direct evidence against him was the testimony of the child and the testimony of a social worker. However, using a 2001 state law, prosecutors also introduced testimony from a 27-year-old man who accused McLean of molesting him when he was a teen-ager and pre-teen. McLean argues that state law is unconstitutional on several grounds, including the guarantee of due process of law. The 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld his conviction but certified a question to the Supreme Court. That question is whether the law violates due process when a defendant's identity is not in question. In this appeal, McLean argues the law that allows evidence related to earlier unrelated instances of child molestation made his trial fundamentally unfair. The state argues the law is constitutional and provides for a trial judge to determine the relevance and prejudice on a case by case basis.

Polk County

Guerry Wayne Hertz v. State of Florida

SC05-59

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 10:30

Hertz was convicted of the fatal shooting of Melanie King and Robin Spears, who were murdered during a robbery of their home in July 1997. A jury recommended death by a 10-2 vote for each murder and he was condemned. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentence and Hertz lost is first post-conviction appeal in trial court. This appeal challenges that loss. He raises various issues.

Wakulla County

Clarence Edward Hill v. State of Florida

SC06-2

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

Approx. 11:10 A warrant has been issued for the execution of Hill for the 1982 murder of a Pensacola police officer. Escambia County

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

No cases scheduled

 

 

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Friday, January 13, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

No cases scheduled 

 

 

 

 

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

thursday, January 26, 2006

Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case

 Time

Facts & Issues

Place of Origin

Arthur Rutherford v. State of Florida  

SC06-18

View briefs in Acrobat format by clicking the case number(s) here 

 9:00

 Mr. Rutherford was convicted of the August 1985 murder of Stella Salamon, a 63-year-old widow who was beaten and then drowned in the bathtub of her home in Santa Rosa County. The jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. His execution has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 31. In his appeal, he challenges a ruling by a trial judge who refused to hear testimony from a new witness that implicates another person for the murder. He also argues that Florida’s process of lethal inject is unnecessarily painful and violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The state argues other evidence supports his conviction and that the state’s lethal injection process is appropriate.

Santa Rosa County