[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
June 3-7, 2002

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, June 3, 2002
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
Richard Warner v. City of Boca Raton

SC01-2206

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

9:00 Several persons sued the City over an ordinance prohibiting grave decorations not level with the ground. Several residents placed vertical decorations on graves, such as crosses and Stars of David, and later sued when the City announced it would enforce its ordinance. The case was heard in federal court, which ruled in favor of the City. On appeal, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court certified questions to the Florida Supreme Court on the extent to which state law protects certain religious practices. Boca Raton
Robert Arguelles v. State of Florida

SC01-1569

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

Approx. 9:40 Arguelles was convicted and sentenced to two 15-year sentences for trafficking in cocaine and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. He argued that he was convicted based on improperly admitted hearsay evidence and that, in any event, the evidence against him was insufficient. The Fourth District Court disagreed and affirmed his convictions and sentences. Broward County
Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, Inc. v. Keith M. Sharick

SC01-969

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

Approx. 10:30 Sharick was dismissed from the University's osteopathic program before his graduation, allegedly because of using improper medical techniques. He sued on a variety of grounds, including a claim for future wages for a "lost career," but the trial judge dismissed this particular claim. A jury eventually awarded him only about $81,000 in reimbursement for a portion of the tuition he had paid. The Third District Court reversed and ordered a new trial that included the question of damages for lost future wages. Dade County
Willie B. Miller v. State of Florida

SC01-837

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Approx. 11:10 Miller was arrested and charged with the murder of James Wallace resulting from the robbery of the Jung Lee Grocery in June 1993. A jury found him guilty and recommended the death penalty 12-to-0, which the judge imposed. A new penalty phase later was ordered due to errors in the first proceeding. The jury again recommended the death penalty 12-to-0, and the judge imposed it. This is his direct appeal. Duval County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, June 4, 2002
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
Integrated Health Care Services, Inc. v. Pauline Lang-Redway

SC01-792

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9:00 Lang-Redway sued nursing homes for alleged negligent care of Albert Redway, deceased. The nursing homes moved to dismiss in part on grounds that Lang-Redway had failed to meet certain statutory pre-suit notice requirements. The trial court ruled against the nursing homes, and the Second District affirmed. Pinellas County
State of Florida v. Adolphus Merricks

SC01-1906

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Approx. 9:40 Merricks was convicted of sexual battery and attempted sexual battery. Prior to the jury returning a verdict, a juror informed a bailiff that the jury would like some of the testimony read to them. Without consulting anyone, another bailiff said they would have to rely on their own memories. The trial judge was told what had happened and summoned the attorneys to let them know. One minute later the jury returned its guilty verdicts. Defense counsel moved for a mistrial, but the judge denied the request. The Second District reversed. Pinellas County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, June 5, 2002
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
Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Rosa Rodriguez

SC01-358

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9:00 Judge Rodriguez was charged by the Judicial Qualifications Commission with improperly accepting campaign contributions and making false statements about the matter. The JQC has recommended that she be publicly reprimanded, be suspended without pay for four months, and pay a fine of $40,000. Judge Rodriguez has agreed to this penalty. The recommendation now will be reviewed by the Court. Miami-Dade County
In re: Report on Privacy & Electronic Access to Court Records

SC02-659

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Approx. 9:40 The Judicial Management Council has recommended that a committee be created to study electronic access to court records and to develop policy recommendations. This committee would advise the Court on how the benefits of electronic access could be pursued within the Florida judicial system, while addressing questions of privacy, redaction of confidential material from otherwise public documents, and other challenges electronic access poses for the administration of justice. The Council has also recommended that the Chief Justice direct the clerks of the circuit courts to refrain from providing electronic access to certain court documents until policies are developed and implemented. Statewide impact
Amendments to Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.851(H)

SC02-526

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Approx. 10:30 The Committee on Post-Conviction Relief in Capital Cases has proposed changes to rules of court governing inmates who are under active death warrants. Statewide impact
BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. E. Leon Jacobs

SC01-2205

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

Approx. 11:10 The Public Service Commission ordered BellSouth to cease assessing a 1.5 percent charge designed to recoup losses caused by certain delinquent payments and to refund previous assessments already collected from customers. BellSouth appeals.  Statewide impact
State of Florida v. Lorenzo Smith

SC01-1456

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Approx. 11:50 Smith was convicted of burglary, robbery with a firearm, and false imprisonment with a weapon in connection with the robbery of tourists who were in Florida to visit Disney World. He received life in prison on the robbery charge and 30-year sentences for the other two charges. The Fifth District reversed the conviction for false imprisonment but affirmed the other two convictions. The State appeals. Osceola County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, June 6, 2002
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
Clotilde Estela Menna v. State of Florida

SC01-2174

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9:00 Menna has been charged with first degree murder in connection with the shooting death of her husband, Dr. Glauco Menna, in January 2000 outside his office. While investigating the shooting, a detective asked her to submit to a gun powder residue test, but she declined, saying she need to talk to an attorney first. She later was charged with the murder and, while pending trial, sought a court order forbidding the State to introduce her refusal to submit to the test. The trial court granted the order, but the Fifth District Court reversed. Orange County
Amendment to Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.350

SC00-2044

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Approx. 9:40 The Juvenile Court Rules Committee of The Florida Bar petitions the Court to adopt a new rule of court governing residential placement of children in mental health facilities. Statewide impact
Cordette Woodham v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc.

SC01-2160

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Approx. 10:30 Woodham filed a racial discrimination suit against her employer, Blue Cross, but the trial court ruled against her. It found she had failed to follow required administrative procedures prior to the suit. On appeal, the Third District Court affirmed.  Dade County
John C. Rowell v. Julianne M. Holt

SC01-2010

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Approx. 11:10 In the 1960s, Rowell was convicted of a felony. His civil rights were restored in 1975, however, and he thus could lawfully own a firearm. On July 6, 1995, he was arrested and charged with unlawfully owning a firearm because of his prior conviction. He alleged that, despite knowledge of his restored civil rights, his public defender failed to take actions to have him released from jail until July 19. He sued the public defender for lost wages and emotional pain and suffering caused by his incarceration, and the jury awarded him $504.00 in lost wages and $16,500.00 for emotional damages. The Second District Court reversed. Hillsborough County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, June 7, 2002
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
Inquiry Concerning a Judge: Cynthia A. Holloway

SC00-2226

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8:30 The Judicial Qualifications Commission has charged Judge Holloway with ethical breaches involving using her office to obtain favors for her friends and family, as well as giving incomplete and misleading testimony in a deposition and in a subsequently executed errata sheet. It has recommended that she be publicly reprimanded, suspended without pay for 30 days, and required to pay costs of the proceedings against her. Hillsborough County
In re: Report on Assignment of Senior Judges

SC02-593

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Approx. 9:10 The Committee on the Appointment & Assignment of Senior Judges has submitted a report making recommendations on the use of retired judges to preside over cases in state courts.  Statewide impact
The Florida Bar v. Leonard Mark Dachs

SC01-251

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Approx. 9:50 Dachs was sentenced to prison for six months in 2000 on a federal charge of obstruction of justice. Based on that conviction, his license to practice law was suspended. A referee now has recommended that he be disbarred.  Dade County
The Florida Bar v. Robert L. Roth

SC00-921

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Approx. 10:30 The Florida Bar charged Roth with converting to his own use the property and money of a client disabled by depression. When the client later hired another attorney to regain his property and money, Roth allegedly went his former client's house with a gun, where he was arrested. A referee has now recommended that he be disbarred. Dade County
Judith Rose v. Norwegian Cruise Lines, Ltd.

SC01-1316

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Approx. 11:00 Rose and others sued Norwegian after they allegedly became ill on a cruise ship due to food and water contaminated with a virus. They sought class-action status for the roughly 700 passengers on the affected cruises. The trial judge certified the class, but the Third District Court reversed.  Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, June 7, 2002 (continued)
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: Retirement of Justice Major B. Harding
 

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

3:00 The Court will hold a ceremonial session honoring retiring Justice Major B. Harding, who will leave the Court August 31.  Justice Harding was a resident of Jacksonville when appointed to the Court

Major B. Harding

Justice Major B. Harding was appointed to the Supreme Court on January 22, 1991. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, he began his tenure on the bench in Florida with his 1968 appointment as a Duval County juvenile court judge. In December 1970 he was appointed to the circuit bench in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. As a circuit judge, he was elected chief judge in 1974 and again in 1975. At the time of his appointment to the Supreme Court, he was Chair-elect of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges. He served as Chief Justice from July 1, 1998, through June, 2000.

Justice Harding received his bachelor of science and bachelor of laws degrees from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1957 and 1959, respectively, and he attended the United States Army Infantry School and the United States Army Judge Advocate General School. He earned a degree of Master of Laws in Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995 and received honorary doctor of laws degrees from Stetson University in 1991 and from Florida Coastal School of Law in 1999.

Justice Harding has served on the Supreme Court's Matrimonial Law Commission, the Gender Bias Study Commission, the Bench Bar Commission, the Judicial Council, and was a founding member of the Chester Bedell Inn of Court in Jacksonville and served as President of the Tallahassee American Inn of Court. He is Master Emeritus of both Inns. He has served as president of the Rotary Club of Riverside, Jacksonville, and the Rotary Club of Tallahassee. Justice Harding chairs the Florida Court Education Council and is Chair of the American Bar Association Bar Admission Committee. He served as Dean of the Florida Judicial College from 1984-1992, and as a member of the faculty from 1984 to the present.

Justice Harding was the recipient of the 2001 Distinguished Service Award by the National Center for State Courts; the William A. Dugger Professional Integrity Award by the Capital Rotary Club; and the 2001 FLABOTA (American Board of Trial Advocates in Florida) Jurist of the Year Award.

He is a communicant of St. John's Episcopal Church in Tallahassee. Justice Harding and his wife, the former Jane Lewis, have three children -- Major, David, and Alice -- and eight grandchildren.



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