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  • Gavel to Gavel - Supreme Court Oral Argument Broadcasts

    Oral Argument Banner

    Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

    April 16-20 & 25, 2007

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    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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    Names & phone numbers of attorneys in these cases are available in Acrobat format.

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    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Monday, April 16, 2007

    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

    In re Florida Registered Paralegal Program

    SC06-1622

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

    9:00

    The Court considers a proposal by The Florida Bar to create a Registered Paralegal Program. The Court asked interested parties to file comments on the question of whether the Court has authority to regulate people who are not lawyers and who are not engaged in the unlicensed practice of law. The Bar argues that the program, if created, would not qualify as regulation because it will be voluntary. The Bar also argues that the Court's jurisdiction over the practice of law extends to paralegals, who work under the supervision of lawyers.

    Statewide impact

    Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General: Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    SC06-2183 | SC06-2261

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

    Approx. 9:40

    A citizens' initiative proposing the state fund research that uses embryonic stem cells is before the Court, which will review it to see if it deals with a single subject only and is fairly summarized for voters. The amendment would require that $20 million in state general revenue be spent annually for 10 years.

    Statewide impact

    Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General: Prohibiting State Funding Involving Destruction of a Human Embryo

    SC06-2286 | SC07-54

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

    Approx. 10:30

    A citizens' initiative that would ban the use of state revenue on embryonic stem cell research is before the Court, which will review it to see if it deals with a single subject only and is fairly summarized for voters.

    Statewide impact

    Richard A. Nx v. Brenda W. Nix

    SC06-1326

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

    Approx. 11:10

    Mr. Nix is challenging a formula created to distribute a portion of his pension benefits with his former wife. One issue is the appropriate date that should be used to calculate the division of the benefits. A second issue is whether Mrs. Nix is entitled to a portion of benefits that her former husband might earn if he participates in the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court, which approved the formula.

    Escambia County

    Jonathan Huey Lawrence v. State of Florida

    SC06-352 | SC06-1152

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

    Approx. 11:50

    Mr. Lawrence was charged with being a principal in the May 1998 murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson, who was fatally shot. He pleaded guilty, the jury voted 11-1 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld his conviction and sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Lawrence filed a postconviction claim in trial court. It was denied and this appeal followed. Mr. Lawrence raises several issues, including an argument that his plea was not voluntary or knowing because of mental illness.

    Santa Rosa County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    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

    Nickulis Gillis v. State of Florida

    SC06-1207

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

    9:00

    Mr. Gillis was convicted of the 2002 second-degree murder of Martin Daniel, who was fatally shot, and sentenced to life in prison. At trial, Mr. Gillis argued that his confession should not be used because he was not adequately advised of his constitutional rights to talk to a lawyer before answering questions and to stop questioning. The trial court denied his motion and the Third District Court of Appeal upheld that ruling.

    Osceola County

    Connie Ray Israel v. State of Florida

    SC05-1739 | SC06-653

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. Israel was convicted of the 1991 rape and murder of Esther Hagans, who was attacked in her home during a burglary. The jury voted 11-1 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld is conviction and sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Israel filed a postconviction appeal in trial court. It was rejected and this appeal followed. He raises various issues.

    Putnam County

    William Thomas Zeigler, Jr. v. State of Florida

    SC05-1333

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Zeigler was convicted of the 1976 first-degree murders of his wife, Eunice Zeigler, and Charles Mays. A jury recommended life imprisonment but the judge imposed two death sentences. After initially upholding the convictions and sentences, this Court later granted Mr. Zeigler a new sentencing proceeding. At resentencing, the trial judge again overrode the jury's recommendation of life in prison and imposed two death sentences. This Court upheld the sentences. Mr. Zeigler has had several postconviction appeals heard by the trial court and this Court. This is his latest.

    Orange County

    Russell Owen Insko v. State of Florida

    SC06-1619

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

    Approx. 11:10

    Mr. Insko was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct of a person under the age of 16 by a defendant under the age of 18. The Second District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction based on an issue relating to evidence and sent the case back for a new trial. Mr. Insko argued he could not be tried again because he was over the age of 18 at the time of the crime. The state argued that the age of the offender was not an essential element of the crime. The trial court ruled the issue of age could be set aside. Mr. Insko pleaded no contest and reserved his right to appeal. The 2nd DCA upheld the trial court and asked this Court to address the question.

    Hillsborough County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    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 Hematology & Oncology Specialists v. Rambabu Tummala

    SC06-993

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

    9:00

    The Fifth District Court of Appeal agreed with a trial court that Florida law does not recognize referral relationships with other physicians as a legitimate business interest that would justify a restrictive provision in an employment contract. In this appeal, Florida Hematology argues that such relationships are business interests under state law. It is seeking to enforce a contract provision to prevent Dr. Tummala, a former partner, from practicing in the vicinity of Florida Hematology within a certain period after leaving the practice. Dr. Tummala argues that the plain language of state law, as well as an earlier decision by the First District Court of Appeal, makes it clear that referring physicians are not a legitimate business interest.

    Lake County

    Christopher Offord v. State of Florida

    SC05-1611

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. Offord was convicted of the July 2004 murder of his estranged wife, Dana Noser, who was fatally beaten. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal. He argues that a death sentence is not warranted because of the weight of mitigating factors to the murder, especially those relating to his mental illness.

    Bay County

    William Melvin White v. State of Florida

    SC05-1613

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

    Approx. 10:40

    Mr. White was convicted of the 1978 murder of Gracie Mae Crawford, who was beaten and fatally stabbed. He was sentenced to death but that sentence was later overturned on appeal and he had a second sentencing hearing. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned a second time. The second sentence was upheld on direct appeal. He filed a postconviction appeal in trial court and it was rejected. This appeal followed. He raises several issues.

    Orange County

     


    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Thursday, April 19, 2007

    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

    In re Standard Jury Instructions (Criminal)

    SC05-960 | SC05-1890

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

    9:00

    The Court considers proposed changes to the standard jury instructions that are given to juries during the penalty phases of capital trials.

    Statewide impact

    Elizabeth J. Neumont v. State of Florida, Monroe County

    SC06-1204

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

    Approx. 9:30

    Monroe County adopted an ordinance that bans short-term vacation rentals of property. Ms. Neumont and other property-owners filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance. Among other things, they argued the ordinance violated state law and took their property without fair compensation. A federal trial court dismissed the lawsuit and Ms. Neumont and the others appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That court sent the following question to the Florida Supreme Court: When the county adopted the ordinance did it violate a state law that requires a local government to start over if a substantial change is made to proposed zoning ordinances during the enactment process?

    Monroe County

    Walton County v. Save Our Beaches, Inc.

    SC06-1447 | SC06-1449

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

    Approx. 10:10

    This Court is asked whether owners of oceanfront properties have been unconstitutionally deprived of their common-law water rights by a beach renourishment project. The First District Court of Appeal held that the landowners who joined together as Stop the Beach Renourishment were deprived of some of their rights without compensation and that a 2005 state law intended to restore eroded public beaches was unconstitutional as applied in this case.

    Walton County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Friday, April 20, 2007

    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

    The Florida Bar v. Joyce Sibson Dove

    SC05-302 | SC05-1157

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

    8:30

    The Florida Bar filed ethics charges against Ms. Dove related to her handling of an adoption. The judge assigned to hear the case as a referee found her guilty and recommended a public reprimand, two years probation, and forfeiture of fees. The Bar argues the discipline should be a year's suspension. Ms. Dove argues that no discipline more severe than a reprimand is warranted, that she should not have to pay some of the Bar's costs, and that she should not have to forfeit the fees.

    Leon County

    William Todd Larimore v. State of Florida

    SC06-139

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

    Approx. 9:10

    Mr. Larimore challenges his incarceration under Florida's Jimmy Ryce Act, which provides for the detention of sexually violent predators. Mr. Larimore pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 16 years of age in two separate cases and was sentenced to prison and probation. After being released from prison, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to prison again. The First District Court of Appeal later ruled Mr. Larimore was to be immediately released from prison because the state had wrongly forfeited his gaintime. Mr. Larimore argues the state petitioned to have him designated a sexually violent predator when he was illegally incarcerated. The 1st DCA disagreed.

    Leon County

    Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Solutions v. City of Marco Island

    SC06-1577

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

    Approx. 9:50

    The city of Marco Island issued special assessment revenue bonds to pay for a sewer and wastewater treatment project. The trial court validated the bond issue and Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Solutions appealed that ruling to this Court. They argue the city has unfairly levied assessments to fund the bonds on new users of the wastewater treatment facility alone and that existing users should bear some of the cost. The city argues that new users are being assessed only for expansion of the wastewater treatment facility, not upgrades to the system.

    Collier County

    Allstate Insurance Co. v. Holly Cross Hospital, Inc.

    SC05-435 | SC05-545

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Two Allstate customers hurt in auto accidents were treated at Holy Cross Hospital. Holy Cross sent their claims for coverage under the "personal injury protection" provisions of their insurance policies to Allstate. Allstate paid the claims but at the rates that Holy Cross charged a "preferred provider organization" or PPO network. Holy Cross filed a lawsuit in county court, arguing that Allstate had not complied with Florida's PIP law in connection with the PPO rates. The trial court entered final judgment in the hospital's favor. Allstate appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, which reversed that ruling. Florida's hospitals and a consumer group have filed briefs in support of Holy Cross; a state insurance association has filed a brief in support of Allstate.

    Broward County

     


    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    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

    Donald Eldrenal Jenkins v. State of Florida

    SC06-839

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

    10:00

    Mr. Jenkins was charged with a drug offense. He argued evidence in the case should be suppressed because police violated his constitutional shield against unreasonable searches when they looked in his boxer shorts in the middle of a gas station at an urban intersection. The trial court ruled police had acted properly and Mr. Jenkins pleaded no contest and appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal agreed that the search was constitutional. The 2nd DCA also ruled the search violated Florida's strip search law but that the state law did not provide for exclusion of the evidence.

    Hillsborough County