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    Oral Argument Banner

    Oral Argument Schedule & Briefs

    September 17-21, 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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    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Monday, September 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

    Floridians for a Legal Playing Field v. Floridians Against Expanded Gambling

    SC06-2505

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

    9:00

    Floridians for a Level Playing Field sponsored a 2004 citizens initiative to allow slot machines in South Florida. Floridians Against Expanded Gambling and other opponents alleged there was widespread fraud in the petition drive and asked the circuit court to keep the proposed constitutional amendment off the ballot. The circuit court denied that request and the measure went to voters statewide on the 2004 ballot. It was approved. The circuit court later granted summary judgment in favor of the initiative sponsors, agreeing that the election results, in effect, cured the allegations of fraud. The First District Court of Appeal reversed that decision, concluding that the election could not cure the fraud, and remanded for a trial to determine whether the sponsors obtained the constitutionally required signatures for submission to voters.

    Broward County

    James Hitchcock v. State of Florida

    SC03-2203 | SC04-1286

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. Hitchcock was convicted of the first-degree murder of 13-year-old Cynthia Driggers, who was strangled in 1976. He was sentenced to death three times but each sentence was overturned on appeal to either the U.S. Supreme Court or this Court. After a fourth penalty hearing, Mr. Hitchcock was sentenced to death a fourth time. This Court upheld that sentence on direct appeal, and Mr. Hitchcock filed a postconviction motion in the trial court. The trial court denied Mr. Hitchcock's motion. Mr. Hitchcock appealed that ruling to this Court, which sent the case back to the trial court for a hearing on the guilt-phase issues. The trial court again denied relief. The Court now considers Mr. Hitchcock's appeal of the trial court's denial of all postconviction claims.

    Orange County

    Jarvis Ramon Haynes v. State of Florida

    SC07-123

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Haynes was convicted of third-degree felony murder in the death of Roy Deering, robbery with a firearm and dealing in stolen property. He was sentenced to life in prison on the robbery count and shorter sentences for the other two counts. The Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the convictions and sentences. Mr. Haynes was then subpoenaed to testify at the trial of two co-defendants in the case. When he refused, the state requested that the trial court find him in direct contempt of court. The court did so and imposed a sentence of 179 days in jail, to be served consecutively to his prison sentences. Mr. Haynes challenged the contempt finding and sentencing to the 5th DCA. The appeal court affirmed the contempt conviction but reversed the sentence, saying Mr. Haynes had not been allowed to present mitigating evidence.

    Orange County

    Ryan Thomas Green v. State of Florida

    SC06-211

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

    Approx. 11:10

    Mr. Green was convicted of the first-degree murder of retired police officer James Hallman, who was fatally shot in 2003. The jury voted 10-2 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal and he raises various issues.

    Escambia County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Tuesday, September 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

    James D. Sterling v. Ohio Casualty Insurance Co.

    SC06-1910

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

    9:00

    Mr. Sterling's minor son was seriously injured when the boy was struck by a car driven by an underinsured driver. Mr. Sterling filed a claim for benefits, arguing the uninsured motorist provision of his business auto policy was triggered. Ohio Casualty said the Sterling son was not covered by the policy and denied the claim. Mr. Sterling and his wife sued. The trial court agreed with the insurer as did the Second District Court of Appeal. The Sterlings appealed to this Court.

    Hillsborough County

    Douglas K. Raborn v. Deborah C. Menotte

    SC06-2461

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

    Approx. 9:30

    The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked this Court to answer a question of law that arose in a land dispute. Mr. Raborn and his two siblings argue their parents created a trust that made the three children beneficiaries in the Raborn family farm with Mr. Raborn designated as the trustee. Several years later Mr. Raborn filed for bankruptcy and Ms. Menotte, bankruptcy trustee for Mr. Raborn, argues that the farm was part of Mr. Raborn's estate. The federal bankruptcy judge agreed with the family but the U.S. District Court, hearing the case on appeal, overturned that decision. The Raborns appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has asked this Court to rule on the intent of Florida law.

    Palm Beach County

    Ricardo Gonzalez v. State of Florida

    SC04-225

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

    Approx. 10:30

    Mr. Gonzalez was convicted of the first-degree murder of Steven Bauer, a police officer who was fatally shot during a bank robbery in 1992. The jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed his conviction but reversed his death sentence. After a new penalty hearing, the jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence and Mr. Gonzalez was again condemned. This Court upheld that death sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Gonzalez filed his first post-conviction challenge in trial court. It was rejected and this appeal followed.

    Miami-Dade County

    Matthew Marshall v. State of Florida

    SC05-2379

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

    Approx. 11:10

    Mr. Marshall was convicted of the first-degree murder of Jeffrey Henry, another inmate at Martin Correctional Institute, who was fatally beaten in his cell in 1988. The jury recommended Mr. Marshall be sentenced to life in prison. The trial court overrode that recommendation and sentenced Mr. Marshall to death. On direct appeal, this Court upheld both conviction and sentence. Mr. Marshall filed a post-conviction challenge in trial court and it was denied. He appealed to this Court, which remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing on his claim of juror misconduct. After the hearing, the trial court denied Mr. Marshall's post-conviction claim. This appeal followed.

    Martin County

     

     


    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Wednesday, September 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

    Shana Barnes v. State of Florida

    SC06-662

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

    9:00

    Ms. Barnes was convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm in the fatal shooting of her husband, Gregory. She was sentenced to 27 years in prison. The First District Court of Appeal reversed the conviction and sentence, ruling the jury instructions about self-defense were "confusing, misleading and erroneous." During the re-trial, the judge allowed the state to introduce the transcript of Ms. Barnes' testimony from her first trial into evidence as an exhibit that would be available to jurors during deliberations. She was convicted a second time and again sentenced to 27 years in prison. On appeal to this Court, Ms. Barnes argues that the rule that disallows depositions and transcripts of live testimony from jury rooms during deliberations should cover the transcript of her prior testimony. The state argues that the prior testimony qualifies for an approved exception made for confessions and admissions.

    Duval County

    Willie H. Nowell v. State of Florida

    SC06-276

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. Nowell was convicted of the first-degree murder of Michelle Gill, a pregnant woman who was fatally shot in 2002. The jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This is his direct appeal and he raises various issues.

    Brevard County

    Deborah Chames v. Henry DeMayo

    SC06-1671 | SC06-2187

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

    Approx. 10:40

    Ms. Chames represented Mr. DeMayo in a case involving child support and alimony. The contract that Mr. DeMayo signed to retain Ms. Chames included language that waived the homestead protection from forced sale provided in the Florida Constitution. Ms. Chames withdrew from the case several months later and the trial court entered a charging lien and final judgment in an amount in excess of $33,200. Mr. DeMayo appealed to the Third District Court of Appeal, which reversed the charging lien as applied to his house but affirmed in all other respects. The 3rd DCA cited past rulings by this Court finding a general waiver of the homestead protection unenforceable as far back as 1884. Ms. Chames and Mr. DeMayo have both sought review in this Court raising various issues.

    Miami-Dade County

    Leroy Pooler v. State of Florida

    SC05-2191

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

    Approx. 11:20

    Mr. Pooler was convicted of the first-degree murder of Kim Brown, who was fatally shot in 1995. The jury voted 9-3 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. This Court upheld his conviction and sentence on direct appeal and he filed a post-conviction challenge in circuit court. It was denied and this appeal followed. Mr. Pooler raises several issues.

    Palm Beach County

     

     


    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Thursday, September 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

    In re: Amendments to Appellate Rules 9.310

    SC07-299

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

    9:00

    The Court asked the Appellate Court Rules Committee of The Florida Bar to consider whether any changes are needed to a rule that deals with the use of bonds when a judgment in a civil case is appealed and a stay is requested. The committee considered a proposed change but voted 45-7 against recommending its adoption to the Court. The proposed change, opposed by the committee, would track the language of a new statute that would, on its face, change this court rule. A key consideration for the committee was whether the law was constitutionally dealt with a substantive change in law or whether it unconstitutionally sought to amend a procedural rule of court.

    Statewide impact

    Roger R. Maas v. Mark Evan Olive

    SC06-835 | SC06-1263

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

    Approx. 9:30

    Mr. Olive challenged the constitutionality of a state law that caps the fees for private lawyers who contract with the state to represent indigent death row inmates. The trial court agreed that it was unconstitutional to prohibit lawyers from seeking fees above the cap, when justified by the circumstances of the case. However, the trial court also ruled that the challenged state law could be construed to permit payments above the cap. Mr. Olive appealed, arguing the law could not be construed that way and was unconstitutional on its face. Mr. Maas, a state official who oversees the state list of private death row lawyers, also appealed the ruling of the trial court. Mr. Maas argues that the trial court's ruling undercut the Legislature's constitutional authority to decide how state money is spent.

    Statewide Impact

    State of Florida v. Glenn Kelly

    SC07-95

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

    Approx. 10:10

    Mr. Kelly was arrested on a drunken driving charge. The state later enhanced the charge to a felony count, based on three prior DUI convictions. Mr. Kelly argued that two of the prior convictions could not be used to enhance the current charge to a felony because he had not been provided with an attorney in those cases and did not validly waive his right to counsel. The trial court agreed and the state appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The 4th DCA upheld the trial court's order but also asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legal issue. The state argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such prior convictions can be used to enhance charges. Mr. Kelly argues that the Florida Constitution grants its citizens a broader right to counsel than does the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    Broward County

    Samuel Jason Derrick v. State of Florida

    SC05-1559 | SC06-1380

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

    Approx. 10:50

    Mr. Derrick was convicted of the first-degree murder of Rama Sharma, who was fatally stabbed in 1987. The jury voted 8-4 to recommend a death sentence and he was condemned. On direct appeal, this Court vacated the death sentence and ordered a new penalty hearing. In the second hearing, the jury voted 6-6 to recommend a death sentence and Mr. Derrick was condemned again. This Court upheld the death sentence on direct appeal and Mr. Derrick filed a post-conviction challenge in circuit court. It was denied and this appeal followed.

    Pasco County

     

    Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments

    Friday, September 21, 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

    State of Florida v. Virginia Larzelere

    SC05-611 | SC06-148

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

    8:30

    Ms. Larzelere was convicted of the murder of her husband, Norman, who was fatally shot in March 1991. The jury voted 7-5 to recommend a death sentence and she was condemned. This Court upheld her murder conviction and death sentence on direct appeal. She challenged her conviction and sentence in circuit court. The trial judge upheld her conviction but vacated her death sentence. Both the state and Ms. Larzelere have appealed that ruling to this Court, raising various issues.

    Volusia County

    The Florida Bar v. Ronald Leon Bloom

    SC06-1025

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

    Approx. 9:10

    The Bar filed ethics charges against Mr. Bloom, whose practice of law was suspended by this Court on an emergency basis last year. The Bar alleges various instances of financial misconduct and inadequate representation of clients as well as an arrest on a drug charge. The judge assigned to the case as a referee has concluded that Mr. Bloom should be disbarred. Mr. Bloom argues the sanction should be a three-year suspension followed by probation if he is readmitted to the practice of law.

    Duval County

    Steven W. Boldt v. Patrick W. Brannon

    SC07-563

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

    Approx. 9:40

    Mr. and Mrs. Boldt and other homeowners in their neighborhood sued Mr. Brannon and his wife in a dispute over rights to the waterfront of Boca Ciega Bay. The Brannons filed a counter-suit. The trial judge ruled for the Boldts. The Second District Court of Appeal upheld some of the trial court's ruling but also certified a question of great public importance for this Court. The issue is the scope of rights awarded when an easement created by notes on the original plat map of a development indicates ingress and egress to a body of water and the piece of property that yields to the easement has a home on it.

    Pinellas County