[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
May 5-9, 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.

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[ETCHING: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
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Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, May 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
BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. Linda Meeks

SC02-1033

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

9:00 Meeks' husband was killed when he was electrocuted by downed power lines suspended from a rotted pole previously maintained by BellSouth. The husband was survived by his wife, a 28-year-old daughter, and a 24-year-old son. Florida law only permits surviving children to sue over a parent's death if they are younger than 25, but a question arose as to whether the son could seek loss of consortium damages only for the time until he reached age 25 or for his entire life. The trial judge ruled that his damages would extend only until his 25th birthday, but the Fifth District Court ruled they would extend for his entire life. St. John's County
State of Florida v. Robert Baez

SC02-1173

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

Approx. 9:40 A deputy found Baez in a parked vehicle slumped over the steering wheel. He knocked on the window, and Baez sat upright and opened the door to talk with the officer. He said he had only been sleeping. The officer asked for Baez' license, ran a check on it, and learned there was a possible out-of-state warrant for Baez. The officer placed Baez in custody and then discovered cocaine in the car. At trial, Baez was found guilty and sentenced to five and a half months in jail. On appeal, the Fourth District Court reversed on grounds that Baez had been unlawfully detained. Broward County
Ray Lamar Johnston v. State of Florida

SC01-1914

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

Approx. 10:30 Johnston was charged with the February 1997 murder of Janice Nugent. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The jury recommended the death penalty 11-to-1, which the court imposed. This is Johnston's direct appeal. Hillsborough County
C.T. v. State of Florida

SC02-1811

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

Approx. 11:30 C.T. , a minor, was charged with battery and later placed on community control. She violated the terms of that control several times, and the Department of Juvenile Justice recommended that C.T. be committed to a moderate risk facility. Instead, the judge ordered her into a high-risk facility. On appeal, the Fourth District agreed that the judge had authority to modify the Department's recommendation Palm Beach County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, May 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
City of Gainesville v. State of Florida

SC02-1696

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

9:00 Gainesville established a stormwater utility and authorized a bond issue to finance improvements to its stormwater facilities. The bonds would be secured by proceeds from a stormwater fee on certain property. The trial court found the fee invalid and so refused to approve the bond issue. This is the city's direct appeal. Alachua County
Citizens of the State of Florida v. Lila A. Jaber

SC02-2159

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

Approx. 9:40 The Florida Public Service Commission approved most aspects of a plan by Florida Power Corp., Florida Power and Light, and Tampa Electric Co., to form a regional transmission organization to be known as GridFlorida. The Office of Public Counsel has challenged this action. Leon County
Guy Richard Gamble v. State of Florida

SC02-195 | SC02-1948

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

Approx. 10:30 Gamble was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the December 1991 murder of Helmut Kuehl. He now challenges the validity of his sentence. Lake County
Thomas C. Thibault v. State of Florida

SC01-2508

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

Approx. 11:10 Thibault was charged with the murders of Bryan Harrison, Charlotte Kenyan, and Daniel Ketchum. He pled guilty and waived his right to a penalty phase before a jury. After conducting its own penalty phase, the trial court sentenced him to die. This is his direct appeal. Palm Beach County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, May 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
Amendments to Florida Rules of Civil Procedure

SC03-161

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9:00 A Florida Bar committee proposes amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure. Statewide impact
Amendments to Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure

SC03-60

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Approx. 9:40 A Florida Bar committee proposes amendments to the Florida Family Law Rules. Statewide impact
Amendments to Florida Rules of Judicial Administration

SC03-105

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Approx. 10:10 A Florida Bar committee proposes amendments to the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration. Statewide impact

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, May 8, 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
American Home Assurance Co. v. Plaza Materials Corp.

SC02-1257

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

9:00 American Home was the surety on road-construction bonds executed and delivered to the Florida Department of Transportation by Cone Constructors, Inc., for its work on Polk County Parkway. One of Cone's subcontractors failed to pay another company, Plaza Materials, for products it had purchased. Plaza made a claim against the bonds, but American Home noted that the claim was filed later than the time provided by law. The trial court rejected this defense, and the Second District affirmed. Polk County
Charles Frederick Acker v. Barbara Drumm Acker

SC02-1925

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Approx. 9:40 The Ackers divorced after 23 years of marriage. At the time of their divorce in 1993, they entered into an agreement equitably dividing their assets at the time. Under this plan, the husband kept all his interest in a company pension plan then estimated to be worth $487,000, but agreed to pay his wife $3,000 in alimony subject to review at his retirement. Some years later his company offered an early retirement option that allowed the husband to retire and receive a lump-sum payment of more than $1 million plus a monthly pension of $7,803. Both parties sought to modify the divorce judgment, but the trial court denied the claims. The Third District affirmed. Dade County
Duane Owen v. State of Florida

SC95,526

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

Approx. 10:30 Owen was charged with the March 1984 murder of Karen Slattery. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death, but a new trial was ordered due to errors in the proceedings. At retrial, he again was convicted and sentenced to death. This is his direct appeal. Palm Beach County
Gregory Banks v. State of Florida

SC01-2733

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Approx. 11:30 Banks was charged with a crime and later accepted a plea agreement of 132 months in prison. Banks alleged his acceptance of the plea was based on the Sentencing Guidelines in effect at the time. Later those Guidelines were declared unconstitutional. Banks then sought to have his sentence reconsidered under the more lenient Guidelines that existed previously. The trial judge rejected his claim, and the First District affirmed. Okaloosa County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, May 9, 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
State of Florida v. Victor Giorgetti

SC02-1812

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

8:30 Giorgetti, a sexual offender, was charged with failing to register his correct address with the state as required by law. At trial he was found guilty after the judge instructed the jury that the State was not required to prove Giorgetti's omission was intentional. On appeal, the Fourth District reversed. Broward County
In re: Retirement of Sara Gainey Approx. 9:15 This event honors the retirement this summer of Supreme Court calendar clerk Sara Gainey, who has worked for the Court since Oct. 1, 1956.

Gainey, 70, has served under nearly 45 percent of the 81 Justices who have sat on the Court since statehood in 1845 and under nearly half of the 50 Chief Justices. When she first came to work, Tallahassee still used 5-digit dialing for its telephone system, the clerk's office reproduced everything with manual typewriters and hand-cranked Mimeograph machines, and the Supreme Court was the only appellate tribunal for the entire state.

Former Justices and court staff will join with their current counterparts at a reception following the ceremonial session. Expenses for the reception are being paid by many of the attorneys who worked closely with Gainey through the years as she scheduled their appearances and made sure they were ready when the Court summoned them to hear arguments.

"She not only has made sure the attorneys were in place at the right time," said Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead, "but she also has acted as adviser to the novice attorney, as counselor to those whose personal lives were troubled, and even as nurse to the occasional lawyer who fainted or grew ill at the court. She has always done this with a grace and a charm that we can simply never replace."

A native of Cairo, Georgia, Gainey moved to Tallahassee in 1953 to work for the state comptroller. In 1956, then-Clerk of Court Guyte P. McCord brought her to the Supreme Court after a 30 minute talk without so much as asking for a resume. She became calendar clerk in 1973, a position that at the time meant she also was the main court contact for the media. In 1978, the Tallahassee Capital Press Club and Tallahassee Democrat jointly awarded her the John P. Kilgore Headliners award for her work with them.

Leon County



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