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    Oral Argument Banner

    Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

    May 7-11, 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, May 7, 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: Alternative Dispute Resolution & Mediators

    SC05-998

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

    9:00

    The Court considers a proposal to let non-lawyers become certified as circuit court mediators. The Court's Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules & Policy Committee recommends that the Court approve a point-based system for certification, which would award points for things like training, mentorship and experience. The Florida Bar has recommended that the current Bar membership requirement be retained.

    Statewide impact

    GTC, Inc. v. Lisa Polak Edgar

    SC06-1786

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

    Approx. 9:30

    GTC, a local phone company, is challenging a ruling by state regulators, who rejected a petition by GTC to recover costs it incurred to make repairs after Hurricane Dennis hit Florida in 2005. Under a 2005 state law, phone companies may request approval to charge customers up to $0.50 a month for a year to recover costs. The state regulatory panel, the Public Service Commission, is chaired by Ms. Edgar. It denied recovery of most of the costs GTC outlined. In this appeal, GTC argues the regulators misinterpreted the state law.

    Statewide impact

    Jason Demetrius Stephens v. State of Florida

    SC05-1301 | SC06-1729

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

    Approx. 10:10

    Mr. Stephens was convicted of the 1997 murder of 3-year-old Robert Sparrow III, who was kidnapped from his home after Mr. Stephens broke in and robbed the people in the home. The boy's body was later found in a car; he may have been suffocated or he may have died of the heat in the closed car. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and Mr. Stephens was condemned. This Court upheld both the murder conviction and death sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Stephens then filed a challenge in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was rejected and he filed this appeal. He raises several issues.

    Duval County

    Norman Grim v. State of Florida

    SC06-122 | SC06-1575

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

    Approx. 10:50

    Mr. Grim was convicted of the 1998 murder of Cynthia Campbell, who was fatally beaten and stabbed. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld both the murder conviction and the death sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Grim then filed a motion for post-conviction relief in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was denied and he filed this appeal, raising several issues. Mr. Grim has also filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus.

    Santa Rosa County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Tuesday, May 8, 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 Amendments to Rule of Judicial Administration 2.430

    SC06-2040

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

    9:00

    The Court considers proposals to change the way court records are managed, retained and destroyed. The recommendations are offered by a workgroup created by the Court to study the issue. The workgroup has recommended that the Court create a standing committee to oversee the management of all judicial branch records, both court records and administrative records. If approved by the Court, the committee would also make decisions about how long records should be retained.

    Statewide impact

    T. Patton Youngblood v. Estate of Reinaldo Villanueva

    SC06-1205

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

    Approx. 9:40

    After Reinaldo Villanueva was killed in a car accident, his estate sued various people, including Mr. Youngblood, who had delivered a car to a consignment shop for sale a few weeks earlier. That car was involved in the fatal accident. It was being driven by the owner of the consignment shop, who was also sued but later settled. In the trial court, Mr. Youngblood argued he was not responsible because of an exception to the Florida legal doctrine that makes the owner of a car liable for damages caused when someone else is driving the car. The exception is for injuries caused by people who are working on the car when it has been left for service. The trial court agreed with Mr. Youngblood but the Second District Court of Appeal overturned that ruling.

    Hillsborough County

    Arthur Barnhill III v. State of Florida

    SC06-275 | SC06-1803

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Barnhill was convicted of the murder of 84-year-old Earl Gallipeau, who was strangled in August 1995. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. The conviction and sentence were upheld by this Court on direct appeal and Mr. Barnhill challenged his sentence in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was denied and this appeal followed. Mr. Barnhill raises several issues.

    Seminole County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Wednesday, May 9, 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

    Gary Lamar Polite v. State of Florida

    SC06-1401

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

    9:00

    Mr. Polite was convicted of tampering with a parking meter and resisting an officer with violence and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison as a prison releasee reoffender and a habitual felony offender. On appeal, he argued that he did not know the person attempting to arrest him, an undercover officer dressed in plain clothes, was in fact a police officer. The Third District Court of Appeal first upheld the conviction of resisting an officer with violence. On the initial rehearing, the court changed its previous decision and reversed the conviction. Then, on a subsequent rehearing, the court again changed its decision and affirmed the conviction. Mr. Polite appealed to this Court, arguing that knowledge of an officer's official status is an essential element of the crime of resisting arrest.

    Miami-Dade County

    Thomas M. Overton v. State of Florida

    SC04-2071 | SC05-964 | SC06-237

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. Overton was convicted of the August 1991 murders of Michael and Susan MacIvor, who were strangled and beaten in their home. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence for the murder of the husband and 9-3 to recommend death for the murder of the wife. Mr. Overton was condemned. The convictions and sentences were upheld on direct appeal to this Court and Mr. Overton then filed a challenge in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was denied and this appeal followed. Mr. Overton raises several issues.

    Monroe County

    StephenTodd Booker v. State of Florida

    SC06-121

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Booker was convicted of the November 1977 murder of 94-year-old Lorine Demoss Harmon, who was raped and fatally stabbed. He was condemned but a federal court vacated his death sentence and he had a second re-sentencing hearing. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned a second time. The second death sentence was upheld by this Court on direct appeal and Mr. Booker filed a challenge in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was denied and this appeal followed.

    Alachua County

    James L. Brooks v. State of Florida

    SC06-1266

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

    Approx. 11:10

    Mr. Brooks challenged his prison sentence, arguing the trial court mistakenly counted a charge of carjacking as a charge of armed carjacking in the score sheet used to calculate his sentence. Mr. Brooks argues that that error resulted in a longer, illegal sentence. The trial court denied his motion to correct the sentence. The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld that ruling, finding the score sheet mistake was harmless error. Mr. Brooks argues that the 4th DCA used the wrong standard when it evaluated the error.

    Broward County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Thursday, May 10, 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

    Merrit Alonzo Sims v. State of Florida

    SC04-1879

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

    9:00

    Mr. Sims was convicted of the 1991 murder of police officer Charles Stafford, who was fatally shot during a traffic stop. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld the conviction and sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Sims filed a challenge in circuit court. That post-conviction motion was denied and Mr. Sims appealed to this Court. The case was sent back to the circuit court, with directions to hear evidence on one of the issues raised by Mr. Sims. After that hearing, the circuit court ruled against Mr. Sims and the case returned to this Court.

    Miami-Dade County

    Dr. Gregory Strand v. Escambia County, Florida

    SC06-1894

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Escambia County passed an ordinance to issue $135 million in revenue bonds. The circuit court validated the bond issue, denying arguments made by Dr. Strand, a property owner in Escambia who challenged the bonds. Dr. Strand argued the bonds were backed by property taxes but were not approved by voters as required by the state constitution. He also argued the bonds did not meet the criteria set out in a state law that outlines how bonds may be issued without a voter referendum in order to develop blighted areas. Escambia argues that the bonds are not backed by property taxes and that the county has the power to issue the bonds independent of the state law cited by Mr. Strand.

    Escambia County

    Eddie Junior Brigham v. State of Florida

    SC05-245

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Bigham was convicted of the murder of Lourdes Cavazos-Blandin, who was strangled in May 2003. The jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal. He raises many issues.

    St. Lucie County

     

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Friday, May 11, 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

    No cases scheduled