[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
February 3-7, 2003

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.

[ETCHING: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Robert Craig Waters, Director of Public Information
(850) 414-7641


Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, February 3, 2003
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
Dan Ray Warren v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.

SC02-285

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9:00 Warren was injured in an automobile accident. He received medical treatment, but his physician failed to submit the insurance claim until after the 30-day period required by a Florida statute. State Farm denied the claim on grounds it was delinquent. The trial judge ruled the statute unconstitutional, but the Fifth District Court reversed. Volusia County
Nelson Robles v. Metropolitan Dade County

SC02-132

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Approx. 9:40 In November 1995 Nicholas Sang hijacked a bus occupied by 13 children who had disabilities. A Metropolitan Dade police sharpshooter later fired a shot, striking Sang, but also sending a spray of glass and metal into the bus that blinded a child in one eye. The child and his parents sued, but the trial judge ruled in favor of Metropolitan Dade. The Third District Court affirmed. Dade County
Alfred Lewis Fennie v. State of Florida

SC01-2480| SC02-1180

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Approx. 10:30 Fennie was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the September 1991 murder of Mary Elaine Shearin. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Hernando County
Dwayne Curtis Dorsey v. State of Florida

SC02-531

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Approx. 11:10 Dorsey was charged with battery on a law officer and resisting an officer with violence. During jury selection, the State removed an African-American juror over the defense's objection. The trial judge found the removal to be race-neutral. Dorsey then was convicted on the second charge and sentenced to five years. He appealed on grounds the juror was improperly removed, but the Third District Court affirmed.  Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, February 4, 2003
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
Sally Sarkis v. Allstate Insurance Co.

SC02-428

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9:00 In a lawsuit, the jury awarded Sarkis damages in excess of a prior settlement offer made by Allstate. The trial judge then awarded the attorney, who was working by contingent fee, an additional multiplier because of the higher verdict. The Fifth District Court reversed. Brevard County
Barry L. Berges v. Infinity Insurance Co.

SC01-2846

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Approx. 9:40 Berges owned a car that was being driven by someone else when it crossed the center line and struck another car, killing the driver of that car and injuring her daughter. Berges' insurance company did not settle with the deceased's estate, and the estate of the deceased won a substantial jury award against Berges. Berges then sued his insurance company on grounds it acted in bad faith, and the jury awarded him more than $1.8 million. On appeal, the Second District Court reversed.  Hillsborough County
Paul Thompson v. State of Florida

SC02-800

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Approx. 10:30 Thompson pled guilty to the felony charge of knowingly driving with a suspended, canceled, or revoked license. He was sentenced to 36 months, but the State successfully appealed on grounds this sentence fell below the guidelines range. At his new sentencing, he received 57.9 months in prison. He later challenged the validity of his sentence, but the trial judge rejected his claim. On appeal, the Fifth District affirmed. Sumter County
John Blackwelder v. State of Florida

SC01-2058

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Approx. 11:10 Blackwelder was charged with the May 2000 murder of fellow inmate Raymond D. Wigley at the Columbia Correctional Institute. He pled guilty and, at the penalty phase, a jury recommended death 12-to-0. The trial judge imposed the death penalty. This is Blackwelder's direct appeal. Columbia County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, February 5, 2003
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
Amendment to Family Law Rules of Procedure

SC02-1574

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9:00 The Family Court Steering Committee has petitioned the Court for modification of rules governing domestic violence proceedings in state courts. Statewide impact
Duane E. Owen v. James v. Crosby, Jr.

SC01-2146| SC01-2476

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Approx. 9:40 Owen was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the July 1984 murder of Georgianna Worden. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Palm Beach County
Wayne Tompkins v. State of Florida

SC01-1619

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Approx. 10:30 Tompkins was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the March 1983 murder of Lisa DeCarr. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Hillsborough County
S.B. v. Department of Children & Families

SC02-2262

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Approx. 11:10 S.B.'s two children were declared dependent and taken into state custody after she failed to appear in court pursuant to a summons. Later the court appointed an attorney for her who filed a motion to set aside this order. The court never ruled on the motion, nor did counsel take an appeal. S.B. then filed court pleadings alleging that her attorney inadequately represented her. The trial court denied the motion, and the Fourth District Court held that there is no right to competent counsel in dependency proceedings. Palm Beach County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, February 6, 2003
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, February 7, 2003
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



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