[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
February 2 to 6, 2004

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 2, 2004
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
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
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
Cowan Liebowitz & Latman, P.C. v. Donald Kaplan

SC03-59

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9:00 Medical Research Industries, Inc., (MRI) allegedly received bad legal advice from attorneys in connection with raising money to expand its operations. MRI later assigned its assets to Kaplan, who then sued the attorneys for legal malpractice. The trial court ruled that claims for legal malpractice are nontransferable. The Third District Court reversed. Miami-Dade County
B.C. v. Florida Dep't of Children & Families

SC03-1632

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Approx. 9:40 The State sought to terminate the parental rights of a parent serving a prison sentence, under a law authorizing termination if incarceration constitutes a "substantial portion" of the time before the child turns 18. The trial court denied termination, but the Fourth District reversed and certified conflict with the Second District on whether the focus of the statute is the entire time the parent is incarcerated or the time left in the parent's sentence. Palm Beach County
Donald David Dillbeck v. State of Florida

SC02-2044 | SC03-1123

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Approx. 10:30 Dillbeck was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the June 1990 murder of Faye Lamb Vann. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity.  Leon County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, February 4, 2004
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
John Chamberlain v. State of Florida

SC02-1150

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9:00 Chamberlain was charged with the November 1998 murders of Daniel Ketchum, Brian Harrison, and Charlotte Kenyan. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal. Palm Beach County
Jermaine Lebron v. State of Florida

SC02-1956

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Approx. 10:00 Lebron appeals his sentence of death imposed on resentencing. In 1998, Lebron was found guilty of the first-degree felony murder and robbery with a firearm of Larry Neal Oliver, Jr., and sentenced to death. On August 30, 2001, this Court affirmed Lebron's convictions, but vacated the death sentence, and remanded the case for a new penalty phase.  Osceola County
Erica Tyne v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., L.P.

SC03-1251

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Approx. 10:40. Billy Tyne, Jr., and Dale Murphy were lost at sea in October 1991 when their commercial fishing vessel, the Andrea Gail, apparently sank during a violent storm. A movie, The Perfect Storm, later was filmed about this event and received gross earnings in excess of $150 million. Tyne and Murphy's surviving family and one former crew member sued under a Florida statute prohibiting the commercial use of people's names or likenesses without their permission. The trial court ruled in favor of Time Warner but, on appeal, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court certified a question to the Florida Supreme Court on the proper interpretation of the statute.  Central Florida

Statewide impact

State of Florida v. Henry Maynard Barnum

SC03-1315

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Approx. 11:20 Barnum was convicted of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer. At his trial, the jury was not required to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Barnum had knowledge of the victim's status as a law enforcement officer. Subsequently, this Court held in a 1997 case that knowledge is an element of the crime of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer. This case presents the question of the retroactivity of that 1997 ruling. Leon County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, February 5, 2004
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
Pedro Hernandez-Alberto v. State of Florida

SC02-1617

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9:00 Hernandez-Alberto was accused of the January 1999 murders of Isela Gonzalez and Donna Berezovsky. At trial he was convicted and the jury recommended the death penalty on both counts by a vote of 10-to-2. The trial court imposed it. This is his direct appeal. Hillsborough County
Luther Douglas v. State of Florida

SC02-1666

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Approx. 10:00 Luther Douglas was convicted of the December 1999 sexual battery and first-degree murder of Mary Ann Hobgood. The jury recommended a sentence of death 11-to-1. The trial judge followed the jury's recommendation and imposed a sentence of death. This is Douglas's direct appeal of his conviction and sentence. Duval County
Florida Dep't of Children & Families v. F.L.

SC03-1602

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Approx. 11:00 The Department of Children and Families appeals the reversal of the trial court's termination of the parental rights of F.L., the Mother, to her seventh child. The order of termination was based in part on a statute providing that a prior involuntary termination of rights to a sibling may serve as grounds for termination of rights to a current child. The primary issue is whether the statute unconstitutionally shifts the burden of proof from DCF to the parent by requiring the parent to show that her past conduct does not predict that the current child is at risk. Broward County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, February 6, 2004
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
Sprint-Florida, Inc. V. Lila A. Jaber

SC03-235 | SC03-236

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8:30 In consolidated appeals, Sprint and Verizon challenge the Public Service Commission's finding of a default definition of "local calling area" for purposes of reciprocal compensation between telecommunication carriers. In a cross-appeal, AT&T challenges the Public Service Commission's findings regarding telecommunication carriers' eligibility for the tandem interconnection rate. Statewide impact
Robert L. Battle, Jr. V. State of Florida

SC03-443

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Approx. 9:10 Robert Battle, Jr., was convicted of attempted felony murder, attempted second-degree murder, and attempted robbery. Battle did not object to the jury instruction on attempted felony murder, but raised the issue as fundamental error on appeal. The Second District concluded that it was not fundamental error to fail to instruct on an essential element of attempted felony murder in this case when Battle's defense was mistaken identity. However, the Second District certified conflict with a decision of the Fourth District Court on this point. Battle also claims that the information charging him with attempted felony murder was fundamentally defective in that it failed to allege an essential element of the offense and that his conviction for both attempted second-degree murder and attempted felony murder constituted a double jeopardy violation. Pinellas County
Michael Peter Fitzpatrick v. State of Florida

SC01-2759

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Approx. 9:50 Fitzpatrick was arrested and charged with the August 1996 murder of Laura Romines. At trial, the jury convicted him and recommended the death penalty 10-to-2, which the trial judge imposed. This is Fitzpatrick's direct appeal. Pasco County


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